I know, I know, we have all heard we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. As a matter of fact we hear this at every turn. We are told it with the expectation that we are just supposed to do it without any explanation. It reminds me of my mothers favourite saying, “because I said so.” To me this is never enough of a reason to do something,
Today I thought I would give you the reasons to eat more vegetables and fruits.
Not only are brightly coloured fruits and vegetables beautiful to look at, they will also make you beautiful!
Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your cells from oxidative damage. Those pesky free radicals are the byproduct of oxygen use in the body and they like to go around trashing cells. Antioxidants prevent them from doing this and destroy them.
So What? By protecting your cells, antioxidants can help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more.
Where does the beauty come in? Antioxidants keep your cells safe which in turn holds back the aging of your skin. If you notice yourself looking a little haggard just raise your intake of bright colourful veggies.
Green Leafy Veggies
In addition to large amounts of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables are high in fibre. Fibre helps keep you regular, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar and helps maintain weight loss. They contain vitamins A,C,E,K and a number of B vitamins. They include folate which can help lower the risk of colon polyps.
Now lets look at common salad ingredients.
Tomatoes are brightly coloured which means they are high in antioxidants. They also contain
Lycopene which assists in prostate cancer prevention
Beta-Carotene helps prevent colorectal cancer
Potassium which is associated with a 20% decrease in death from all causes
Folic Acid which helps prevent depression
There are many more health benefits of tomatoes. For the full story check out Medical News Today here.
Cucumber has a number of benefits for your health. Assisting in such issues as:
• Skin Inflammation and acne
• Arthritis pain
Cucumber contains Silica which promotes joint health, strengthens connective tissue and even helps your hair and nails grow strong. It helps in gout and arthritis by lowering uric acid levels.
It’s anti-inflammatory properties can ease puffy eyes and calm the inflammation of skin from acne, eczema and oxidative damage. It can also cool the pain of sunburn.
See Green Leafy Veggies above.
Onion can lower blood pressure so well that it is one of the foods that are not recommended to people on blood thinners like Warfarin.
Among the health benefits of onion are effects on:
Onions contain Vitamin C, B6, Manganese, Calcium, Iron Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Quercetin and Sulfur.
Fruits and Berries
Fruits and berries added to salads can liven things up. I love to put walnuts (which lower cholesterol) and mandarin orange sections in a salad with an orange vinaigrette. It is amazing.
Strawberries which are antioxidant rich can be added to salads along with cacao nibs (high in magnesium) to change things up.
Many people just don’t bother because salads and veggies can be boring if you only have them the way you always have. By adding new and different ingredients you can certainly liven them up.
Side effects of eating more fruit and vegetables
-Clear blemish free skin
-Less inflammation and pain in arthritis
-Reduced cancer risk
-Lower blood sugar levels
On that note I will leave you with probably my favourite salad of all time.
Watermelon Cucumber Salad
This salad works great for single folks as well as families. For singles just use the amount you think you will be able to consume. This recipe is for at least 2 people with healthy appetites.
1 small watermelon
1/4 sweet onion or to taste
1/2 feta cheese crumbled
Mint or basil
Juice of 1 lime if desired
Peel watermelon and cut into cubes. If using english cucumber simply cut into chunks. If using field cucumber peel seed and cut into chunks. Slice the sweet onion. Crumble the feta. Dice the herb of choice finely. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. If using lime juice toss with the other ingredients, garnish and serve.
This salad is amazingly healthy and refreshing.