We know so much about nutrition and its powerful effects to create disease or protect against disease. However, the question that seems unanswered to the majority of our population is what constitutes a healthy diet that is actually disease protecting versus one that is disease promoting? What degree of nutritional excellence is necessary to make a diet therapeutically disease reversing? How do we measure the quality of our diet or the degree of nutritional excellence we are obtaining?
The quality of a diet can be judged base on three simple criteria.
- Levels of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) per calorie.
- Amounts of macronutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein) to meet individual needs, without excessive calories that may lead to weight gain or health compromise.
- Avoidance of potentially toxic substances (such as trans fats) and limited amounts of other potentially harmful substances (such as sodium).
It is not sufficient to merely avoid fats. It is not sufficient for the diet to have a low glycemic index. It is not sufficient for the diet to be low in animal products. It is not sufficient for the diet to be mostly raw food. A truly healthy diet must be micronutrient rich and the micronutrient richness must be adjusted to meet individual needs. The foods with the highest micronutrient per calorie scores are green vegetables, colorful vegetables, and fresh fruits. For optimal health and to combat disease, it is necessary to consume enough of these foods.
Few people could expect to have optimal health without attention to the consumption of high micronutrient foods. For example, a vegan diet centered on high starch vegetables or grains such as rice, potato and wheat, may not contain sufficient micronutrient richness for disease–reversal or to maximize longevity and in some individuals the lack of attention to micronutrient density may be disease–causing.