It is a no brainer that what you eat in private is eventually what you wear in public; in
other words, what you eat literally becomes you. So, the choice is completely
yours. for those who think they don't have time for healthy
, will sooner or later have to find time for illness. And you
surely don't want to end up in that category, do you?
are the only foods which have been consistently associated
with reduction of risk in various diseases such as cancer
and age related
. Follow the "five-a-day"
recommendation in which experts recommend a total of five servings (comprised
of both fruits and vegetables) per day. Research has shown that doing so may
reduce the risk of stroke
by more than 30 percent.
You have all seen an apple slice
turning brown within seconds of cutting it. This happens when oxygen reacts
with the apple resulting in a process called oxidation, which produces free
radicals. The apple eventually rots if kept exposed to air. The same mechanism
occurs in your body, the cells lining your lungs or in a cut on your skin.
Free radicals are the unstable byproducts of oxidation, which causes iron to rust and a peeled apple or banana to turn brown. In the body, free radicals destroy cell membranes and make cells
vulnerable to decay and pathogens. Our mother nature provides a unique defence
against these free radicals in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts,
and legumes. Foods rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene
help the body shield against harmful effects of free radicals.
A research conducted by
Nutrilite Health Institute of Amway finds the majority of adults worldwide
would have to at least double their current consumption of fruits and
vegetables to meet the World Health Organization's minimum recommendation of
five servings (400 grams) per day.
It was also reported that about
60 to 87 percent of adults across 13 geographic diet regions - were falling
short of this recommendation and missing out on crucial nutrition and health
benefits. The researchers emphasized that fruits and vegetable intake was quite
low in Asian countries, including India.
Scientists have recently begun
recognizing the importance of a category of chemical substance called
phytochemicals or phytonutrients
. They are organic
compounds found in fruits and vegetables - potentially needed to support your
health and wellness. Examples of phytochemicals include the pigment-containing
compounds (e.g., the pigment that makes blueberries blue) and flavonoids. These
flavonoids have been reported to possess more potent antioxidant properties
than vitamins C and E.
There has been ample research on
phytonutrients which suggests that eating foods rich in them may provide a
range of health benefits, from promoting eye, bone and heart health, to
supporting immune and brain function. Many phytonutrients are reported to be
powerful antioxidants which help fight the damage caused to the cells in our
bodies over a period of time.
Keith Randolph, Ph.D., nutrition
technology strategist at the Nutrilite Health Institute and co-author of the
research published in the British Journal
said "Insights from the research highlight a global need for
increased awareness of the relationship between fruit and vegetable
consumption, and phytonutrient intakes."
A study was conducted in 13
regions to gauge the impact of low fruit and vegetable consumption on
phytonutrient intake. Data obtained from this study showed that adults
consuming five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables had two to six
times the average intake of phytonutrients of adults consuming fewer than five
servings per day.
The study also took into
consideration the variety and availability of fruits and vegetables in each of
the regions. It showed that due to limited availability of some fruits and
vegetables, phytonutrient intake was also low in some regions.
Mary Murphy, MS, RD, senior managing scientist at Exponent, Inc. and co-author of the study said
that "Both the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables in a person's diet are important. In order to consume a range of phytonutrients people should aim to meet recommended intakes of fruits and vegetables and eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables."
Dr. Randolph also acknowledged the fact that our busy schedule, cost, seasonal and geographic availability, as well as perceptions of the value of fruits and vegetables as a food source could influence people's consumption of fruits and vegetables, and ultimately phytonutrients.
Tips to increase your fruit and vegetable intake:
Try to double your normal intake of vegetables and fruits. You could add a
to your regular breakfast routine, incorporate a salad and an apple in your
lunch and have at least two vegetables with supper.
Stock up cut raw vegetables in your refrigerator and snack on them instead of
fried items such as potato chips.
Make sure your sandwiches are stacked high with vegetables of your choice such
as spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts etc.
Do not boil vegetables for a long time; this step is important to retain their
vitamins. Once cooked, eat them as soon as possible. Consider baking, stir-fry
or steaming vegetables for better nutrient retention.
Choose whole fruit over fruit drinks and juices as fruit juices could have lost
fiber from the fruit during the process.
Talk to your health care provider and discuss the need of taking a multivitamin
and mineral supplement daily. Remember it should be used along with a healthy
diet, high in fruit and vegetables.
Last, but not
the least, remember that substitution is the key. Eat
fruits and vegetables instead of some other higher-calorie