“The smarter we get, the sicker we become, because we are looking for cures instead of causes.”
Dr. Joel Robbins, MD, DC
The single most important thing that I can recommend to you to improve the quality of your life and to prevent disease, is to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (organic if possible.) There have been thousands of studies done on the subject of health and disease prevention that demonstrate that fruits and vegetables are crucial in the prevention of disease. Unfortunately most Americans fall severely short of doing this simple thing. According to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts & Figures 2002, “While knowledge about nutrition and health is improving, Americans have been slow to adopt more healthful diets.”
Antioxidants and Phytochemicals
We hear these words a lot but what do they mean? According to the Concise Medical Dictionary an antioxidant is described as any substance that delays the process of oxidation. Oxidation is the act or process of combining with oxygen. Oxidation occurs in the normal process of the body converting food into energy, and in breathing. Antioxidants in the body go through the body and mop up the free radicals, which were produced as a result of oxidation. You cannot escape oxidation; it’s part of life. God provided the answer to oxidation however in antioxidants which are found only in plant foods. When you eat a diet that is lacking in sufficient fruits and vegetables, free radicals take over and you are left with disease.
Phytochemicals are plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing compounds. Here is what the American Dietetic Association says about phytochemicals on their website, www.eatright.com, “More studies are demonstrating that components of plant foods called phytochemicals (there are over 12,000 known to date) may help reduce the risk of many diseases. Phytochemicals seem to be in greatest concentration in produce with darker colors or more intense flavor.”
Color Your Palette
For optimal health we need to eat a rainbow diet with foods from each color group every day. Each color group has its’ own unique benefits. Choose foods with the deepest hues because typically the deeper the color, the more nutritious the food. Eating a variety of colors makes sure that we get the variety of the nutrients that we need. Here are some of the health benefits of each color group:
Red foods are very good at fighting diseases. They contain lycopene, which helps rid the body of free radicals. Red foods also contain anthocyanins that help prevent cancer. Red foods have been shown to protect against prostate cancer and heart and lung disease. They also aid memory and give you good urinary tract health.
Orange-yellow foods promote heart health, protect against cancer, give you a healthy immune system, good vision health, and help lower cholesterol and keep bad cholesterol (LDL) from sticking to artery walls.
Dark green vegetables are very good at fighting disease as well. The National Cancer Institute ranks broccoli as the number one food to prevent cancer. Green foods contain sulforaphane which has been shown to kill helicobacter pylori, the pesky bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and potentially deadly stomach cancers. Green foods help prevent macular degeneration (the number one cause of blindness in elderly people) and contain powerful antioxidants to prevent disease. Green foods are super foods!
The blue and purple foods are great at protecting the body from free radical damage. They basically destroy them before they do any harm to the body. Blueberries and blackberries wipe out more free radicals than 50 other fresh fruits and vegetables. These color foods are loaded with anthocyanins, which are believed to protect against heart disease by preventing blood clots. They give you good urinary tract health as well as aid in memory.
For a complimentary health coaching session or to learn more about valuable health seminars in the area, please contact Dr. Deb Harrell at 352-375-4485 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about an easy, scientifically-backed way to add more colorful foods into your diet, visit www.healthpeak.com.
Deb Harrell, ND
Naturopathic Doctor and Professional Wellness Coach