Your five-a-day and your Health.
It’s all very simple, yet we are all (mostly) guilty of living a provincial existence. At least to some extent, where true nutrition was concerned, I definitely was. Until, something like Fibro knocks you on your ass (as it did me) and gives you a massive wake up call and smack in the face; to sort that shit out!!
So then, lets look past getting your five a day; how many of us actually do, regularly, honestly? I don’t mean lets eat twenty a day, I’m sure none of our waistlines would truly thank us for that. But lets look at how we can all include more nutrients in our diet. Even for those run-around people, this is valuable information. It’s not just the chronically sick that can benefit from a wide range of fruits and vegetables in our diets!
The importance of your five-a-day for minimizing disease risk:
Let’s just clear something up before we start; juicing is NOT ‘healthier’ than eating whole fruits and vegetables. For one, we are losing the healthy dietary fibre. When we make juice, we are obviously extracting the liquid, which does however, contain all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients or plant chemicals (I will be covering these more in depth later on) but leaves behind the pulp, the part that contains the fibre. Having said that, juicing does make these nutrients easily absorbable, not to say that we don’t need dietary fibre. It’s important to realise that for the majority of us, our digestive systems have become impaired from a lifetime of making less than optimal food choices. Whether it’s purely dietary related or whether you have a chronic illness, or even stress, which further impairs your body’s ability to digest (read more about digestive issues in the post Fibromyalgia and your Microbiome & Chronic illness tip; cut out the caffeine) it’s worth noting that juicing your veggies, essentially “pre-digests” it for you, giving you a better chance of absorbing more of the goodness. Think of it in terms of having an intravenous health boost.
There is so much that you can do with the pulp left over from juicing. I’ve used it in my smoothies, to make freezable dog treats for the dudes and you can also use it in a variety of baking recipes. It doesn’t just have to go to waste!
Now then, lets further clear something up; yes, we need dietary fibre, BUT it’s worth remembering, some vitamins and minerals are damaged by cooking, so eating them raw, is in fact, better for you so far as nutrient intake. So, despite the fact that you’re not technically gaining anything by juicing your veggies rather than eating them raw, how often would you potentially eat your five portions a day, let alone eat them raw? Most of us, only consume 3 of our 5 a day recommended intake of fruits and veggies, with 1 in 5 of us barely eating any at all. When you look at it like that, juicing is a great way to start to introduce more of the good stuff into your diet, especially if you’re regularly having smoothies and other veggies in your diet to make up for the fibre deficit in your juices! So technically, provided you have more of an emphasis on vegetable juices, green juices’ as is the rule of thumb, then you’re on the right track, as your consuming them raw, in terms of vitamins and minerals. Plus, lets not forget that you can only physically consume so much in a day; no one would actually consume 8 carrots and 4 parsnips before breakfast!! But juicing makes that possible!
So what can you gain from juicing…
- Increased water intake. Simple but essential. Fruits and vegetables have high water content, and by juicing them you’re not only increasing your water intake through something yummy, but it has the added bonus of vitamins and minerals.
- Vitamins and minerals minus the fibre, can be absorbed in the most efficient manner and in quantities you’d struggle to consume whole.
- It becomes so easy to add a wider variety of plants to your diet.
- Promotes weight loss.
- Increases energy and boosts your immune system. Feeding your body an abundance of nutrients, and keeping your pH balanced, makes you feel energised. Because juicing enables these nutrients to be utilised by your body immediately, it’s like having a caffeine kick in a morning! Raw juice also contains biophotonic light energy which can help revitalise your body!
- Supports brain health. There is a lot of research citing the connections between gut health and brain health. One research study claims that drinking raw fruit and vegetable juices three times per week, reduces your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 76%.
Right then let’s talk a bit more about these lovely nutrients. As I’ve said, your getting an array of vitamins and minerals from your plant based foods. What you’re also getting is phytochemicals. This is something that is still being widely researched, but we are aware of at least 4000 phytochemicals that occur naturally solely in plants. When I say plants, I’m not just referring to salad; it includes all whole foods, everything from fruits, veggies, grains and beans. We need to educate ourselves on these phytochemicals and what benefits they have for us, they need to be as well known as the most common vitamins; as the benefits we already know about, can have an astounding effect on our health. The research into these phytochemicals is suggesting that they work synergistically with vitamins, minerals and fibre in these whole foods, to promote good health and lower disease risk. Nature is friggin awesome!!
