Fruits and Veggies:
The Dynamic Duo of Superior Nutrition
and vegetables are the absolute bedrock of a Rock-Solid eating regimen,
as they supply virtually every vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and phytonutrient
you need. When eaten raw, their high water content not only contributes
to proper hydration in the body, but it is critical to the actual transportation
of these essential nutrients to the cells. When cooked, certain nutrients
in certain veggies become even easier to assimilate, plus we can often
eat larger quantities this way. In either case, the high fiber content
of both fruit and vegetables promotes proper and consistent detoxification
and elimination in the body. And as a clean-burning energy source, they
are second to none.
sheer variety and diversity of the fruit and veggie families is so immense
that it’s important to note that there is great variance in the
amount and type of nutrients offered by each kind. This is why it’s
important to enjoy a large variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
But rather than lugging your laptop around to every meal and tabulating
your nutrient intake into an Excel document, there is an easier way
(thankfully!): Think various colors and flavors. And as you do, you’ll
find that an entire universe of benefits awaits.
Power!: Fruit and Veggie Facts, Colors and Flavors Galore
are approximately 4000 different phytochemicals in plant life. These
substances give each fruit and vegetable their distinctive color,
flavor and scent and help protect them from air pollution, insects,
radiation damage and disease.
carotenoids, and antioxidants are among the most studied groups
of phytochemicals and are unprecedented in their benefit to human
are absolutely critical for optimal health and fruits and veggies
are loaded with them. Some of the top antioxidant-rich fruits are:
blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries,
and plums. Some of the top antioxidant-rich vegetables are: kale,
spinach, brussell sprouts, alfalfa sprouts and broccoli.
veggies like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are renowned as anti-cancer
foods because they contain a compound called I3C (indole-3-carbinol).
This is a potent antioxidant that breaks down estrogen in the body
and reduces the risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers, in particular.
another powerhouse antioxidant, is largely found in yellow and orange
fruits and veggies like carrots, squash, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes,
apricots and mangoes.
comprise the beautiful blue or purple plant pigment found in blueberries,
plums, cabbage and eggplant, and represent some of the most potent
concentrations of antioxidant flavanoids in the plant kingdom.
flavanoids, which are found in the white part or pulp of citrus
fruit, have significant anti-inflammatory properties.
is mainly found in certain red fruits, most notably in tomatoes
(with four times the bio-availability when cooked, like in pasta
sauce), but also in watermelon, papaya and pink grapefruit. It’s
often cited as a crucial nutrient in the prevention of prostate
cancer. One study proclaimed that just 10 tablespoons of pasta sauce
per week could reduce a man’s risk of prostate cancer by nearly
green vegetables, as discussed in the first section of the Nutritional
Matrix, remain the heavyweight champs of the veggie universe. But
let’s not ignore the other nutrient-dense green staples like
bell peppers, celery, asparagus and cucumbers.
more flavor? Don’t forget about your top antioxidant-rich
herbs: oregano, sage, peppermint and thyme. Or, the valuable phytonutrients
found in ginger or even onions and garlic (which are rich in allium).
some of these phytonutrients can be effectively extracted and presented
in supplement form, there is an undeniable synergistic effect that
happens when these hundreds of phytochemicals are consumed in their
natural ratios in whole fruits and veggies.
all of this in mind, try to eat a variety of different colored fruits
and vegetables each day.
your favorite fruits for snacks, in delicious fruit salads and in a
variety of combinations in your daily smoothie. For veggies, always
look for creative ways to make them a part of every meal as you shoot
for a big salad every day, integrate them into various rice and pasta
dishes, feature veggies in a variety of soups, and cut them up as excellent
additions to sandwich meals.
remember, the more variety of colors, the better...
Rock is a seasoned health and fitness specialist and a renowned drummer,
educator, producer and author of seven books. With certifications in
personal training, nutrition and meditation, and a number of published
writings on the subject of health and wellness, Bobby's unique approach
to total mind/body fitness has gained him accolades among a wide cross-section
of health enthusiasts. Check
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