There is little that compares to the nutritional value of organic vegetables and, according to new research, eating your greens may be even more important than previously thought. As adults we should eat three or more servings of vegetables a day because consuming fresh vegetables is a key cornerstone to optimal health. Canada's Food Guide says – eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day such as broccoli, kale, romaine lettuce and spinach and carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
The Importance of Eating Your Veggies
Researchers at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's Molecular Immunology division have discovered that a gene, called T-bet, which is essential for producing critical immune cells in your gut, responds to the food you eat – specifically leafy green vegetables. This gene is also believed to play an important role in controlling food allergies, inflammatory diseases and obesity.
Veggies Are Disease Fighters
Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else. Plant chemicals called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have lower risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease. In addition they have reduced risks of eye diseases, digestive problems, kidney stones and bone loss.
Sunshine In A Leaf
If you eat some of your veggies raw, you'll also be receiving biophotons, the smallest physical units of light, which are stored in, and used by all biological organisms including your body. Sun energy finds its way into your cells via the food you eat, in the form of these biophotons. Biophotons have the power to order and regulate your physical body. Generally, the more sunlight a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is. Naturally grown fresh vegetables, raw sprouts, and sun-ripened fruits are rich in light energy. Ideally, look for fresh, non-GMO produce that is organically grown on a local farm in your area. Choose the vegetables that appear freshest first, and consume them raw shortly after purchase for optimal benefits.
Non-Organic Is Better Than None
If you can't obtain organic vegetables just take extra care with non-organic vegetables by washing them thoroughly and removing peels and cores when possible to minimize your exposure to pesticides. Certain fruits and vegetables also tend to be far more contaminated than others simply because they're more susceptible to various infestations and therefore sprayed more heavily. Some foods are also more absorbent with thin, tender skins. Such foods would be high on your list for buying organic. The Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org produces an annual shopper's guide to pesticides in produce that you can download. It lists the produce with the highest and lowest levels of pesticide residue, which can help save money if you can't afford to buy everything organic. Because of high levels of pesticides they suggest buying organic apples, celery, red pepper, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines that are imported, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, potatoes, green beans and kale. EWG's clean list of vegetables with low levels of pesticides includes:
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
Ways to Increase Your Veggie Intake
The easiest and most efficient way to optimize your vegetable intake is to juice your vegetables. Not only will juicing help your body absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables by making them easily digestible but you're also avoiding the risk of damaging any of their sensitive micronutrients through cooking. Another benefit of juicing is that it allows you to add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet that you might not normally enjoy eating whole. This way, you're working with the principle of regular food rotation. A delicious juice to make is carrot, apple, ginger and lemon. But if juicing is just not your thing then try having a salad as the centerpiece of your lunch and dinner each day. There are many pre-washed salad greens available that make creating a meal even easier than going out for fast food. Add a poached chicken breast or piece of fish to a salad and you have a complete meal. Try a homemade salad dressing too – fill a small jar half way with olive oil, add a dollop of Dijon mustard and a drizzle of honey then fill the jar with apple cider vinegar. Put on the lid, shake and you have instant, delicious and good-for-you salad dressing.
Whatever method you choose be it juiced, whole or cooked make it a point to eat your veggies every day. Mounting evidence shows that eating vegetables every day is a foundation of good health. A daily diet filled with colourful, fresh, organic vegetables can help maintain your health.