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GOMBBS: Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Beans, and Seeds

GOMBBS” is an acronym you can use to remember the most nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods on the planet. These are the foods you should eat every day, and they should make up a significant proportion of your diet – these foods are extremely effective at preventing chronic disease and promoting health and longevity.

G – Greens

Raw leafy greens contain only about 100 calories per pound, and are packed with nutrients. Leafy greens contain substances that protect blood vessels, and are associated with reduced risk of diabetes.1 Greens are the most nutrient-dense of all foods and an excellent tool for weight loss, since they can be consumed in virtually unlimited quantities. Greens promote healthy vision, and many belong to the cruciferous vegetable family, which contain potent anti-cancer compounds.2, 3 Greens are consumed in miniscule amounts in the typical American diet; we should follow the example of our closest living relatives – chimpanzees and gorillas – who consume tens of pounds of nutrient-dense green leaves every day.

O – Onions

Onions, along with leeks, garlic, shallots, and scallions, make up the Allium family of vegetables. Along with the great flavor they lend to meals, they have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as anti-diabetic and anti-cancer effects. Allium vegetables are known for their characteristic organosulfur compounds, which slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells – eating onions and garlic frequently is associated with reduced risk of digestive cancers.4, 5 In addition, Allium vegetables contain high concentrations of health-promoting flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and contribute to the cancer preventive properties of these vegetables.6-9

M - Mushrooms

In one recent Chinese study, women who ate at least 10 grams of fresh mushrooms each day (which equates to about one button mushroom per day) had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer! All types of mushrooms all have anti-cancer properties. Plus, mushrooms are unique in that they contain aromatase inhibitors – compounds that can block the production of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors are thought to be largely responsible for the preventive effects of mushrooms against breast cancer – in fact, there are aromatase-inhibiting drugs on the market that are used to treat breast cancer. Regular consumption of dietary aromatase inhibitors is an excellent strategy for prevention, and it turns out that even the most commonly eaten mushrooms (white, cremini, and Portobello) have a high anti-aromatase activity.10-12

B – Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods, linked to reduced risk of diabetes, cancers and cognitive decline. Naturally sweet and juicy, berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients – berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods in existence. Berries’ plentiful antioxidant content helps to reduce blood pressure and inflammation, prevent DNA damage that leads to cancer, and stimulate the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Berries are also an excellent food for the brain, shown to improve both motor coordination and memory.13-17

B - Beans

Beans (and lentils and other legumes) act as an anti-diabetes and weight-loss food because they are digested slowly, which stabilizes blood sugar, promotes satiety and helps to prevent food cravings. Plus they contain soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels. Beans are unique foods because of their very high levels of fiber and resistant starch, carbohydrates that are not broken down by digestive enzymes. Fiber and resistant starch reduce total the number of calories absorbed from beans, and are fermented by intestinal bacteria into fatty acids that help to prevent colon cancer. Eating beans, peas, or lentils at least twice a week has been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50%. Legume intake also provides significant protection against oral, larynx, pharynx, stomach, and kidney cancers.18-21

S - Seeds

Nuts and seeds are healthy fat sources that aid in the absorption of nutrients in vegetables in addition to supplying their own spectrum of micronutrients including plant sterols, minerals, and antioxidants. Countless studies have demonstrated the cardiovascular benefits of nuts, and including nuts in the diet aids in weight maintenance and diabetes prevention.22-27 The nutritional profiles of seeds are similar to nuts when it comes to healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants, but seeds are also abundant in trace minerals and higher in protein than nuts. Flax, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts are extremely rich sources of ALA, the precursor to DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that supports heart and brain health.28 Walnuts also protect against cardiovascular disease by improving blood pressure regulation, and may protect the aging brain against cognitive decline.15, 29 Lignans, contained within flaxseeds and sesame seeds, have breast cancer preventive properties.30 Sesame seeds have the greatest amount of calcium of any food in the world, and provide abundant amounts of vitamin E. Pistachio nuts and Mediterranean pine nuts have the highest plant sterol (a cholesterol-lowering substance) content of all nuts. Plus pistachios are also rich in arginine, which helps to lower blood pressure, and pistachio consumption has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers and increase blood antioxidant levels.31-33 In addition to their plant sterols, Mediterranean pine nuts boast exceptionally high protein and vitamin K content and a distinctive fatty acid (pinolenic acid) with appetite-suppressing effects.34, 35

You can learn more about the health benefits of GOMBBS in my new book Super Immunity, which discusses how to naturally strengthen the immune system against everything from the common cold to cancer.

Dr. Fuhrman is a New York Times best-selling author, nutritional researcher and board certified family physician specializing in nutritional medicine. Learn more by visiting his informative website at and his blog at, and following Dr. Fuhrman on Facebook and Twitter.


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