Why Veggies & Fruits?

As I sit down with yet another patient who has several deficiencies on their Spectracell Micronutrient test* I am once again answering the age-old question of “Why do you keep telling me to eat my vegetables?!? I don’t “like” any vegetables. I may eat a piece of fruit, but even then I worry about pushing my blood sugar up,” (fruits are not the major, not even the minor cause of high blood sugar! Sugar and alcohol are, but don’t get me started) and“Vegetables take too much prep.” These are the same people who tell me that they are very clean eaters. And I believe that they believe they are good eaters. But if folks don’t/can’t/won’t eat veggies and fruits what ARE they eating and why are there so many nutrient deficiencies, type II diabetes patients and people with cardiovascular disease? My most concerning question is if you’re not eating your fruits and veggies, what ARE you eating?

As a nutritionist it is my job to educate you on how to eat for the way your body works. I spend so much time pushing vegetables and fruits because they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease fighting phytochemicals (a fancy name for the good antioxidants in plants). Plants are not “enriched” with synthetic versions of vitamins because they contain the real thing. It’s nature at its best. Because of this, eating plenty of vegetables and fruits every day can help reduce your risk of many diseases. I have posted some of the advantages below:

Leafy vegetables: My favorite as they contain so much goodness! I’m talking about kale, spinach, collards, and dark green lettuce. These vegetables are high in both Vitamin A and Vitamin C which can promote brain activity and health.

Nuts: Nuts are high in healthy fats, high in fiber and high in a whole host of antioxidants. They too are very supportive of brain health.

Blueberries: Blueberries contain various minerals and nutrients (including the skin), and have been shown to be extremely effective in helping to boost cognitive function, help protect against inflammation, help lower cholesterol and provide protection for the heart.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are good for your skin. Tomatoes contain a high level of lycopene which is oftentimes used in some of the more pricy facial cleansers that are available over the counter. They contain a considerable amount of calcium and Vitamin K, two nutrients that are extremely helpful for bone strength. They are also rich in B vitamins and potassium which is helpful in effectively reducing cholesterol levels which can help to prevent heart attack and strokes.

Cucumbers: Cucumbers can help keep you hydrated (eat lots in the summer!), can give you a very cooling feeling both inside and out, help flush out toxins, help bring down inflammation and even cut cancer risk!

Bell Peppers: The capsaicin in bell peppers has multiple health benefits. Studies show that it reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, controls diabetes, brings relief from pain and eases inflammation. The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.

So give veggies a chance, or a second chance as the case may be. You’ll be glad you did!