Most people know that they should eat more fruits and vegetables, but very few people really understand just quite how important this really is. Very few people recognize the scope of what fruits and vegetables can do for them. The best way to think about fruits and vegetables is like a power-up in a computer game. They contain so many amazing and beneficial nutrients, that they can literally make you faster, stronger, smarter, and more resilient to harm.
Fruits and vegetables contain a large number of different essential nutrients. These are so-called because they are essential to our health and wellbeing but cannot be synthesized (produced) inside the human body. In other words, they MUST be obtained through diet.
To demonstrate just how critical these functions are, here are just a few examples…
Examples of Critical Functions Made Possible by Fruits and Vegetables
You ARE what you eat. Your body is made from the nutrients found in your food, recycled and reconstituted.
Your blood is made from iron (among other things), which is found in broccoli. Your muscle and tissue are made from amino acids. Digestive enzymes are made from the likes of bromelain (found in pineapple). Brain chemicals are made from substances like tryptophan and melatonin (found in turkey and cherries respectively).If you only eat highly processed foods, or if you eat a diet that lacks variety, then you will fail to get these ingredients. And then what happens? Simple: your body has to start cannibalizing itself, using inferior ingredients, or even skipping important jobs entirely.
What’s more, is that we use these nutrients in a wide range of important processes. For instance, we use antioxidants (found in a lot of fruits) in order to protect against the formation of cancerous cells. We use ATP (found in most foods) in order to produce energy. And we use tryptophan to help encourage sleep. Vitamin C and vitamin D help to strengthen the immune system significantly and fend off diseases. When you stop getting these ingredients then, you don’t just stop repairing yourself… you also start to lose important functions which can lead to increased stress, slow healing, poor memory and focus, and even a much higher chance of becoming ill.
You On Fruits and Vegetables vs You Without Them
That all sounds good and well, but perhaps you’re wondering what the difference really is between someone who eats lots of fruits and vegetables and someone who doesn’t. What noticeable impact will this simple change have on your life? Here are just SOME of the crazy differences you might notice…
Better Skin, Teeth, Hair, and Nails
When you consume lots of fruits and vegetables, you will enjoy a variety of micronutrients as we have seen. The body then reconstitutes these in order to make every part of us, including our hair, teeth, skin, nails, and more! Minerals such as calcium and magnesium play a particularly big role in building strong bones and therefore teeth and nails. Likewise, substances like collagen can help to give us more youthful looking skin. Omega 3 can help to prevent damage to the skin by free radicals, as can life-extension super ingredients such as resveratrol (found in grapes). Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables gives you that amazing “glow.”
Better Immune System, Less Illness
Another amazing reason to start eating more fruits and vegetables right now, is that it will help you to stop being ill regularly. If you’re someone who gets a lot of colds, then eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can change all that for you. Your immune system thrives when you get more vitamin C, D, and more.
Not only that, but the nutrients found in many fruits and vegetables have also been shown to be highly effective at combating a range of specific conditions, ranging from Alzheimer’s, to cancer, to diabetes.
I mentioned that fruits and vegetables could help you to look more youthful. As it happens, they can also help you to live longer. They do this by preventing illness as mentioned above, but also by helping you to combat free radicals and thereby protect your cells. The result is less damage to your DNA, and a much lower chance of mutations leading to tumors and cancer.
I used to work with someone who was absolutely full of energy. This person would seemingly bound out of bed, looking amazing, and would always attack work with amazing vigor, focus, and creativity.
They were kind of annoying. But at the same time, they got stuff done – and we all wished we could feel like them. Their secret? It turned out to be a morning smoothie. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
One of the most noticeable benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables is that you’ll enjoy a better mood. This is thanks to the fact that you will feel better and sleep better, but ALSO because you’ll have the raw materials used to create “happiness hormones” like serotonin.
If you’re someone who feels constantly stressed and anxious, or who is often low, then you might find that increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet can change all of that almost overnight.
If you find yourself likewise struggling to focus, or thinking through a haze of brain fog, then again… fruits and vegetables can often help. You’ll find that getting more nutrients in your diet helps to boost focus, creativity, memory, and much more. It’s a natural “nootropic” that can help you to outperform others in the office and boardroom.
