based on unrefined plant foods high in fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins
and minerals as naturally occurring in food was compared to a typical
low-fiber and low-phytochemical, non-plant-based diet in healthy
human subjects. Key foods in the "whole food" diet were
sun-dried raisins and whole grain raisin bread (for a total amount
of 4 1/2 ounces of raisins a day), rounded out by other whole grain
products, plenty of fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, nuts
and oil seeds like sesame. Green and ginger tea—both high
in phenolic antioxidants—were chosen as the key beverages.
Meat and animal products were kept to a minimum to make this a true
The subjects were first placed on a typical Western diet high in
refined food that included white flour products and no whole grains,
no dried fruits or nuts, limited fresh fruits and vegetables, more
and free consumption of meat and other animal products for four
weeks. Their total cholesterol, “good” cholesterol and
“bad” cholesterol and selected antioxidant blood enzymes
were measured at the end of that period. Subjects were then switched
for four weeks to the unrefined whole food diet: their total and
“bad” cholesterol and triglycerides were reduced, and
no significant change occurred in their “good” cholesterol.
And the body appeared to need less antioxidant defense as measured
by the blood levels of the antioxidant blood enzymes that were measured.
As expected on higher fiber diets, colon function become more regular
and fecal elimination easier.
From these findings it can be concluded that a diet abundant in
phytochemically-rich foods, such a sun-dried raisins and other whole
and unrefined foods, can beneficially affect blood cholesterol,
improve colon function, and decrease the need for antioxidant defenses.
B, Spiller GA, Klevay LM, and Gallagher, SD. A diet high in whole
and unrefined foods favorably alters lipids, antioxidant defenses,
and colon function. J. Am Coll Nutr 19(1): 61-67, 2000