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The Power of Phytonutrients
By Susan Howard - 04/14/2014

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Prevention is possible

Research has confirmed that a diet consisting primarily of plant foods is essential to good health. The USDA and National Institutes of Health have stated that more than 10 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day are necessary for optimal health. This is double the amount previously recommended. A review by the World Cancer Research Fund concluded in 1997 that “diets containing substantial and varied amounts of fruits and vegetables could prevent 20 percent or more of all cases of cancer.”

The average spud has lost 100% of its vitamin A (important for good eyesight), 57% of its vitamin C & iron (a key component of healthy blood), and 28% of its calcium (essential for building healthy bones and teeth).[1]

Food is our Medicine

Americans eat an average of less than 2 servings of fruits and vegetables a day with very little variety. Essential vitamins and minerals have dramatically declined in some of our most popular foods: bananas, tomatoes, apples, and potatoes for example. The average spud has lost 100% of its vitamin A— important for good eyesight, 57% of its vitamin C and iron—a key component of healthy blood; 28% of its calcium—essential for building healthy bones and teeth. 50% of the riboflavin and 18% of the thiamine have been lost as well. Of the seven nutrients measured, only niacin levels have increased. Americans often choose iceberg lettuce and some form of potato as their vegetable servings. Considering the competition, these are a poor choice. Fruits and vegetables with more vibrant colors, tastes, and smells, are higher in phytonutrient content. Any dark green lettuce (romaine, red, butterhead, loose-leaf) is much more nutritious than icebergs. A yam is packed with more nutrition than a white baked potato.

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Eat more plants

Plant foods provide our bodies with vital nutrients. Produce offers a rich source of fiber to satisfy hunger. Fruits and vegetables are naturally rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and health-protecting phytochemicals such as lutein, vitamin C, and lycopene. Your daily food choice makes a difference. Harness the power of phytonutrients by increasing the amount of plant based foods in your diet.

References

1. Picard, Andre. "Today's Fruits, Vegetables Lack Yesterday's Nutrition." The Globe and Mail. 6 July 2002. Web. 20 May 2014.

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