The Benefits of Plant-Based Eating
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The Benefits ofPlant-Based EatingMary Eisenberg
Eating VeganRecently, research has found that a diet high in plant-based food is the bodys best defense against health-related problems. Cancer fighters, antioxidants, and phytochemicals are present in vegan-friendly foods, and help fight heart attack, stroke, and cancer. They can also improve health and build immunity!
AntioxidantsWhile antioxidant-rich eating has become increasingly popular, it is certainly much more than just a diet fad. Antioxidants help improve help by fighting free radicals (charged oxygen molecules that our bodies create and are exposed to through pollution, gasoline emissions, cigarette smoke, etc.) If these free radicals overtake the antioxidants in the body, one will be more likely to struggle with cancer and other diseases.
PhytonutrientsPhytonutrients (phytochemicals) refers to the nutrients derived from plant materials that can support the human body. Plants produce phytonutrients as a protective measure against disease, injury, insects, drought, heat, UV rays, and pollutants in the atmosphere, therefore acting as the plants immune system.We can reap these benefits! Phytos can also protect the human body, fight diseases such as cancer, boost immunity, and help maintain a healthy heart. Just like they act as a plants immune system, they act as antioxidants in our bodies!
Phytonutrients (continued)Each class of phytonutrients affects cellular health in different ways, so it is best to consume a wide variety of them. -Some may keep carcinogens at bay by binding to them, thus inhibiting their spread.-Others can grab onto free radicals before they can run rampant in the body (aka antioxidants!)-And some phytonutrients stimulate the bodys own, pre-existing enzymes, in order to break up potential carcinogenic chemicals
Phytonutrients Part 3!Some of the most well known phytonutrients include, but are certainly not limited to; carotenoids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, isoflavones, and polyphenois
What Should You Eat?Highly colored fruits and vegetables are your best bet; the lycopene in tomato and grapefruit, anthocyanins in berries, isoflavones in legumes, carotenoids in carrots, and flavonoids in chocolate.
Top 10 Phyto-Dense FoodsSoy, tomatoes, broccoli, garlic, flax seeds, citrus fruits, melons, blueberries, sweet potatoes, & chili peppers.
SoyContains genestein, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, as well as phytoestrogen, which may reduce the risk and spread of prostate cancer.Isoflavones- decrease risk of developing breast cancer.
TomatoesGet their fiery color from lycopene, a carotenoid that may reduce or suppress the growth of cancersLycopene also strengthens eyesight, boosts immunity to disease, and protects against the effects of aging.
BroccoliThis vegetable is loaded with phytonutrients that function as antioxidants, thwarting free radicals from infiltrating our DNA and cell membranes. Also triggers the production of enzymes that can detoxify and clean free radical residues, toxins, and other carcinogens.
GarlicGarlic doesnt only keep the vampires away: its phytonutrients have antibacterial and antifungal properties! An especially rich source of phytonutrients known as organosulfur compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties, display antioxidant activities, and may lower cholesterol levels.
Flax SeedsBest source of phytonutrient lignans which can balance female hormones, promote fertility, lessen peri-menopausal symptoms, and prevent the onset of breast cancerLignans in the diet also help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Citrus FruitsPhytonutrients in citrus which include alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, and tannins have antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.
MelonsEach variety of melon has a different phyto-profile, but theyre all good for you!Watermelon has a high lycopene content that fights skin aging.Honeydew is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoid phytonutrients vital to protecting vision and optimizing cardiovascular health
BlueberriesBlueberries are full of anthocyanins (a phytonutrient that makes it blue) and ellagic acid.The combination of phytos reduce inflammation and protect against cancer. Recent studies show positive effects in eyes, arteries, and brains.
Sweet PotatoesContain carotenes that help smooth and improve communication between cells.
These carotenes also undertake many of the same functions as antioxidants.
Chili PeppersThe capsaicin in chili peppers is responsible for their heat, and can boost metabolism, stimulate the release of endorphins, interfere with the growth of cancer cells and prevent blood clotting.
Chilis are also high in vitamin-C, another well-known antioxidant.