So far this year we have purified our bodies, cut down on sugar, started an exercise program, and reduced processed foods in the diet. Now it’s time to make sure we are eating plenty of fresh produce.
How many servings of vegetables are you eating each day? If you answered 3 or more, then you are in the minority. Only 26 percent of U.S. adults are getting their recommended servings of vegetables – that means that 74% of us are not receiving the health benefits associated with fresh fruits and vegetables. No wonder we are having so many health problems in the United States.
Why Do We Need to Eat Vegetables?
Vegetables contain many antioxidants and other disease fighting compounds, and you can’t acquire these chemicals in any other foods. Plant chemicals, called phytochemicals, are instrumental in reducing inflammation, eliminating carcinogens, cell reproduction, and healthy DNA.
Many studies have shown that high intakes of vegetables and fruits help to:
• Lower risks of strokes, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
• Lower risks of certain types of cancer, eye disease and digestive problems
• Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss
• Higher scores on cognitive tests
• Higher antioxidant levels
• Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress
What Are the Best Types of Vegetables to Eat?
All vegetables are good but some are better than others. Fresh, organic vegetables have the highest nutrient content with no harmful pesticides. If you cannot get organic vegetables, be sure to wash them thoroughly to minimize your exposure to pesticides. Vegetables begin to lose nutrient value shortly after harvesting, so if you must choose between canned or frozen vegetables, choose frozen.
The color of vegetables is determined by their nutrient content, so it is important to eat a wide variety of colors. It is also important to eat about half of your vegetables raw and the other half lightly steamed, roasted or sautéed. The more you cook your vegetables, the more nutrients are lost. Overall, raw vegetables are cleansing and cooked vegetables are nourishing.
What About Fruits?
Fruits contain a type of sugar called fructose, which can be detrimental to your health. Whole fruits have vitamins and antioxidants that can offset the harmful effects of the fructose for most healthy people. However, if you are insulin resistant, as with diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, or cancer, you should greatly restrict your intake of fruit. Berries tend to have the lowest fructose content and are less harmful than other fruits such as oranges and bananas. You can find fructose contents of most fruits on the internet, or ask us for a list the next time you are in the office.
Most of us have known since we were toddlers that vegetables are nutritious, so we are devoting the remainder of the newsletter to recipes…….hooray!
Recipes of the Month
2 tsp. olive oil 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped 3 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium zucchini, diced ½ head small green cabbage
2-3 carrots, sliced ¾ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbs. dried dill weed 1 container organic vegetable broth
1 container organic beef or chicken broth 1 28-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
5 leaves lacinato kale, cut and large end of stem removed
Directions: In a large pot over medium high heat, sauté garlic, onions, and celery in oil. Once onions are translucent, add zucchini, carrots, and cabbage. Stir and heat for another 3-5 minutes. Add containers of broth, tomatoes, parsley, and dill weed. Season according to
taste with pepper. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. Approximately 5 minutes before serving, add the lacinato kale. 45 minutes preparation time. Makes 8 servings.
Spinach Stir Fry
2 cups chopped fresh spinach 1½ cups chopped Portobello mushrooms
¼ cup chopped fresh basil ½ chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 Tbs. Bragg’s amino acid or soy sauce
2 Tbs. butter Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: In a large frying pan, place the butter and the onions, cook on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes and add remaining ingredients. Cook 5-10 minutes more. Serve with rice. 30 minutes preparation time. Make 4 servings.
1 head cauliflower 3 ounces rice or almond milk
¼ tsp. white pepper ½ tsp. kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced Paprika to taste
Directions: Preheat over to 350 degrees. Cut cauliflower into florets or even size. Drop into boiling salted water and cook for about 15 minutes. Put rice milk in blender, add cooked cauliflower and garlic and blend until creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into one quart greased casserole dish. Top with a light sprinkle of paprika and bake for about 20 minutes or
until bubbly and hot. 35 minutes preparation time. Makes 6 servings.
1 bunch beets
1 inch Water
Directions: Wash beets thoroughly and cut the leaves off, leaving about 2 to 3 inches of the stems. Leave the root on to avoid excess loss of nutrients. Place beets in a steamer and fill water just to where it touches the beets. Steam for approximately 20 minutes for a medium to small beet. More time is required for larger beets. Test with fork for tenderness. Raw beets
can be grated on a salad; they are very sweet. Use the beet leaves as salad greens.
25 minutes preparation time. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
**We wish you success with your fifth Health Step for 2014. If you have any questions, please call our office. Better yet, make an appointment for your personalized nutritional analysis and be confident you are doing the right things to attain optimal health this year.
Call for your appointment today.