Variety is the Spice of Life

How many times have you asked yourself or someone else: “I wonder which nut is the BEST?” “Is it really true that the BEST oil is olive oil?” “I heard that bananas are the BEST for potassium.”  Is it true?

Being well nourished is like hedging your bets. A great strategy at the roulette table is to spread your bets all around, increasing the likelihood that the wheel will hit on your number. An analogous strategy at the grocery store is to make a different selection of fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and so on every week. 

You could be the budget contractor down the street whose only materials are cinder blocks and dry wall. Or you could be the contractor up the street who has access to three kinds of brick including firebrick, four exotic woods plus oak, cherry and maple, not to mention stained glass and brass hardware, and several different sizes of porcelain tile. I know which one I want to work with.

Because you never know whether you’re going to break your toe, scratch your cornea, sprain your ankle, get a tapeworm, or catch a cold or some other type of virus that strips your gut and lays you up for days. You could even get a hangnail! But here’s the thing: the better nourished you are, the healthier in general, the less likely it is that any of these nasty things is going to happen to you. The more robust your immunity, the better the chances that you’ll never even catch that cold. The more flexible your joints and ligaments, the better the chances that you’ll walk it off, absorbing the forces that might otherwise have pushed those tendons past the point of no return. The better rested, the more patient you’ll probably feel when you need it the most.

Every different food has a different constellation of nutrients, molecules, fatty acids, phytonutrients and so on. When you eat dandelion greens this week, romaine next week, green cabbage the next week and purple cabbage the week after that, followed by arugula and some Belgian endive, you’re hedging your bets and increasing the likelihood that you’ll have built the most resilient body possible, ready to take on whatever hand life is getting ready to deal you. And, hopefully, to emerge with nary a scratch. And we haven’t even discussed root veggies, berries, meats, grains, fish or beans.

Which kind is BEST? The greatest possible variety, a different one every week. Hazelnuts, pine nuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, chestnuts, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, cashews, almonds…can you think of any more?

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