These are the absolute minimum requirements as outlined in current nutrition studies, published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals. I won't hold you back if you want to eat 5 cups of leafy greens a day. In fact, I would be your biggest cheerleader!
It's extremely hard to eat too many whole foods, so remember these are the bare minimum requirements. Whole food eating is about feeding your body with an abundance of foods that aren't processed, and feeding it well. When many people switch to a whole foods diet, they're surprised at how much more food they're consuming. In fact, it can be hard to eat enough when you're consuming a whole foods diet, so you really need to make sure you're eating well balanced and eating often.
Fill your plate high with all of the natural, real foods you love, and experience the benefits. I'm not one for advocating portion control when it comes to whole foods. Eat until you're satisfied, not stuffed, and aim for a balance of different vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins and healthy fats, throughout the week. Healthy bodies need an abundance of premium fuel to nourish every cell.
This nutrition data is just a starting point, so go crazy in the produce aisle, eat some real food and then eat a little more! (With any new food, if you're concerned about a food and drug interaction, speak with your doctor. I've outlined common foods and medications that may negatively interact with each other, as noted by the FDA, at the bottom of the post.)
Check out the chart below to see if you're getting enough of the good stuff your body needs, according to the top nutrition journals.
The suggestions above, focus on plenty of vegetables and fruits, along with whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. This way of eating is very much in line with the Mediterranean-style diet, which has been shown to be health-supportive by a variety of medical experts.
This chart includes just a short list of foods that have been shown to be health-supportive. You certainly can't go wrong with increasing your consumption of a variety of produce throughout the day.
Food & Drug Interactions
Foods can have quite powerful effects in the body, and there are prescription medications that may negatively interact with certain types of foods. Always check with your doctor if you have questions about implementing a specific whole food into your diet.
Here are some of the more common food and drug interactions, as outlined by the FDA:
Asthma Bronchodilators: Limiting caffeine is important to reduce the side effects of this medication. While green tea is healthy for most individuals, it could exacerbate the side effects of these drugs. Stick to herbal teas, which also contain a variety of antioxidants.
Blood Thinners: You'll need to watch your dark leafy green consumption as this is high in vitamin K, a blood coagulant. Cranberries and cranberry juice may also alter the effects of these drugs. The consumption of blood thinning foods, such as ginger and garlic, need to be moderated, as the blood can become too thin.
Diuretics: Foods containing large amounts of potassium should be avoided, such as bananas, avocados, oranges. These medications reduce the kidneys' ability to excrete potassium properly, leading to hyperkalemia (a concentrated potassium level in the blood).
Statins: These are just one of the dozens of drugs that interact negatively with grapefruit juice.
Thyroid Medications: It's important to watch your consumption of goitrogen-containing foods such as cruciferous vegetables (e.g. kale, cabbage and broccoli), turnips, walnuts, soybeans, strawberries, pears, peaches and more. These foods can alter thyroid function (even without medication).
How does your diet stack up? Are you going above and beyond the minimum requirements or do you need to add a few more servings in?