It's the rare child who actually wants to eat fruits and vegetables.
Kids are bombarded by television and radio ads for cereals, candy, and
chips that contain huge amounts of sugar and large quantities of
saturated fat. The sugar craving begins in childhood - kids quickly
develop a taste for sweets. To a child's sugar-sensitized palette, the
complex sugars contained in fruits and vegetables are a poor substitute.
carry these habits into adulthood and our long-term health suffers as a
result. Twenty-four hours is not enough time in the day for most of us,
and many consistently choose fast foods as a means of satisfying our
need for food and a method for limiting the amount of precious time we
spend on meal preparation.
But fast foods are not really food in
the sense that the nutrition they provide is minimal. Fast foods are
essentially empty calories.
In the 1950s and 1960s a well-known
health-related slogan was "an apple a day makes the doctor away". This
advice represented ancient folk wisdom. Today, decades of research has
shown that apples - and all fruits and vegetables - have remarkable
health-promoting and disease-fighting properties.
and vegetables are packed with magical biochemicals called
phytochemicals - "phyto" means plant. Phytochemicals give fruits and
vegetables their color, so the more colorful a food, the more
phytochemicals it contains.
Ongoing research studies show that
phytochemicals - of which there are thousands of varieties - provide
protection against the development of many chronic diseases, including
cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and
Many phytochemicals are antioxidants
and neutralize free radicals in human cells. Others have
anti-inflammatory properties - these help slow the aging process.
and vegetables are so important for our health and well-being that many
national organizations have promoted the "five to stay alive rule" -
the recommendation is to eat at least five portions of fruits and
vegetables each day.3
Portions could include any of
these - an apple, an orange, a banana, a cup of grapes, a cup of
blueberries, a yam, a couple of carrots, a couple of tomatoes, and a
couple of tablespoons of broccoli.
For many of us, "five to
stay alive" would be a radical departure from our old habits. It might
take a little effort to develop new shopping and eating habits, but
once you're in the groove it's likely you'll be feeling so much better
you'll wonder why you didn't start this healthy-eating plan sooner.
chiropractor is an expert on nutritional health and will be glad to
help you create a food plan that works for you and your family.
Kok TM, et al: Mechanisms of combined action of different
chemopreventive dietary compounds: a review. Eur J Nutr 47(Suppl
2Ware WR: Nutrition and the Prevention and
Treatment of Cancer: Association of Cytochrome P450 CYP1B1 With the
Role of Fruit and Fruit Extracts. Integr Cancer Ther December 2008
3Liu RH: Potential synergy of phytochemicals in cancer prevention: mechanism of action. J Nutr 134(Suppl 12):3479S-3485S, 2004
If fruits and vegetables are so good for you, why not just go all the
way and become a vegetarian? This is a choice many people make, and
it's certainly a valid option.
Regardless, it's necessary for
all of us to ensure our diet contains "complete protein". The proteins
that make up most of our body's structures are themselves composed of
amino acids - there are approximately 20 known varieties. Of these,
eight amino acids are described as "essential" - we need to obtain
these essential amino acids via the food we eat.
acids are found in turkey, chicken, fish, meat, milk, cheese, and eggs.
Vegetarians who do not eat any of these foods must be sure to obtain
their daily requirement of essential amino acids.
protein should a person eat each day? For good metabolic efficiency,
i.e., for fit people who exercise regularly, an approximate measurement
is one gram of protein for each pound of body weight.