Everyone knows they "should" eat more vegetables, but few of us have really studied the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrient content of individual vegetables, let along the cancer blocking, digestive healing, mood balancing, or cardio supporting properties of these magical plants. Your life will improve if you start eating more vegetables, so we thought we'd share a quick primer on how and why to do it.
I love the way that Dr. Terry Wahls, creator of the scientifically validated, Wahls Protocol, deals with vegetables. Dr. Wahls created this dietary strategy (with 3 different levels depending on need and experience) originally in an attempt to heal from her own severe Muscular Sclerosis. She recommends eating 2-3 cups of vegetables from each of the 3 categories discussed below - every day. That's 6-9 cups of vegetables a day! Buy her book here.
I also love Dr. Sarah Ballantyne's discussion of veggies in her 2018 book, Paleo Principles: The Science Behind the Paleo Template, which dives into the science behind the micronutrients in vegetables. The book is a great resource for the science of how to meet the body's nutrient needs using food.
Leafy greens provide B vitamins, especially B9, important in providing the building blocks for a healthy nervous system and myelin sheath. They also provide alpha and beta carotene, the precursors to Vitamin A, needed for eye health, especially for healthy retinas. Alpha and beta carotene also help strengthen bones, provide elasticity to skin, and maintain a healthy immune system.
Leafy greens provide vitamin C, a potent anti-oxidant, essential for healthy skin and gums, a healthy immune system, and lowers the risk of cancer. Vitamin Kis also found in greens and helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure, hardening or calcification of the arteries and blood vessels, and is important for brain health.
Arugula, Beet greens, Bok choy, Chard, Collard greens, Dandelion greens, Kale, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Parsley, Spinach.
Sulfur-rich vegetables nourish cells and mitochondria, help the body eliminate toxins, help synthesize protein and collagen which makes up all connective tissues, helps alleviate arthritis, and helps build healthy skin, hair and nails. They also help build healthy endothelial cells that line blood vessels.Cabbage family helps reduce oxidative stress, supports the detox pathways, and promote production of glutathione.
Cabbage, Collards, Broccoli, Kale, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Turnips, Rutabaga, Radishes, Onions, Garlic, Chives, Shallots, Leeks, and Mushrooms
Choose fruits and vegetables that are brightly colored and colorful all the way through. An apple or banana is white on the inside so it doesn't count. Try for 3 different colors each day. Colorful fruits and veggies are full of antioxidants which counteract the effects free radicals.
Asparagus, Artichokes, Avocados, Green beans, Peas, Celery, Kiwi, Limes, Melons, Okra, Olives, Peppers, Zucchini, Beets, Oranges, Red cabbage, Cherries, Grapefruit, Grapes, Pomegranate Raspberries, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Blackberries, Dates, Eggplant, Figs, Plums, Apricots, Lemons, Mango, Papaya, Peaches, Pumpkin, Yams.
Why not check out our mini-course and support yourself to create a diet that makes your life a "whole" lot easier!