I intended to write this week about vitamin D as it continues to generate tremendous interest in the medical literature and in the popular press. Also many of our patients at Trinity have low levels in their blood. As I researched it, I realized that a major part of the controversy revolves around how much supplemental vitamin D folks need if any at all. This led me to back up and consider our perspective on supplements in general and to reaffirm our overriding philosophy: in prevention, healthy food always trumps pills. So, I’ll write today about good food as the best way to wellness and in the following weeks about supplements and vitamin D.
broccoli and cauliflower

One of my favorite books about nutrition is “Superfoods Rx” by Dr. Steven Pratt.  Please pick up a copy and be inspired. In addition to being packed with useful information, it’s really fun to read as you ponder the many benefits  and pleasures of healthy foods. Re-reading it in preparation for this post energized me to increase consumption of some of the foods I’ve been leaving off. “Superfoods Rx” planted within me a positive vision for eating healthy in place of a negative approach. A negative view focuses on what not to eat because it’s fattening or causes disease while a positive view leads one to be excited to eat foods that are not only promote health and prevent disease but are delicious and energizing. I eat spinach nearly every day in part due to Dr. Pratt’s stimulating discussion of it’s benefits. Here are some excerpts:

Spinach is a heart-healthy food. The rich supply of carotenoids and other nutrients helps protect artery walls from damage. An excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, these nutrients work together to prevent oxidized cholesterol from building up in blood vessel walls. It is also an excellent source of folate which plays a role in prevention by helping to lower excess levels of the amino acid homocysteine which plays a role in heart attack and stroke…..In epidemiological studies, it’s been found that the more spinach, the lower the risk of almost every type of cancer….Lutein, another powerful antioxidant in spinach, works to enhance the bodies immune system and along with zeaxanthin works to prevent age related macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness.” spinach salad

Doesn’t it make you want to go out and get some spinach? I love spinach sautéed in olive oil, in smoothies, in Spinach Maria and in salads with walnuts and blueberries and balsamic vinaigrette dressing! Some of my favorite chapters are those about salmon, nuts, yogurt, turkey and even pumpkin. He also includes many delicious recipes.

salmon editedOne caution: he is so positive about delicious foods that without other knowledge you may be led to eat more carbs than is healthy in foods like beans, whole grain breads, jam and fruit juice. He also likes soy which we are not big on and does not understand fats. Get inspired by this book but please consult VitalSigns about an overall eating plan 🙂 !

Most of the diseases of modern civilization are directly related to the unhealthy, processed food that we eat. We simply must learn to prepare healthy food in a way that is tasty and satisfying. One of the best motivators for healthy eating is being excited about the specific benefits of various foods. I frequently hear statements like “I’d rather enjoy life” or “I’m tired of eating like a rabbit” or “I can’t handle being hungry all the time“. None of this needs to be your experience. In “Superfoods strawberriesRx” Steven Pratt provides a great start toward an understanding of how enjoyable and satisfying this journey toward good health can be. VitalSigns is thankful for his and the influence of many others and would love to pass it on by helping you.