Of what we know so far, phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, protecting and regenerating essential nutrients and potentially working to deactivate cancer-causing substances. If you’ve read The China Study, or watched any of the many health documentaries on Netflix, this won’t be new information to you and the research behind this is astounding!!
When you think of antioxidants, we know that they protect our bodies against the damaging effects of free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules in our bodies that attack healthy cells and transform DNA. Then when you consider that the mutation of our DNA in our cells, can lead to the development of cancer, under the right conditions; increasing our intake of whole foods with antioxidants, is a no brainer. This topic is covered in so much detail in the aforementioned amazing book called The China Study, I fully recommend reading this book as it will truly open your eyes about how everything we eat becomes part of us, the good and the bad!
From there, it nicely leads us onto metabolic regulators and hormone modifiers, which do wonders for our health. As the name suggests quite clearly, these phytoprotectants regulate our metabolism and the latter, works to keep our hormone levels nicely balanced. The reason this leads on nicely from the cancer protecting properties of antioxidants, is because, some cancers’ known causation is an imbalance of hormones in the body. As for metabolism regulation, the benefits of that are clear, we all want a healthy stable metabolism!!
When you really think about it in terms of us, with our heavily medicated delicate, painful bodies, how likely is it that these pharmaceuticals are taking control of such things; our metabolism, our hormones, in such an unnatural way. They upset the very clever balance, of how our vessels should be naturally supported by the whole foods our beautiful planet has to offer. Nothing does a better job, than nature.
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive vitamin pills CANNOT provide the same health benefits as the real thing. The nutritional diversity of whole foods provided by our earth, is far from being understood, so it stands to reason that even the most “complete” supplements fall short of matching the sheer complexity of fresh fruit and vegetables in terms of disease protection.
I mean seriously, if we don’t know all of the phytochemicals offered in these plant-based foods, how on earth can we begin to replicate that in a supplement pill?? Let’s stop embarrassing ourselves by trying to “out do” nature, the notion is down right preposterous once you get into it!!!
I know I’ve been talking about this in a rather general way, but consider this; if there’s research to suggest that plant-based eating can essentially ‘turn off’ the progression of cancer, why wouldn’t it have a massive benefit for us, for what we’re dealing with now?! My knowledge on nutrition is limited, granted, but just knowing and putting to use these small little things all adds up. Adding turmeric root to a juice for an anti-inflammatory effect; using bile movers such as beetroot to ensure your bile ducts don’t become congested, as this can also cause pain in the body. All these little things add up. Like I’ve said before, it’s just a jigsaw puzzle. These are just little pieces that will one day make up the whole.
For all the things we do to try to combat our daily struggles, this is for sure, the easiest and most enjoyable change you can implement today. No waiting for your pain to become that much more bearable so you can take that gym class, or waiting for the fog to clear so you can crack the first chapter of your epic novel. No waiting required. And it helps, it truly does. So your pain won’t go away in a day and you won’t wake up a stone lighter, but you’re loving and nourishing your suffering body. Your body doesn’t want to struggle, as much as your mind tries to tell you you’re against each other, its bull.
Something I’ve learnt along the way, which to be fair, took a very long time to truly sink in and take on board is; our actions MUST be in line with our beliefs. That goes for your hopes, your dreams, everything. You must bring yourself in line with all the things you want for your future. Want to be better? Healthier? Not in pain? A normal life? An energetic boundless adventure of a life? Start living that way now. No matter what it is that you want, you have to accept that to get there, your actions need to reflect your dreams. You wouldn’t wish for a toned slim body and eat burgers and fries everyday, would you? This is no different. You want your body to heal, to do what it is capable of, so treat it that way.
Your body is created to do miraculous things, feed her so she can!