Those of us who follow nutrition news have heard it all. We try to eat food, not too much, mostly plants. We were scared of, then rehabilitated toward meat, eggs, real butter. We like monounsaturated fats and omega-3s and fiber and carotenoids. We know that broccoli and berries protect against cancer, oatmeal against high cholesterol. And so it is not insignificant to say that Jo Robinson, author of “Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health,” has turned things on their proverbial heads.

Are fruits and veggies healthy? "It depends on which ones you choose," says Robinson, who spent ten years researching the nutrient value of the most common and popular produce in our supermarkets.

"The difference of antioxidants and phytonutrients between one variety and another is enormous. And unfortunately, we're in the habit of eating the ones that are the least nutritious. The most popular ones sold in this country."

For example: Supermarket broccoli doesn't have nearly the cancer-fighting power that it seems to have in the literature, simply because the antioxidants degrade a few days after harvest. And canned blueberries are better than fresh in terms of preserved phytonutrients.

Her advice? Eat plants that are as close to wild plants as possible. Farmed foods are not nearly as good for you.
"We started breeding the nutrition out of food since we became farmers 10,000 years ago," Robinson says.

Watch the Robinson's full HuffPost Live segment here.

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  • Kiwis

    Research presented at a meeting last year of the American Heart Association shows that eating <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/kiwis-blood-pressure-apples_n_1097364.html" target="_hplink">three kiwis a day</a> is linked with decreased blood pressure. That study included 188 men and women age 55 and older, with slightly high blood pressure. They were instructed to eat three kiwis a day, or an apple a day for eight weeks. The researchers found that the people who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/kiwis-blood-pressure-apples_n_1097364.html" target="_hplink">ate the kiwis</a> had lower systolic blood pressure levels than those who ate the apples. Kiwis are known to be rich in lutein, which means they have antioxidant properties. <em>Flickr photo <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hulagway/5941766050/">by whologwhy</a>.</em>

  • Peas, Bananas And Other Potassium-Rich Foods

    A 2005 study in the journal <em>Hypertension</em> found that it's possible to get the blood pressure-lowering effects from <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0705c.shtml" target="_hplink">potassium-containing foods</a>, instead of just from a potassium supplement. Researchers from St. George's Medical School in London found that people who consumed potassium citrate -- which is found naturally in food -- has the same effects in <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0705c.shtml" target="_hplink">decreasing blood pressure</a> in people with hypertension as those who took potassium chloride, which is only available as a supplement, Harvard Medical School reported. <em>Flickr photo <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/robin24/5131280208/">by robin_24</a>.</em>

  • Watermelon

    <a href="http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/watermelon-lowers-blood-pressure-study-finds" target="_hplink">Watermelon</a> is not just refreshing, it contains a bounty of nutrients including fiber, lycopenes, vitamin A and potassium, according to the Mother Nature Network. And, a study from Florida State University researchers shows that an amino acid found -- called <a href="http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/watermelon-lowers-blood-pressure-study-finds" target="_hplink">L-citrulline/L-arginine</a> -- in watermelon could also have blood pressure-lowering effects. The researchers had nine people with prehypertension take 6 grams of the L-citrulline/L-arginine amino acid a day over a six-week period. They found that the study participants had lower blood pressure, as well as better functioning of their arteries. <em>Flickr photo <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gudlyf/3657294414/">by Gudlyf</a>.</em>

  • (Purple) Potatoes

    Spuds may get a bad rap in the foodsphere, but a small study presented last year at a meeting of the American Chemical Society showed that the purple-hued root vegetables have <a href="http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=222&content_id=CNBP_028109&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=6e3e7956-f304-482b-96f2-b644d1a2aaa5" target="_hplink">blood pressure-lowering powers</a> that are nearly as effective as oatmeal, without packing on pounds. The study included 18 people with high blood pressure. They ate six to eight <a href="http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=222&content_id=CNBP_028109&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=6e3e7956-f304-482b-96f2-b644d1a2aaa5" target="_hplink">purple potatoes</a> (including the skins!) twice a day, for a month-long period. The researchers found that the study participants' systolic and diastolic blood pressure dropped at the end of the research period. (Though, it should be noted that this was just an observational study, and the potato-eaters' blood pressure was not compared to people who did not eat purple potatoes during the study.) <em>Flickr photo <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/taransa/5499878925/">by Taransa</a>.</em>

  • Tofu

    Eating a lot of tofu and other soy foods -- like soy nuts, miso, edamame, tempeh and soy milk -- is linked with <a href="http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20120327/soy-nutrient-may-lower-blood-pressure" target="_hplink">decreased blood pressure</a>, WebMD reported. The study, presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, included 5,000 people whose diets were tracked over 20 years. The researchers found that the ones who <a href="http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20120327/soy-nutrient-may-lower-blood-pressure" target="_hplink">consumed the most isoflavones</a> -- found in soy, as well as peanuts and green tea -- had lower systolic blood pressure than those who consumed the fewest isoflavones, according to WebMD. <em>Flickr photo <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoosvanrobin/5776783857/">by FotoosVanRobin</a>.</em>

  • Chocolate

    Chocolate is linked with a lower BMI -- <em>and</em> it could be beneficial for people with hypertension. A 2010 review of studies in the journal <em>BMC Medicine</em> showed that <a href="http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/8/39" target="_hplink">flavanols</a>, which are found in chocolate, seemed to promote the dilation of blood vessels, which in turn can lower blood pressure. "Flavanols have been shown to increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and consequently may lower blood pressure," study researcher Dr. Karin Ried, of the University of Adelaide in Austria, said <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100628075746.htm" target="_hplink">in a statement</a>. "There have, however, been conflicting results as to the real-life effects of eating chocolate. We've found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure." <em>Flickr photo <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sionakaren/3871516012/">by Siona Karen</a>.</em>

  • Chili Peppers

    If you love a little heat with your food, it could be doing your <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413110002287" target="_hplink">blood pressure</a> a favor, too. A 2010 study in the journal <em>Cell Metabolism</em> showed that <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413110002287" target="_hplink">capsaicin</a> -- the spicy ingredient in chili peppers -- could help to lower blood pressure in rats with hypertension. However, the researchers from the Third Military Medical University in China noted that the results need to be replicated in humans. <em>Flickr photo <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/trostle/6114402110/">by Trostle</a>.</em>

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