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When It Comes to Fruits and Vegetables, Which Color Is Healthiest?
July 19, 2011


What are the most healthful foods? Orange carrots? Red tomatoes? Maybe green broccoli and spinach? A team of Dutch researchers tackled exactly that question. They analyzed the diets of 20,069 healthy people, and then followed them for the next 10 years to see whose diets had the most health power. And the winner is…

...although fruits and vegetables of all kinds are good for your heart, the biggest health impact came from the orange group. People eating the most deep orange fruits and vegetables cut their heart disease risk by 26 percent, compared to people who tended to avoid these foods. Carrots were especially powerful, but this healthful food group also includes yams, cantaloupe, butternut squash, and their many beta-carotene-rich cousins. The study appears in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Speaking of health impact, a new report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gives the latest on the link between cow’s milk and type 1 diabetes. Researchers have long known that type 1 diabetes occurs when white blood cells attack the pancreas and kill off the insulin-producing cells. The question is, what triggers this deadly autoimmune reaction? Is it a virus? Perhaps some kind of bacterium? Many have pointed a finger of blame at cow’s milk. After all, people who were formula-fed as infants are much more likely to develop type 1 diabetes, compared with their breast-fed counterparts.

A major international study, called the Trial to Reduce Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in the Genetically at Risk (TRIGR) study, aims to nail down the role of cow’s milk in diabetes risk. The research team encouraged a group of women to breastfeed. Those who then transitioned their infants to baby formula were given a specially prepared formula in which proteins were broken up, so that no intact cow’s milk proteins remained. The full study results are not yet in. However, the TRIGR pilot study, including 230 infants followed until about 10 years of age, showed that those who followed the special feeding plan were 60 percent less likely to develop type 1 diabetes, compared with children who drank regular cow’s milk formula during infancy.

The study adds more support to those who breast-feed and who leave cow’s milk to calves.

Oude Griep LM, Monique Verschuren WM, Kromhout D, Ocké MC, Geleijnse JM. Colours of fruit and vegetables and 10-year incidence of CHD. Br J Nutr. 2011 Jun 8:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Knip M, Virtanen SM, Becker D, Dupré J, Krischer JP, Akerblom HK. Early feeding and risk of type 1 diabetes: experiences from the Trial to Reduce Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in the Genetically at Risk (TRIGR). Am J Clin Nutr. Published ahead of print Jun 8, 2011.


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