A diet we can all agree onBy Maria a Petit
There are thousands of diets to choose from and they all have one thing in common, eat your veggies. Whether you are Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, Keto, Bulletproof, Raw, etc the common denominator is vegetables.
Everyone can agree that vegetables are a part of a balanced healthy diet. Whether they are the main event or just a sidekick, vegetables are the one thing we can all agree on. So let's dive into our common ground.
First, let's get a few things straight. When I talk about vegetables here, I am referring to the scientific and botanical definition, which is the parts of edible plants such as the roots (beets), stems (celery) and leaves (spinach). And there is an abundant world of plant parts out there full of variations, types, and colors.
But it’s a common mistake to mix up fruits with vegetables. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, courgettes, avocados, and pumpkins for example are all fruits rather than vegetables. So when we remove these vegetable impersonators are you really eating your daily dose of vegetables?
On the flip side the leaves and stems of herbs like Oregano, Basil, Sage, Thyme, and Mint are considered vegetables precisely because they are parts of the plant. The bonus is these herbs usually contain a higher concentration of nutrients. So sprinkling fresh herbs on any meal will significantly boost its nutritional value.
Here are the reasons why everyone agrees that vegetables are downright without question good for you.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-complex, vitamin A, vitamin C, D, E, and vitamin K. Unlike dietary supplements when you consume vitamins and minerals directly from the food source, the vitamins and minerals are more bioavailable. This means your body is more likely to absorb and integrate the vitamins and minerals. Additionally, vitamins and minerals are considered essential because our bodies cannot produce them and must be obtained from our food. Vitamins and minerals are extremely important because they perform hundreds of roles supporting the body's function. For example, they help the body to heal wounds, convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage. Each vitamin and mineral plays an important role in the body and not getting enough of them can cause health problems and disease. And here is a tip, the more vivid the color of the vegetable, the higher its nutrition content. Think carrots vs. potatoes.
Vegetables are also a rich and potent source of antioxidants compounds (phytochemicals) such as phenolics and carotenoids that may help protect cellular systems from oxidative damage and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Vegetables are a rich source of fiber. And while fiber is never actually digested in your intestine, fiber provides a cascade of health benefits such as keeping your bowel movements regular, lowers your cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, burns fat and helps you live longer. Does it sound too good to be true? Fortunately, it isn’t! But don’t take my word for it. Experience it yourself or explore further into the science of how fiber works miracles in your body.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance in your gut. This slows down digestion allowing for an increased absorption rate of the vitamins and minerals in your food. At the same time, soluble fiber keeps your blood sugar and insulin from spiking after you eat by slowing down the absorption of sugar. Soluble fiber also binds to cholesterol and keeps it from circulating through your blood, lowering your cholesterol levels. And high-fiber foods tend to be more filling so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer.
Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. It is also even more anti-inflammatory than soluble fiber and it curbs ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry, for several hours post-meal. As a result, you tend to eat less when you get plenty of insoluble fiber.
Vegetables naturally have high levels of water. Thus, a diet rich in vegetables increases your water intake and helps to flush out toxins from your body. Keep in mind that even if you eat a "healthy" and organic diet, we are exposed to toxins in our environment, which wreak havoc on our bodies. Anything from air and light pollution to toxins in most everyday items like soaps, detergents, self-care products, and plastics. Eating vegetables helps to counterbalance the exposure to toxins in our environment. But what makes the water in vegetables so remarkable is that the water you find in vegetables is structured water or exclusion zone (EZ) water. This is the water your cells use and it is very different from the water coming out of the tap. EZ water delivers power to your mitochondria so your cells have more energy. It also fights aging and stress and helps your body recover faster.
EZ water affects your body in a few different ways:
1. Energy Boost. EZ water delivers electrons to your mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells, and helps them generate more energy.
2. Anti-Aging. EZ water acts like an antioxidant, protecting your cells from free radicals and slowing down cellular aging.
3. Recovery. Proteins are the workhorses of your cells. They’re origami-like folded structures that affect just about everything your body does — but proteins can only function if they’re folded correctly. Stress makes proteins unfold and/or mis fold; they lose function, and can only start working again if they absorb enough energy to snap back into place. EZ water binds to proteins and can deliver the energy they need to recover and begin doing their job again
In summary, a diet rich in vegetables helps to protect your body from malnutrition, dehydration, bloating, constipation, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, vision loss, and cancer. Vegetables protect your cells from DNA damage, fight carcinogens, boost immunity and reduce inflammation in the body. Let's celebrate the amazing properties of Vegetables. Its the foundation of a diet we can all agree on.