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Food Diversity is Key to Good Health
Historically, macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, fish oil, and fiber have been the center of nutritional advice. Now, we have added a new topic to our ongoing conversation is about food diversity being the key to good health.
To enhance our diets, and maximize the efforts of our journey toward good health, we must understand how to utilize phytochemicals (or phytonutrients) from plants. There is a tremendous growing body of research on the use of phytochemicals for therapeutic purposes.
What we used to call vitamin P (flavonoids), vitamin U (glucosinolates and indoles), and vitamin Q (ubiquinone) were dethroned from vitamin status because specific deficiency symptoms could not be established; they were simply called phytochemicals and classified as secondary metabolites.
As Gottfried S. Fraenkel explains in his article, “The raison d'Etre of secondary plant substances,” published in the journal Science, “Secondary metabolites are organic compounds that are not directly involved in normal growth, development, or reproduction of an organism. Unlike primary metabolites, absence of secondary metabolites does not result in immediate death, but rather long-term impairment of the organism’s survivability and fecundity.”
A deficiency in phytochemicals, or secondary metabolites, won’t immediately make you sick, but rather contribute to a steady, lifelong decline in health.
In fact, long-term impairment of an organism’s survivability sounds frighteningly like the very conditions experienced by the increasing millions of people plagued by chronic degenerative diseases: e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few.
It is now understood and acknowledged that the diminished intake of live colorful foods— fresh fruits and vegetables which are loaded with a diverse array of phytochemicals—could be the cause. Too often, our body is quite simply not fully nourished with plant-based nutrients to defend itself against chronic illnesses.
Why has the USDA recommended the 5-to-10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables for all Americans? Our plate, suggests the USDA, should be half-filled with fruits and veggies at each meal. Scientific evidence now demonstrates that a healthy diet of live foods gives the body what it needs to heal, repair, and defend itself. Health, in large part, is a matter of feeding the body a diversity of fresh, high-active foods with rich nutrient density.
Your mission, then, is to adopt a diverse plant-based diet in order to fortify your body with nutrients for healthy functioning. A statistical analysis published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association concluded that “Americans need to consume more fruits and vegetables, especially dark green and orange vegetables and legumes.
Nutritionists must help consumers realize that, for everyone older than age 3 years, the new recommendations for fruit and vegetable intakes are greater than the familiar five servings a day.”
And it’s not only the baby boomers who are looking in the mirror and thinking Wow, I’ve got to slow down this aging process to look and feel better. People at younger and younger ages are experiencing the debilitating diseases of aging, including those that impair neurological functioning.
A paper published in Neurochemical Research, entitled “Benefits from dietary polyphenols for brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease,” adds scientific evidence to this awareness. The researchers summarized the characteristics of the most-studied food polyphenols that were shown to have potential anti-aging and brain-protective activities.
They discovered that these polyphenol-rich foods are able to scavenge free radicals and decrease inflammation—and they also contain components that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier to protect and support healthy cognitive functioning of the brain.
The bottom line? Diets rich in polyphenols are preventative and can even reverse the aging process, so it’s important to eat a wide variety of polyphenol-rich foods daily.
In addition, research published in the Annals of Neurology suggests that greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries are associated with slower rates of cognitive decline. Further supporting evidence shows that greater intakes of anthocyanins and total flavonoids are associated with slower rates of cognitive decline.
This is good news for all of us—if we incorporate this ever-growing body of knowledge seriously into our dietary habits. The summary statement of this research couldn’t be clearer: “Higher intake of flavonoids, particularly from berries, appears to reduce rates of cognitive decline in older adults.”
This discussion on diversity is the very point that my Therapeutic Food Supplements targets. With decades of experience under my belt, I’ve developed a range of supplements that are rooted in the belief that as our lives become busier and our environments more toxic, our bodies need a little extra boost in order to function optimally. To enable you to give your body what it needs in the way of nutrition is the foundation of health.
Here’s how I typically start my morning:
- 4 tabs of Organic Chlorella
- 2 capsules Phyto Power
- 2 capsules Cruciferous Sprouts
- 4 capsules Ultra Minerals
- 1 capsule Fructo Borate
- 1 capsule Blueberry Extract
- 1 heaping tablespoon Beta Glucan Synbiotic Formula
Seem like a lot? Start gradually incorporating supplements into a healthier diet, and before you know it, eating well and supplementing where you need it will come naturally.
This blog originally appeared on the BioImmersion blog and was repurposed with permission from Seann Bardell. Visit bioimmersion.com to read the full post, learn more about Therapeutic Food Supplements, and discover where to buy.