You’ve heard it before, from mom, from the USDA, from your doctor— “eat more fruits and vegetables.” But most people don't seem to be listening. The average American gets just three servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and that number includes things like French fries, ketchup and onions (fast food burgers.) We can thank the director and star of the ﬁlm “Super-Size Me,” Morgan Spurlock, for reminding us that fast food never was, and never will be, healthy.
The National Academy of Sciences urges us to eat a wholesome variety of greens and fruits every day. These foods, if properly grown, selected, and delivered, are bundles of natural health filled with the wisdom of nature.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared that nutrient-dense greens such as spinach and kale and berries, particularly blueberries, may be beneficial in slowing the signs of mental and physical aging.
In addition to the USDA and the National Academy of Sciences, The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association also urge people to consume more greens and fruits in their daily diets, and many responsible voices also urge that these foods are best if certified organic and grown “naturally,” not chemically.
Recently, when the USDA increased their recommendation for daily fruit and vegetable intake to 5-13, they stressed the importance of eating not just any fruit or vegetable, but focusing on getting more cruciferous and dark leafy green vegetables along with colorful berries.
Here’s why: Whole fruits and vegetables are bountiful sources of vitamins, minerals, ﬁber and perhaps most importantly, phytochemicals. Fittingly pronounced “ﬁght-o-chemicals,” these bioactive compounds naturally occurring in plant foods and herbs work to assist the body’s detoxiﬁcation mechanisms, support the immune system, protect the body from oxidative stress, and promote a healthy inﬂammation response. Since humans evolved relying on plants for food and survival, it is of no surprise that health is intimately dependent on having an abundant supply of phytochemicals in the diet.
Today, using modern technology, scientists have been able to identify the very best sources of mother nature’s most impressive phytochemicals and are beginning to better understand their essential role in creating health.
When Popeye needed extra strength and power, he didn’t ﬁnd it in a vitamin supplement, but rather in a can of spinach. The creators of this ﬁctional character might not have known it then, but spinach, rich in blood building iron and bone building vitamin K, not only has an unmatched nutritional proﬁle, it is a wonderful source of lutein, a phytochemical that is part of the carotenoid family along with lycopene, beta-carotene and nearly 600 others. Lutein has been touted as the most important carotenoid for maintaining normal vision.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and cauliﬂower are rich in phytochemicals called indoles and isothiocyanates. A growing body of research suggests these compounds help the body eliminate toxins, support a healthy balance of estrogen important for breast and prostate health, and even maintain the health of the stomach lining. The anthocyanidins found in dark blue, red and purple berries make these fruits some of the most powerful antioxidant foods around. In fact, researchers at Tufts University found that compared to other antioxidant-rich fruits, blueberries have the highest antioxidant value (ORAC value) of all.
Another phytochemical that has scientists buzzing about its ability to promote cardiovascular and brain health, promote a healthy inﬂammation response, and support normal cell growth is resveratrol. This compound is produced by a variety of plants, including grapes, berries and peanuts, but is highest in the skin of Pinot Noir grape varieties. Interestingly, researchers have found that fermenting grapes, or turning them into wine, can increase the resveratrol content by 8 to 16,000 times! It is no surprise then that the French, who regularly consume red wine, appear to be at reduced risk for a variety of chronic ailments common throughout Western society.
QUALITY MATTERS — GO ORGANIC
Since many of the phytochemicals that are so valuable to humans are actually important defenses for plants against pests and insects, growing them conventionally with chemical pesticides reduces their need to produce high amounts of these defenses. Consequently, organically-grown fruits and vegetables have been shown to contain higher amounts of both nutrients and phytochemicals.
If that isn’t reason enough to “go organic,” consider this: what is toxic to pests is also toxic to humans. Pesticides are fat-soluble chemicals, meaning they accumulate in the body’s fat deposits, speciﬁcally in brain and breast tissue, where they are believed to disrupt hormone balance and promote cognitive disorders. A poignant reminder of just how dangerous these chemicals can be comes from a study conducted at Harvard, where researchers observed that increasing intake of conventionally-grown fruits boosted the risk of Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease. They concluded that it wasn’t the foods themselves that were responsible, but the pesticides that were sprayed on them. Choosing organic is not only essential to our health but also to the planet’s health.
REAL FOOD = REAL BENEFITS
It is important to know that just like vitamins and minerals, taking phytochemicals as isolated compounds may not provide the same beneﬁts as eating them as part of whole foods. Plants generally contain hundreds of phytochemicals that work synergistically to determine the overall eﬀect. So, simply taking a lutein or resveratrol supplement is not going to give you the same beneﬁts as eating spinach or consuming fermented grapes. The bottom line: eat more whole fruits and vegetables….and, go for variety!No one single fruit or vegetable contains all the phytochemicals your body needs.
TWO PARTS GARDEN, ONE PART ORCHARD, AND A DASH OF RAINFOREST
For those who ﬁnd this to be a diﬃcult task, there is a product called Berry Green made by New Chapter that provides 20 organically grown fruits, berries and green vegetables containing some of nature’s most exciting phytochemical superstars. Fifteen of the ingredients in Berry Green are cultured with one billion probiotic organisms in a base of organic oats, brown rice, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, a process that can signiﬁcantly increase the potency and bioavailability of nutrients and phytochemicals.
All of the ingredients in Berry Green are freeze-dried, meaning the only thing missing from them is the water. (Other preparation methods, such as juicing, can damage phytochemicals through mechanical and heat stress.) The result is not just another greens drink full of inexpensive and readily available grasses, or concentrates of pesticide-laden fruits, but an oﬀering of the ﬁnest organically-grown fruits and vegetables rich in the nutrients and phytochemicals our bodies are too often depleted of.
Berry Green by New Chapter is the ﬁrst 100% UDSA certiﬁed greens drink on the market. Each serving (one tablespoon or caps) provides the equivalent of a generous serving of organic fruits and vegetables. We could all use one (or ﬁve) more of those.
Berry Green by New Chapter Product Information
The statements contained in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this document are for information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, meant for diagnosing illness, or for prescriptive purposes. Readers are encouraged to consult their health care provider before beginning any cleanse, diet, detoxification program, or any supplement regimen. The information in this document is not to be used to replace the services or instructions of a physician or qualified health care practitioner.
Taryn Forrelli, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor and a health and research consultant for New Chapter whole food supplements company.
Christine Dreher, CCN, CCH is a Nutritionist, Herbalist, Author of “The "Cleanse Cookbook" and President & Founder of Christine's Cleanse Corner, Inc., (a nutritional company that specializes in nutritional & health education & Whole Food Vitamin Supplements. Christine is the Editor & Publisher of the free, online "Transform Your Health" Nutrition and Health E-Newsletter. She is also a Health/Nutritional Speaker & Teacher, & a Nutritional, Diet & Internal Cleanse Consultant, and a Live Beyond Organic Mission Marketer.
Christine is also the Official Self Growth Guide for Dietary Supplements. For more information about New Chapter, Garden of Life or Vitamin Code and other Whole Food Vitamin supplements and herbs, visit Christine on the web at: www.TransformYourHealth.com or call Christine's office at 858-673-0224.