When it comes to nourishment, one prescription we give out to all our clients is a bountiful assortment of colors in their diet each day from fruits and vegetables. In this blog post we are going to break down some benefits to having 10 different shades of fruits and vegetables each day.
Benefit # 1:
Fruits and vegetables are extremely micronutrient dense. What does micronutrient dense mean? Relative to their mass, they have a larger quantity of micronutrients. What exactly are micronutrients? Micronutrients are “a chemical element or substance required in trace amounts for normal growth.” More specifically, vitamins and minerals. We have roughly 15 vitamins and roughly 15 minerals we need from our diet. These constitute our micronutrients found in nearly all our food but in varying densities.
Vitamins: Organic compounds that we need to live and thrive
A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E, K1, K2, Choline
Example: Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, kale, swiss chard, Brussel sprouts, collards, mustard greens, broccoli) are high in: vitamin A, B6, B9 (folate), E, K
Minerals: Naturally occurring inorganic substances.
Calcium, Chloride, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, Sulfur, Zinc
Example: Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, kale, swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, collards, mustard greens, broccoli) are high in: calcium, chloride, chromium, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Potassium, Sulfur.
All vegetables and fruits contain dense amounts of micronutrients which are essential for all processes within the body. To give one example, Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions. A deficiency in magnesium could wreak havoc on your body’s ability to operate at a high level.
One point worth noting is soil and how important it is with regards to micronutrient extraction. Soil and water contain minerals that plants absorb and animals eat. We consume both of them in varying amounts. Thus, the health of our soli will determine the quality of our food. Ensure you are getting the highest quality plants, organic, and look for the number “9” on your fruit and vegetables. The higher the FIRST number is on the fruit/vegetable the greater the quality. A nice tool to remember: “9” is divine, “4” is a bore. Stick to the 9’s.
Phytonutrients and Phytochemicals
These are components found in plant based food sources. Some of their benefits include:
- Scavenge free radicals as antioxidants
- Influence hormonal function
- Help with DNA repair
- Help fight bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens
- Lower inflammation
- Lower blood clotting and coagulation
- Inhibit fat synthesis and storage
Besides all of the vital nutrients plant-based foods provide, they play an integral part in our bodies ability to fight off disease and dysfunction.
We can’t digest fiber but we utilize it for various tasks to help with overall health and digestion. Our GI bacteria ferment fiber producing short-chain fatty acids which have various health benefits. We have two different types of fiber: Soluble and Insoluble. Fruits and vegetables are wonderful sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber – water soluble, turns into a gel in water. Found in some vegetables (artichokes, tomatoes, carrots, peas), fruit (oranges, bananas, blueberries, apples), grains (oats, oat bran, barley), beans, flax, and chia seeds.
- The gel like substance helps grab and excrete pieces of our system such as bile acids and other fat-soluble substances such as sex hormone metabolites.
Insoluble fiber – primarily found in vegetables: celery, root vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, fruit, vegetable skins, seeds, and nuts.
- Adds bulk to stool and helps ensure regular bowel movements
- Help us feel full longer
- Lower our blood lipids and cholesterol
- Lower our risk of colon cancer
- Keep things moving through the GI tract
- Boost and strengthen gut health
35-50g of fiber per day as a general prescription (lower end for females and higher end for males)
Each day we need to strive for a large assortment of varied colors from fruits and vegetables. This will ensure we are getting adequate building blocks for all the processes within our body. The most important being micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, to help catalyze reactions allowing us to thrive and grow. Next, optimal phytonutrients and phytochemicals found in plants to help defend our body against disease and dysfunction. Finally, adequate fiber intake from fruits and vegetables to help with digestion, gut health, and satiation. Start working towards 10 different shades of fruits and vegetables each day and watch your performance and health take off.