As you can see then, the benefits that can come from fruits and vegetables are gigantic. This is something that can genuinely change your life for the better… so make sure you’re getting them in your diet!
A Simple Recipe With Tons of Fruits and Vegetables
Getting lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet doesn’t have to be difficult. This is all about changing the way that you cook, so that you can easily add lots of nutritious ingredients into a single pot, stir, and then dish up!
One of the best examples is bolognaise, which gives you free license to toss in all kinds of nutritious fruits and vegetables. Here’s a quick recipe to leave you with, that will provide just one example of how you can easily, massively up your nutrient intake.
First, boil the kettle and get your pasta bubbling. If you have an electric hob then you should turn this on to start it heating up even before you’re pan is on it. It will save you time re-boiling the water.
If you’re concerned about adding large amounts of carbs to your bowl, then you can use brown pasta which makes the carbs more complex and thus slower to release sugar.
Now take your second pan with a little oil and start heating that up while you chop up one whole onion. Throw that on and immediately afterwards add your mince – choose lean mince if you want to make this healthier, or even turkey mince. Now let the mince brown slightly and break it up with your wooden spoon to speed the whole process along. You can add chopped garlic at this point – or to save time, opt for garlic flakes or even garlic puree.
You already have two portions of veg at this point and the garlic is particularly beneficial for a range of reasons: it is a vasodilator (meaning it sends more blood to the brain and muscles), it is antibiotic and it is great for digestion.
Onion likewise has many of the same benefits.
You can turn up the hob to the highest setting or at least near to the highest setting and this will help the cooking to come along much faster.
Now put in a tin of chopped tomatoes over your mince. You can do this after less than five minutes – your mince will already be brown and it will cook faster when it’s in some sauce. On top of this add in a good two thirds of a tube of tomato puree and you’ll give it a great tomato-y kick. Optionally you can also add some passata if you want a sloppy spag’.
Tomato is a particularly great source of antioxidants and a range of vitamins. For added credit, you can also grate over the top one to two carrots to add even more goodness. Grating carrot won’t change the taste or texture much, it means you can leave on the skin for added goodness, and once again… it’s super quick!
Next up comes the seasoning. Just add two stock cubes (or a few gravy granules), some salt and pepper, and a liberal dosage of Maggi (or a slightly less liberal dosage of brown sauce – try it before you judge!). You probably have your own things that you add, so I’ll leave that to you. I recommend adding a little oregano however and some larger pepper corns.
And if you want even more benefits, then why not add some mushrooms into the mix too? Grab the pre-chopped kind for speed and put them on at this point toward the end: it will shrink down quickly. Better yet, keep a bag of frozen mushrooms in your freezer. You’ll benefit from the protein content, the vitamin D, and much more.
Likewise, you could grate in some carrots. This is an easy way to add more vegetables again – and it will provide a ton of vitamin A, lutein, and more – boosting vision, brain function, skin, and more.
Other options include sweetcorn, beans, red peppers, leeks, and more. ALL these have amazing properties and are extremely easy to throw in.
Now all you need to do is to wait and then add the mince mixture to the pasta. Make sure that the pasta is soft enough and that there’s no red inside the mince (there shouldn’t be – it’s tiny after all) and then mix it together. Of course, you’ll want to add some cheese to your bolognaise either before or after you dish up, but again you can save time here by simply buying some pre-grated cheese. If you can get pre-grated parmesan in a tub it will be surprisingly cheap and it’ll last you for ages.
And there you have it – super fast bolognaise. If you don’t wait ages to brown the mince first, if you turn it up high and if you use ready flakes and grated products then it really needn’t take any more than fifteen minutes.
And while you might not think of foods with mince as being ‘healthy’, the truth is that lean mince isn’t all that bad at all: it’s packed with protein and nutrients and is only a little fatty. This is the kind of home-cooked, wholesome food that builds great health and it’s certainly much better than eating lots of ready-meals!
It really is that easy to start enjoying the incredible benefits of more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
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