The Healing Powers of Fruits & Vegetables


By Dr. Ann Kulze, M.D.

Recent health and nutrition studies are showing that plant foods, especially fruits and veggies, are better for us than we ever imagined

Plants produce these substances to protect themselves against a host of environmental threats—from damaging ultraviolet radiation to plant-eating parasites. 

Fortunately, it turns out that these same plant-protective substances are just as good for humans. 

Several thousand Phytochemicals have been identified thus far, and they perform truly spectacular feats in our bodies with the greatest of ease. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry can only dream of producing drugs capable of performing as effectively in our systems as phytochemicals do protect our bodies against disease in a myriad of ways, but they are most valuable for their antioxidant, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and immune boosting powers

Moreover, because fruits and vegetables boast the highest concentration of phytochemicals, they are the ideal food group for a leaner look and better health overall.  

Antioxidants are scavengers of rogue molecules called free radicals, whichrun around in our bodies initiating a cascade of damaging oxidation. Free radicals are by-products of the body's normal metabolic processes, although they can also enter our bodies from environmental sources like tobacco smoke, chemicals, smog, prescription drugs, ultraviolet radiation, and even the foods we eat. 

Unfortunately, the oxidation induced by free radicals damages vital cellular structures and ultimately contributes to the development of cancer, heart disease, cataracts, arthritis, skin wrinkling, and even the aging process itself. Because cancer can result from a deficiency of antioxidants, and lycopene is such a powerful antioxidant, it is not surprising that studies from around the word have revealed general cancer protection from diets rich in tomatoes.

If you don’t like raw tomatoes, that’s alright; you can flood your system with lycopene even more effectively by eating tomato products such as salsa and marinara sauce.  

Blueberries owe their deep, blue color to a class of phytochemicals called anthocyanins. Like lycopene, anthocyanins have potent antioxidant power, but they are also true workhorses when it comes to fighting inflammation. Science is now telling us that excessive inflammation plays a major role in the development of a broad range of diseases, including heart attacks, some cancers, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disease, and allergic conditions.

Think of it this way: eating fruits and vegetables, along with the other delicious plant foods, namely whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, is akin to adding a turbo to a car.

Nature’s storehouse is filled with delicious fruits and vegetables of almost every color and texture.  From the deep blue-purple of blueberries and blackberries, to the bright orange-yellow of tangerines and bell peppers, the more colorful the food, the more packed with nutrients it is.  Remember, color means health: the deeper and richer the color, the more phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals present in the food.


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