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Live long, Laugh often, Eat Veggies... but why?

VEGGIES: The Base of the Optimal Health Food Pyramid

Just like individuals, there are many different diets that strive to help us attain optimal nutrition. The Optimal Health Food Pyramid utilizes two of the most healthful diets ever studied – the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Asian diet. These diets have shown to be especially beneficial for maintaining wellness, immune support and cancer prevention. The optimal health food pyramid is a way of life in communities all over the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives with great quality and vitality. An optimal health food diet provides high-fiber, whole organic foods and is rich in vegetables and fruits.


Research approximates that 30% to 40% of all cancers can be prevented by nutritional choices and lifestyle adjustments alone! Intake of flax seed and abundant portions of fruits and vegetables will lower cancer risk.



Vegetables give us life and should be the main focus of any health-promoting diet. In Latin, the word vegetable means, "to enliven or animate." Vegetables provide the most expansive range of protective nutrients of any food group, making veggies a perfect match for your health needs. Veggies are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein. Vegetables provide your body with excellent quantities of cancer preventing phytochemicals.


When available, choose organic vegetables to limit your intake of toxic pesticides. It is very important not to overcook vegetables, which results in loss of important nutrients and alters the flavor of the vegetable. To keep the most nutrients in your vegetables, choose to prepare with light steaming, baking, and quick stir-frying. Boiling veggies are okay if you are making soup as many of the nutrients will be leaked into the broth. If fresh vegetables are not available, frozen vegetables are preferred over canned. One serving of most vegetables is approximately one cup while one serving of leafy greens is about two cups.


  1. Include a veggie every time you eat a meal or snack.

  2. Add pureed veggies to other foods for added nutrition.

  3. Leave veg out in a bowl so they are easily noticed.

  4. Combine fruits and veggies in a smoothie.

  5. Keep a bowl of cut up veggies in the refrigerator

  6. Buy variety: have many different kinds of vegetables and change it up.

BEST: Leafy Greens & Cruciferous Vegetables: 2-4 Servings Daily

  • Alfalfa sprouts

  • Beet greens

  • Bok choy

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Cabbage

  • Cauliflower

  • Chard

  • Chinese cabbage

  • Collard greens

  • Dandelion

  • Endive

  • Escarole

  • Kale

  • Lettuce (the darker, the better)

  • Mustard greens

  • Parsley

  • Spinach

  • Sprouts

  • Turnip greens

  • Watercress

Low-Glycemic Vegetables: 2-3 Servings Daily

  • Artichoke

  • Asparagus

  • Bean sprouts

  • Bell peppers

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Cucumber

  • Fennel

  • Mushrooms

  • Okra

  • Onions

  • Peas (fresh or frozen)

  • Radishes

  • Rhubarb

  • String beans (green or yellow)

  • Summer squash

  • Tomatoes (paste, sauce, juice)

  • Zucchini

Starchy Vegetables: 1-2 Servings Daily

  • Beets

  • Parsnip

  • Potato

  • Rhubarb

  • Rutabaga

  • Squash (Winter, acorn or butternut)

  • Yam or sweet potato


Foods should be avoided that steal nutrients from your precious body, damage your cells and tissue integrity, weaken your immune system and promote inflammation. AVOID:

  • Refined sugar & white flour products (candy, pasta, pastry, chips, crackers, cookie, bagel etc.)

  • Processed foods, fried foods

  • Margarine and shortening

  • Smoked or cured meats (bacon, hot dogs, cold cuts)

  • Sweetened beverages, soda, “sugar-free” drinks, juice flavored drinks

As always, consult with your naturopathic physician for more detailed and individualized nutritional recommendations to meet your specific health needs.


Pizzorno & Murray. Textbook of Natural Medicine.

Donaldson MS. Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutr J 2004;319

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