Do you know how many fruits and vegetables an average adult should be consuming? Give up? We should have about five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Do you think you are meeting this number? Now, let’s be honest, are we counting that slice of lettuce and tomato in our burger as a serving, because, guess what? It does not count. Studies have shown that raiding your fruit bowl and vegetable supply daily is necessary to prevent chronic diseases, cancer, and early death. With this in mind, is it worth it to base your diet mainly on plants? Absolutely, and here are the top five reasons why.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with the essential vitamins and compounds our body needs to function properly. However, given our sometimes hectic and busy lifestyles, consuming unhealthy, toxic, and processed foods can seem to be the easy, quick hunger fix. Yet when we eat these types of foods, we tend to see their effects throwing a wrench into our system. The human body uses biochemical reactions to maintain all functions. If we are missing one key compound, the reaction cannot be completed, and we see adverse side effects.
We derive phytonutrients from plants which assist our bodies in completing these vital sequences. “When you base your meals on plant foods, you’re packing your diet with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats,” says Sharon Palmer RDN and Editor of Environmental Nutrition in an interview with Consumer Reports online. Phytonutrients help keep the body running smoothly. Did you know there are over 10,000 known phytonutrients? “Phyto” comes from the Greek word “plant,” basically, plant nutrients- which are scientifically proven to provide health benefits. These benefits include optimal cellular function and communication, which are needed for creating healthier tissues and organ systems, detoxification, strong immune system, and muscles that perform better.
Stronger Immune System
We know this system exists and helps safeguard our bodies from harmful microorganisms, bacteria, and illness. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. The immune system attacks these disease causing organisms through a sequence of steps referred to as the immune response. According to the USDA, phytonutrients and vitamins obtained via plants provide a wide variety of benefits directly affecting our immune system. When we consume a large amount of nutrient-dense plants, we are giving our body servings of antioxidants, as well as enhancing our immune response via enhanced cell-to-cell communication. These antioxidants are known to kill off free-radicals and cancer cells in the human body. Haven’t you ever wondered why “home remedies” or “old-wives’” advice will more than likely incorporate some sort of vegetable concoction? An immune system boost is created when consuming the phytonutrients and vitamins in plants.
Enhanced Muscle Performance
You do not have to be a fitness expert to exercise and reap the benefits from an active body. Constant blasts from fad diet companies, miraculous weight-loss pills and exercise courses are tirelessly playing on repeat in almost every advertisement nowadays. It can become quite difficult to differentiate between what works, and what doesn’t work. Introducing a plant-based diet to your life, not only helps internally, but outward results are proven as well, and all this information IS scientifically researched and proven. Whether you are new to or unfamiliar with training regimens, the body’s ability to recover quickly is enhanced tremendously with the vitamins that fruits and veggies offer. The presence of essential vitamins and minerals in the body reduces inflammation, as well. Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise Magazine say plant-based diets lead to less soreness, less muscle damage, and increased strength in an exercised muscle. Remember, you do not have to be a fitness guru for you to experience these improvements to your body. Inflammation is a symptom that affects many people and can actually prevent your body from healing, and is also linked to other problems ranging from arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and sleep loss. So whether you are looking to gain a more effective workout, or feel like you could use less time in-pain for muscle recovery, introducing plant servings to your overall diet will only assist you in your goals toward achieving better health and feeling great!
Our bodies are exposed to large amounts of chemicals daily. These foreign chemicals produce a variety of negative symptoms like, headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, allergy or flu-like symptoms. A build up of these toxins could cause inflammatory and neurological disease. Ridding our bodies of harmful chemicals is what we must understand about detoxification, and we must give credit to the organ most responsible for filtering out the majority of all compounds that are unhealthy - the liver! Liver detoxification is activated by a series of enzymes, with proper cell-to-cell communication. Proper elimination requires antioxidants, and specific vitamins (vitamins E & C.) Phytonutrients are also needed to protect the liver against free radical damage which is a side effect that could occur during the detoxification process. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that we provide our organs with proper nutrition, and where can we find an abundance of said vitamins? Why, no other than the humble green vegetable!
Waking up early, consuming large amounts of caffeine, only being allowed a short period of time to eat our (and for most, ONLY) meal of the day, completing all other to-dos in the evening once our day-job is complete, AND after everything, managing stress levels… this schedule sounds common for most adults in the U.S. According to the Center of Disease Control, over 1 million people in the United States suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and it’s easy to see why. Our bodies are lacking the nutrition profile needed for the system responsible for balancing our bodies. The endocrine system is partly composed of two small glands called the adrenal glands, designed to regulate the body and keep us balanced and feeling well. When these glands begin producing irregular amounts of hormones, our bodies suffer in major ways. One of the most common symptoms is chronic fatigue. Eating whole foods, a plant strong diet rich in leafy greens, and exercising regularly can be very beneficial for adrenal glands to function at their best. High vegetable intake increases the amount of B vitamins which have also been found to affect mood and stress levels- All of which are contributing factors to why people are not getting enough rest. So what are you waiting for? The best prescription to boost your mood, energy, and obtain better sleep.
Our body are meant to function at an optimal level, so why not supply it with complete vitamins and minerals that are necessary for excellent performance? Phytonutrients tie into this equation quite nicely when we focus on making plants and vegetables the “heart of our plate.” Incorporating more servings of certain fruits and most veggies is a side-effect-free way for people to get healthy. SMART Pressed® Juice believes that “there is nothing more powerful on earth, than the humble green vegetable.”