Diets lacking fresh, whole foods lead to multiple chronic diseases, study confirms

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(NaturalNews) It's no secret that a nutritious diet is the key to living a healthy life; however, until now, scientists hadn't produced any studies directly linking poor nutrition to the development of multiple chronic diseases over time.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine studied more than 1,000 Chinese people over a five-year period. During the analysis, scientists accounted for the participant's overall health, diet and lifestyle.

They found that the proportion of those in the study already having more than one chronic disease increased from 14 percent to 34 percent over the five-year period, as stated in a press release by the University of Adelaide.

"Risk factors such as smoking, lack of physical activity and nutrition are already known to be linked to the development of chronic disease," said the study's co-author, Dr. Zumin Shi.

"But this is the first time research has shown that nutrition itself is directly associated with the development of multiple chronic diseases over time."

The research, which was published in this month's issue of the journal Clinical Nutrition, showed that the people who consumed more fresh fruits and vegetables, and more portions of grains besides just wheat and rice, experienced better overall healthiness.

Consuming whole grains, rather than refined grains, offers a host of benefits including reducing your risk for stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa and wheat berries are all exemplary sources for getting the nutrition you need.

Refined grains, such as white rice, bread or pasta and many breakfast cereals, cookies and cakes, are fattening and can increase inflammation, worsening conditions like arthritis.

Eating healthy carbohydrates transforms the way you metabolize food, providing you with more energy while simultaneously reducing high blood pressure.

Healthy whole grains offer many other benefits like:
  • reducing your risk of asthma
  • healthier carotid arteries
  • reduction of inflammation disease risk
  • lower risk of colon cancer
  • less gum disease and tooth loss
The participants' rice intake proved to be a significant characteristic in the researcher's study.

"Rice intake was significantly lower in the healthy group. This could be because rice is mainly refined and deprived of the benefits associated with fibres, and the kinds of phytochemicals that you find in whole grains," said Dr. Shi.

Through the research, Dr. Shi highlighted the role that micronutrients play in protecting humans from disease. "A higher daily intake of iron, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B1 was associated with healthier participants," he added.

"Based on our results, it seems that a higher intake of fruit helps to prevent against the onset of the first chronic disease, while a higher intake of vegetables helps to protect against developing more than one chronic disease," said Dr. Shi.

He discovered this by focusing on the transition that people go through from having one disease to multiple diseases and comparing it with their food intake.

"There is already a lot of general nutrition awareness among the population but this study reinforces the need for broad education programs about the benefits of healthy eating," concluded Dr. Shi.

The condition of having multiple chronic diseases is called multimorbidity, which is characterized by "complex interactions of co-existing diseases." Some experts think multimorbidity correlates with age, with elderly people often showing signs of multiple medical conditions.

The new research suggests that maintaining a healthy diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables may treat multimorbidity more safely than prescription drugs, particularly since sometimes taking one drug alters the effect of another, or creates an unhealthy environment for a patient's other chronic illnesses.

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