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Super Foods for Building Healthy Bodies

Super Foods for Building Healthy Bodies

Okay so you want a healthier body and know that you are supposed to eat enough fruits and vegetables every day. You may even know that building healthy bodies requires a minimum of 5 servings of each a day. You may also be very much aware that you are not getting enough. You keep meaning to but, you never really seem to get to a place where you’re eating enough variety of fruits and vegetables. If you’re eating them at all they often come from the frozen food section or a can. If they do come from the produce department how long were they sitting there before they then sit in your crisper for another few days? Then once cooked (more often than not, over-cooked), then consumed. Well you have to wonder, were there any nutrients left at all - there is a good chance not too many.

So what can you do that will help you get on track to a better healthier you? What foods can you eat that will help you obtain or maintain a healthier diet? Not just a healthy diet but one that is full of those super foods that everyone is talking about; the super foods that contain those antioxidants and phytonutrients so much in the new these days. Of course you may be asking yourself why antioxidants and phytonutrients are important in the first place.

What are phytonutrients?

Well - let’s tell you what they are: "phyto" means plant so phytonutrients means coming from plants; the more color the better. Therefore, fruits and vegetables that have lots of color have more phytonutrients. We have always known that eating more fruits and vegetables is essential to become a healthier person. It was assumed that was because they were rich in vitamins and minerals but, that is only part of the story. It turns out that there are hundreds maybe even thousands of other substances that are important for us in these fruits and vegetables necessary for building healthy bodies.

Many of the phytonutrients found in plants help the plant fight against disease. Well, they also do similar things for our bodies that they do for the plants. They help shield our bodies from the environment which in turn prevents diseases. They repair damage at the cellular level which helps to build our immune systems. They act as antioxidants for us.

So What Is An Antioxidant Anyway?

Our cells keep our bodies going using chemical reactions. Some of the reactions that happen with oxygen cause unstable byproducts which are known as free radicals. When this happens in excess and when interacting with other molecules in the cell, the cell and the DNA can cause damage. What the antioxidants do is counteract these free radicals and then protect the cells from damage. So when we eat foods high in antioxidants we can help our bodies prevent diseases such as cancer (which is known to happen partly from damaged cell DNA). Antioxidants are also a major player in preventing heart disease.

The interesting part is that the bright colors in fruits and vegetables come from the phytochemicals themselves. It is important that you understand that each food contains many phytonutrients which can take care of different oxidation reactions in the cells; each having a slightly different reaction and effect in our bodies. This is why a variety is very important since there are so many that work in concert with each other. They are finding out that taking our vitamins and minerals in pill form really does not work. They need each other in the whole food form to work that perfect concert. Individually they do not appear to work as well. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables high in phytonutrients seems to be the only way to ensure that we receive their protective benefits.
Some of the foods that are highest in antioxidants are: tea, berries, plums, oranges, grapes, cherries, kiwi, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, broccoli, beets, and tomatoes. There are many more but these are a great place to start. You can also place them in color families, purple family, red family, green family, orange family and yellow.

So how many servings is enough. Well they believe we need from 5 - 9 servings a day and there is evidence that more is better. Also remember that although the U.S. Recommendations does include potatoes in this. The World Health Organization and many other countries do not and place potatoes in other categories. This is to not take away the value in color servings from the fruits and vegetables.

Getting started today towards eating these super foods for building healthier bodies is something you need to consider doing. Life does not stand still and every day lost is a day less in the longevity most are striving for. So do not hesitate and start that super food diet today.

By: Cindy Slick

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