We all know (or have heard) about how we should eat ‘five a day’, but do we know why it really matters how much fruit and veg we eat? Food is food, right? Wrong …
Fruit and veg, spices and herbs come in a myriad different colours, shapes, textures and flavours and are jam-packed with chemicals that serve to give them all these wonderful characteristics as well as protecting them from pests and environmental stressors. All the wonderful smells, colours and tastes of plant foods also impart protective benefits to us.
‘Phyto’ comes from Greek and means ‘of plants’, so phytonutrients are simply the thousands upon thousands of nutrients that are found in plant foods. They have many different names – flavenoids, phenols, tannins, indoles, lignans, terpenoids, alkaloids, phenylpropenoids, glycosides, flavones, ellargic acid – the list goes on. But all you need to know is that they are all good for you, and although nobody knows exactly how they do it, they work in harmony to protect us.
Most types of fruits and veg offer us 100’s of nutrients that help us reduce the risk of most chronic diseases. A simple stalk of broccoli, for example, has over 500 different phyto-nutrients that perform a myriad key functions in our bodies. They act as anti-oxidants, support de-toxification, stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, boost the immune system, improve cardiovascular health, promote healthy oestrogen metabolisation and stimulate the death of cancer cells, to name just a few of the amazing things phytonutrients do for us.
In a perfect world, no-one would need supplements. But, given the stress of our modern life, the poor quality of our food supply and the high load of toxins on our brains and bodies, most of us need a basic daily supply of the raw material for all our enzymes and biochemistry to run as designed”
Dr Mark Hyman, MD
Our bodies are brilliant bio-computers, designed to protect us and keep us well under extreme conditions. But they need the right raw materials in order to be able to do this job. And, these days, in this toxic world, it is essential that we think about the quality of the fuel we put into our body as our livers and hearts and brains struggle to cope with the onslaught we subject them to. Our DNA code was written at a time without glyphosate, BPA, micro-plastics, trans-fats, alcohol, food additives, sugar, cigarettes, phtalates and parabens.
It is no surprise that the incidence of obesity, diabetes, depression and other serious chronic diseases are rising at such an alarming rate. Our bodies simply cannot cope with the onslaught of toxins in the face of the paucity of nutrition in the average diet. They need all the help they can get!
The ‘Nutrient Gap’ – ie the difference between what most people eat, and what we should be eating for optimum health, is huge. Diets loaded with sugar, salt, additives, transfats, synthetic colours and flavours, stress the body even more. It may feel comforting to sink your teeth into a doughnut, but your body is anything but comforted. That inrush of sugar and refined carbs sets it up for inflammation, blood disorders, yeast infections and gastric distress.
What we need is something that can help us reboot our bodies – return them to factory settings, so they can do the only job they know how to do, to look after us. That something is easily available – it’s a vegetable!
Specifically designed by Nature to provide exactly what we (also designed by Nature btw) need in order to thrive, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices are just what the doctor ordered. Full of thousands and thousands of Phytonutrients, those beautiful little microscopic nutrition-bombs, not to speak of the fibre, vitamins and minerals they also contain, it is plant foods that hold the answer to our health problems.