Posts Tagged ‘Vegetable’

5 Reasons Why Fruit and Vegetables Are So Important For Our Health

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Eat 5 a day!! or even eat 10 a day. Both of these slogans are used regularly to encourage people to eat a healthy diet, so that they may live long and healthy lives.

Encouraging people to eat more fruit and vegetables is seen a top priority by those who are promoting a healthier diet. Many serious illnesses are caused by nutritional deficiency due to a diet made up of poor quality food and far to many people are eating processed foods and fast foods that have little or no nutritional value.

Research indicates that nine or ten servings of fruits and vegetables a day is optimal, whereas dietary guidelines tend to recommend a minimum of five servings a day. However it would appear that most populations are consistently not reaching even half this goal. Attempts to increase the intake of fruit and vegetables is proving to be a major public health challenge.

So why are vegetables so beneficial to our health?

  1. The fibre content in fruit and vegetables, ultimately aids the digestive process.
  2. Vitamins – Vitamin C and  the B complex vitamins are found in all fruit and vegetables whereas vitamin A is found in read yellow and orange fruit and vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes.
  3. Minerals – The minerals copper, iron, zinc, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and potassium are found in certain fruit and vegetables
  4. Phytonutrients- More recently research has been focusing on a different set of nutrients called phytonutrients. These bioactive substances are found in all plants – not just fruit and vegetables but also in flowers, herbs spices, seeds, nuts, oils, cereals, pulses, chocolate as well as beverages such as tea and coffee. Many but not all of these nutrients are highly coloured. There are 20 top phytonutrients each with their own special name and properties
  5. It is well documented that people who eat a diet rich in plant foods have a reduced incidence of heart disease and cancer
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Foods that Help the Inflammatory Response

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Many modern diseases and conditions have what we would term an inflammatory response. Arthritis is a particularly painful inflammatory response as is chronic back pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Fats and Oils – Omega 3 essential fatty acids are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They are converted into hormone like substances called prostaglandins. They are found in cold water oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring, flaxseed (sometimes called linseed) and their oil. Omega 6 fats are also responsible for reducing inflammation and pain and they can be found in pumpkin, sunflower, safflower and sesame seed oils.

Fruit and Vegetables – Green and brightly coloured vegetables and fruits can help the inflammatory process. The pigment in brightly coloured fruit, vegetables and in particular berries, contain many phytochemicals and anti-oxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. For example quercetin which can be found in the skins of red apples and re onions is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory.

Spices – The spice tumeric is thought to have anti inflammatory properties and is often recommended for those with arthritis. It can be added to food in the natural way or taken as a supplement

Pro-inflammatory Foods

If you are suffering from an inflammatory disease, it would also be wise to avoid pro-inflammatory foods that might increase your pain and inflammation.

Foods to avoid include any junk food and fast food, especially trans-fats and saturated fats. Too much saturated fat means too much arachidonic acid which although essential in the right amounts can be responsible for making your inflammation worse if you consume too much.

Diets high in sugar have also been associated with inflammation and so should be avoided. Another possible cause for concern is foods that come from the deadly nightshade family. Foods such as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant have been known to aggravate the pain of inflammation.

Adjusting your diet in this way is the first line of defence for any anti-inflammatory regime. Such dietary changes ideally, need to be initiated early on in the disease if they are to have any noticeable effect.

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