The only thing practically everyone agrees about when it comes to diet and nutrition . . . we need to eat more plants. It's proven that eating more fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk for many known diseases such as heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, cancer, and psychological disorders.
Unfortunately, as our "modern civilization" shifted to a culture of fast food and convenience, we increased the amount of processed foods we consume. As a result, fewer servings of fruits and vegetables are consumed each day.
The nutrients we eat each day fall into three categories:
1. Macronutrients - includes carbohydrates, fats, and proteins
2. Micronutrients - vitamins and minerals
3. Phytonutrients - natural protective chemicals found in plants
Macro and micronutrients are required by our bodies. It's the fuel used to perform all the necessary functions for life. Phytonutrients aren't essential for keeping you alive, but they are likely to help you live a longer, higher quality life.
What are Phytonutrients?
A plate full of processed food will be various shades of beige - chicken nuggets, crackers, french fries. By contrast, A plate piled high with fruits and vegetables will be colorful and flavorful due to the phytonutrients they contain.
These phytonutrients are the plant's natural defense system. They also provide protective benefits to our bodies when we eat them. They allow biochemical reactions to take place properly, creating healthier tissues and organs while fighting off damage to our cells. The result is a strong immune system and a body that heals quickly when ill or injured.
What foods are highest in phytonutrients?
- Red bell peppers
- Peppermint and cloves
- Pomegranate seeds
- Dandelion tea
Keep in mind that cooking certain foods can reduce the nutrient content (especially boiling). So, it's ideal to eat your fruits and veggies raw or steamed.
How to consume more "super foods"?
I think we all know fruit and vegetables are good for us, but the average American eats less than two servings a day.
Why don't we eat more if we know how good they are for us?
Are the roadblocks time? cost? taste?
Here are a few ways to get more phytonutrients into your diet. You - and your family - might not even notice.
- Wash, cut and prep your produce when you get home from the store so they are ready
- Add extra vegetables and fruit to your salads (avocados, beets, sliced apples, or berries)
- Experiment with adding a variety of fresh herbs to your meal
- Make smoothies loaded with kale, cherries, spinach, and almond milk.
- Add additional vegetables in soups, stews, pot roasts, and chili
- Drink a plant-based protein shake or greens powder drink
- Grow your own garden!
Adding color to your plate is a sure way to promote a healthy lifestyle and is better than any anti-aging potion, lotion, or pill out there. So, next time you sit down to a meal, see how many bright colors are represented.
If you want more information on balanced nutrition, inquire about our next Hands on Nutritional workshop. We teach you how to balance protein, carbohydrates, and fats in order to reach your specific health, performance, or weight management goals.
Interested in learning about the plant-based greens powders we use nearly every day. They are NOT a substitute for eating a wide variety of healthy whole foods but fill the gaps when we just can't make it happen. Click the Link Below to Find out More.