By Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Dr. Fuhrman is a #1 New York Timesbestselling author, nutritional researcher and board-certified family physician specializing in nutritional medicine. His newest book Super Immunity discusses how to naturally strengthen the immune system against everything from the common cold to cancer.
A high-nutrient eating style is the key to dramatic weight loss, optimal overall health, and longevity. When your diet is based on nutrient-dense foods – G-BOMBS – you will simultaneously flood your cells and tissues with protective substances and naturally guide your body to its ideal weight, with no hunger or feeling of deprivation. Nutrient-dense foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants – and are low in calories.
The American diet is the perfect formula for obesity and disease, with 90% of calories derived from refined carbs and animal products – foods that are low in micronutrients, contain no beneficial phytochemicals, and have addictive properties. Only 10% of calories come from vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts. Eating in this way creates a “toxic hunger” leading to increased desire for calories and makes it almost impossible to lose weight.
If we turned the American diet upside down so that 90% of calories come from produce, we would put an end to dieting, resolve our health-care crisis, win the war against breast cancer, and save millions of lives from heart disease and diabetes. See an example of my food pyramid, which starts with foods high in micro-nutrients as the base.
G-BOMBS (Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds) are the foods with the most powerful anti-cancer and anti-fat storage effects. Those dual effects cannot be separated because the foods that protect against fat storage also protect against the growth of any abnormal tissue, such as a tumor.
G – Greens
Leafy greens have the highest nutrient-density of all foods and are an excellent tool for weight loss. Since they contain only about 100 calories per pound, they can be consumed in virtually unlimited quantities. Green vegetables contain anti-cancer compounds (especially the cruciferous family) and substances that protect blood vessels; they also promote healthy vision and reduce diabetes risk. We should follow the example of our closest living relatives – chimpanzees and gorillas – who consume pounds of nutrient-dense green leaves every day.
B – Beans
Beans (plus lentils and other legumes) act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly, which stabilizes blood sugar, reducing hunger and caloric drive, and helps to prevent food cravings. Beans are unique foods because of their very high levels of fiber and resistant starch, carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes. The fiber and resistant starch in beans reduce the total number of calories absorbed from beans (about a third of the carbohydrate calories contained in beans do not get absorbed). They reduce cholesterol levels, and are converted by healthy gut bacteria into substances that help to prevent colon cancer; eating beans, peas, or lentils at least twice a week has been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50%. Plus, a recent analysis of 10 scientific studies has shown that the higher your fiber intake, the lower your risk of breast cancer.