Vegetables are not everybody’s cup of tea, or first go to snack. Heck, vegetarians and vegans are mocked for their love of salads and legumes. Although we live in a very carnivorous world, it will be the herbaceous, plant eating people who will outlive us all!
Are Vegetables Just a Trend?
Veganism and vegetarianism are becoming buzzwords lately, since hipsters are promoting a more environmentally friendly way of getting their fuel. However, they may be on to something, because eating more veggies and less meat means getting an important natural chemical called ‘phytonutrients’. Say what!? Yay, we know it sounds too scientific, but trust us this stuff will blow your mind.
What Are Phytonutrients?
Phytonutrients are usually found in plant foods and are thousands of natural chemicals. The word “Phyto” is a Greek word for plant. So, to help you remember think of these chemicals as “plant nutrients”. These chemicals are in plants because their purpose is to protect the plant from germs, bugs, fungi, and other hazards.
Basically, any fruit or vegetable has phytonutrients in them. However, other plant-based foods that contains these chemicals are the following:
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Believe it or not, phytonutrients are not necessary to keep yourself alive, which is contrary to the vitamins and nutrients that fresh produce has. Nonetheless, when you consume or drink phytonutrients, you may be able to prevent disease and keep your body working right. There are about 25,000 phytonutrients in plant foods, but who’s got time to look at all 25,000? So, we decided to make your life simpler (and ours) by just focusing on the 6 most important phytonutrients and how they can affect your health.
There are a lot of phytonutrients that are classified as flavonoids. This includes:
Hesperidin Many citrus fruits contain the flavonoid hesperidin. It works as an antioxidant, because it reduces inflammation in the body that could provoke chronic disease.
Flavonols A type of flavonol that has been thoroughly researched is called Quercetin and can be found in the following fruits and vegetables:
If you are an asthma sufferer, you might want to consider getting more Quercetin in your diet. It’s been proven to lower the risk of asthma, different forms of cancer and coronary heart disease.
You can get a dose of resveratrol in the following:
- Purple grape juice
- Red wine
Resveratrol has two things going for it, because it works as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Other scientific studies show resveratrol can lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Also, animal studies have shown that resveratrol can give you a longer life. However, more intensive research on humans must be done to prove this scientific theory.
Over 600 carotenoids give the red, yellow and orange colors in fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids serve as antioxidants in the body. They fight against destructive free radicals that destroy tissues within your entire body. Here are other kinds of carotenoids that can have additional and alternative health advantages.
Alpha-Carotene, Beta-Carotene and Beta-Cryptoxanthin Your body is a magician because what it does is take all these different types of carotenoids and changes them into vitamin A. This is the go to vitamin if you want to keep your immune system working perfectly, and it’s essential for eye health. Look out for yellow and orange foods such as pumpkins and carrots to get beneficial sources of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.
Lycopene You have probably come across lycopene whenever you eat something red or pink in color such as:
- Pink grapefruit
Lycopene has been related to reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
Excellent sources of these phytonutrients are dark, green and leafy vegetables such as:
Ellagic acid is usually found in several types of berries, which especially include the plant foods listed here below:
Ellagic acid works in several different ways to protect you from cancer. For instance, it can delay the growth of cancer cells. Also, it lends a helping hand to your liver to counteract against cancer-causing chemicals in your system.
Remember the Greek word for ‘plant’? Correct, it’s phyto. So, phytoestrogens are basically “plantestrogens”. They make use of estrogen and block the effects of your natural supply of estrogen. Isoflavones are another type of phytoestrogens, which are found in soy foods. There’s also some scientific evidence that shows soy foods can lower your risks of the following health problems:
Furthermore, your body can take out its magic wand again and change lignans, another type of phytonutrient, into chemicals that have estrogen-like effects. These two are good origins of lignans:
- Sesame Seeds
Although, some more research still has to be done to support the role of lignans in preventing endometrial cancer and osteoporosis.
Mainly cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates such as:
Glucosinolates are responsible for giving vegetables that strong smell and taste. Glucosinolates change into other chemicals as you cook and digest these foods. These chemicals help hold back the development and growth of cancer.
The 8 Most Common Diseases That Can Be Avoided or Reversed With A Plant Based Diet
Don’t underestimate the power of food, because it has a lot of healing power. Most of the time people are drawn into a plant based diet because their goal is to protect the environment and avoid harming animals. Although when the holidays come around and you are on vay-cay it can be hard to find something healthy to eat. There’s a lot of talk in the media that a plant based diet can prevent and reverse heart disease, and new evidence suggests that a plant based diet has a wide range of other positive effects that it can have in your life. So, let’s look at all the awful diseases plants can protect us from.
1. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise with adults, and unfortunately with children too. Plant based diets have proven to be an effective method to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. This is because plants, unlike animal products and their by-products, don’t contain a lot of fat. When you consume meat, butter and cheese you have a greater chance of putting on weight. When the lbs start to creep up on you that’s when the type 2 diabetes hits you.
