Which fruits and vegetables are the best to eat?
One way to think about that question is to look at data that measures the "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity" (ORAC) of various fruits and vegetables. The following data will show you how some common fruits and vegetables compare to each other in terms of their ability to eliminate potentially damaging free radicals that are found in our body.
Source: UC Berkely Wellness Letter, November 1999
You can see that most of fruits and vegetables with the highest ORAC are the deeply colored ones (ie blackberries, plums, kale and the like). This does not mean that these are all you should eat. We are just finding out about the many thousands of molecules in all of our plant foods that can potentially optimize our health in many ways, not just fighting cancer.
So even those foods on the bottom of this chart likely still have many other molecules that will be helpful. That's where the recommendation for eating a variety every day is important . In fact, I urge people to eat at least 3 different deeply colored fruits and vegetables each and every day as part of their minimum of "5 -A-Day ". That's also why it is recommended that you try something new frequently. That new plant food may have something extremely beneficial that we are only beginning to identify.
These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.
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