The Secret to Extreme Longevity

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

There is one food that scientific research has shown has a strong positive association with increased longevity in humans. So which food do you think that is?

The answer is raw, leafy greens, normally referred to as salad.1 Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach are the most nutrient-dense of all foods.

Most vegetables contain more nutrients per calorie than any other food and are rich in all necessary amino acids. For example, romaine lettuce, which gets 18 percent of its calories from fat and almost 50 percent of its calories from protein, is a rich powerhouse with hundreds of cancer-fighting phytochemicals that protect us from a variety of threatening illnesses. Being healthy and owning a disease-resistant body is not luck; it is earned.

In a review of 206 human-populations studies, raw vegetable consumption showed the strongest protective effect against cancer of any beneficial food.2 However, less than one in a hundred Americans consumes enough calories from vegetation to ensure this defense.

I tell my patients to put a big sign on their refrigerator that says THE SALAD IS THE MAIN DISH.

The word salad here means any vegetable eaten raw or uncooked e.g., a bowl of cold pasta in olive oil with a token vegetable is not a salad. I encourage my patients to eat two huge salads a day, with the goal of consuming an entire head of romaine or other green lettuce daily. I suggest that you go and make the sign and tape it to your fridge now—and then come back. If you plan on doing it later, you may forget. If you learn but one practical habit from this book, let it be this one. 1. Kahn, H. A., R. L. Phillips, D. A. Snowdon, and W. Choi. 1984. Association between reported diet and all-cause mortality. Am. J. Epid. 119 (5): 775-87.

2. Steinmetz, K. A., and J. D. Potter. 1996. Vegetables, fruit and cancer prevention: a review. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 96: 1027-39.
Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Edward Berbaum - July 13, 2006 8:54 AM

Thank you. I have noticed that on days I eat mostly raw I feel better, think better and am in a better mood. Thanks to you and this article I have some proof that this is the way this 63 year old Fiddler should eat from now on.


Liz - July 14, 2006 11:12 AM

I've started eating sauteed Swiss Chard with beans for breakfast and sometimes lunch (beans 'n greens). I sautee the chard in vegetable broth with raosted garlic. I can eat a huge amount of chard if it is sauteed. Am I getting as much nutrient value from the suateed chard as I would from raw chard?

Linda - July 15, 2006 12:20 PM

Yay! I love seeing this. I consume a ton of greens each day, even more than the minimum!
I have greens in my green smoothie, plus greens in my two HUGE daily salads. All raw. I love it. I would say the greens have done the most for me in terms of turning around my health to optimal. It seems to only get better and better.

Thanks Dr. F.!

johnd - July 25, 2006 7:57 PM

There is not a single nutrient in vegetables fruits do not contain. Why not just eat fruit, it taste better.

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.

Remember personal info?