Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables. It is almost impossible to get too much of these foods in your diet. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, as well as high in complex carbohydrates. And fruits and vegetables are an important source of fiber, as well. Even the much-maligned potato, eaten baked with the skin on, is full of vitamins C and B6, potassium, and nearly 5 grams of fiber!
When eaten raw, the enzymes that most vegetables and fruits contain help the body process foods better. Enzymes are an essential part of our diet, and if it is not found in food, the body must draw from its store of energy to produce enzymes for digestion, instead of other important jobs, such as fighting disease.
Phytochemicals are nutritional substances that recently have been in the news frequently. These are naturally occurring chemicals in plants that are thought to possess disease-fighting properties and play a potentially important role in fighting cancer and heart disease. Recent research demonstrates that they stimulate enzymes that breakdown carcinogens into harmless substances, and appear to be particularly protective against stomach and intestinal cancers.
Most whole foods contain phytochemicals, including whole grains, beans, and herbs. Garlic and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are some of the richest sources of phytonutrients, as well as fruits like blueberries, cherries, and apples.
If you have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), go easy on the raw cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, and rutabagas.) They are believed by some to help depress the thyroid function when eaten raw. But don’t avoid these important vegetables, just be sure to cook them. On the other hand, if you are suffering from hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid), you should eat plenty of raw cruciferous vegetables.
Many studies have shown that increasing your vegetable and fruit intake may dramatically reduce or even prevent other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. Some scientists are now recommending up to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables.
To get the most from your diet, try to eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Choose leafy greens often, lots of berries, and try to eat as many colors as you can, since every color of fruit or vegetable will give you different benefits.
The Japanese have a tradition of choosing foods with five different colors and flavors for their meals. The five colors they include are yellow, black, white, green, and red. The five flavors included are sweet, spicy, salty, bitter, and sour. Take an example from the Japanese and think variety. Be daring– try out new foods and food combinations.