That’s because being overweight, or for that matter obese, is responsible for insulin resistance. Individuals on a plant based diet show better insulin sensitivity levels, improved blood sugar as well as insulin levels which provides the means for blood sugar to enter your cells. Momental Mind is a sugar free, low glycemic index, low calorie supplement that helps diabetics maintain energy levels while avoiding sugar spikes and crashes.
2. Liver Disease
When Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” he was being very straightforward and way before his time. The liver is an organ that has to take and do a lot for the body. It must break down old or damaged blood cells. Also, the liver is vital for all metabolic processes in the body. When the liver metabolises fat, it breaks down fats and from the fat it produces energy.
A healthier diet, like the ketogenic diet and nootropic diet will lighten the load off a diseased liver, because a lot of its function is to metabolize excess proteins, cholesterol, fats and additives from foods. The best diet for liver disease is a low-fat, high-complex carbohydrate starch based diet. Starting early on this diet plan is recommended before liver failure goes into advanced stages.
Going forward with using the food as medicine approach, many asthma and even eczema sufferers say that when they stopped consuming meat and dairy, had experienced a dramatic change in their medical conditions. They saw huge improvements such as breathing better and didn’t have uncontrollable scratches as well as rashes. A recent study on processed red meat consumption and asthma symptoms revealed that consuming cured red meat more than four times a week can escalate asthma by up to 76 percent.
A plant based diet is essentially an anti-cancer diet. A study administrated by the researchers at Loma Linda University, studied the diets and habits of Seventh-Day Adventists. For those of you who don’t know, Seventh-Day Adventists are vegetarians! The study was carried out from 2002 to 2014. This 12-yearlong study revealed that people who ate a plant based diet live longer and had fewer cancers. The phytonutrients in plant based foods gave such health benefits to the participants in this study.
Food cannot only help you in your body, but your mind too. Depending how healthy your stomach is, your brain will follow. We all carry bacteria such as viruses and fungi called microbes, which impact our health.
Good microbes prevent disease from happening, whereas bad microbes create gut inflammation. Researchers have seen that when the gut is inflamed depression and other brain ailments follow. Scientists have also taken it a step further and delved into the microbiome’s part in autism. Some doctors suggest a tummy friendly diet that’s gluten-free as well as casein free for children with autism.
Moreover, gut inflammation causes nutrient deficiencies that could point to violence and aggression, especially when there’s a copper and zinc imbalance. The bottom line is your gut is connected to your brain, so watch what you put in your mouth!
The Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet
A Mediterranean diet includes many servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dashes of olive oil, red wine as well as fish with very little to no red meat. People of this region are believed to have a diet rich in phytonutrients. Studies reveal that a traditional Mediterranean diet can lower your chances of heart disease and cholesterol, Further research on 1.5 million healthy adults showed the relation between a Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of cardiovascular deaths. Mediterranean diets are also linked to reduced risks to cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
In fact, women who consume a Mediterranean diet that’s supplemented with healthy fats such as MCT and olive oil are less likely to develop breast cancer. A lot of health organization suggest and encourage a Mediterranean diet for the prevention of many chronic diseases.
The fundamental basics of a Mediterranean diet emphasize on the following:
- Consuming mainly plant based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
- Eating healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil instead of butter.
- Avoiding salt to flavor foods and alternatively using herbs and spices.
- Restrict red meat to a few times a month.
- Drink red wine in moderation.
What would you say to me now that the foods we eat, mainly ones that contain phytonutrients, can reverse and even prevent disease? Probably, before you read this, you would have said I was a little kooky. That’s understandable. However, to make a change in your life it must start with you, and that includes what you eat. There’s no point in running a marathon, or joining a fancy gym when the main culprit are the cheeseburgers and $50 steaks that you treat yourself to repeatedly.
A simple and basic lifestyle will take you further. The hipsters hanging out at all your local vegan restaurants will be the next centenarians, so be cool too and follow their example. If it’s too embarrassing for you to be seen at the Grasshopper Café; while you munch on a lentil bean burger and sweet potato wedges, begin your journey to more phytonutrients foods at home in your own kitchen.
So, go ahead and grab a wicker basket and set forth to your local farmer’s market. Choose a wide range of fruits and vegetables that you want to slice, dice, puree and stew for all your main meals and snacks too! If cooking isn’t your thing, there are supplements that can give you a boost of phytonutrients. You will not only feel better, but look more youthful and have a clearer state of mind!
Where can I buy herbal nootropics with phytonutrients?
You can buy supplements with phytonutrients from your favorite local health food store, otherwise you can purchase from online retailers like Amazon.
Looking for more than just another nootropic stack? Try MIND, a daily blend of nootropics containing; alpha gpc, grass-fed beef collagen protein, organic greens, and healthy fats that are perfect for on-the-go, lean lifestyles.
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