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“Eat Your Vegetables!” Mother Said…

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Did she really have all the information we do today or was this just instinct? What we really should eat hasn’t changed that much for a very long time. It is what we DO eat that has created the current health crisis.

Not only have we gone away from real food and towards predominately eating processed food but the decrease in consumption of fruits and (especially) vegetables has increased tremendously!

More and more research is coming to the forefront about the importance of having fruits and vegetables as the major portion of our diets. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “At least one-third of annual cancer deaths in the United States are related to dietary factors. Increased fruit and vegetable consumption can reduce cancer risk, but less than one-third of U.S. adults eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables every day.” Yet, the idea is not new. Books have been written for years on this subject. Some say the concept goes back as far as Hippocrates!

So what exactly is the big deal? Why are these foods so much better for us?

To begin, fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are loaded with antioxidants which keep our cells from being broken down so easily by free radicals. They are nutrient dense. In other words they are loaded with lots of healthful ingredients and low in calories so you can eat a ton of them, be completely satisfied and still be way lower in calories than when eating other foods. Best of all, they provide your tissues with an alkaline environment.

Alkaline environment… what does that mean? When foods are metabolized or broken down by the body, they provide the body with energy and leave behind ash. That ash can either be alkaline-forming or acid-forming; based on the mineral content of the foods. The alkaline forming minerals are calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, and manganese. The acid forming minerals are phosphorous, sulfur, chlorine, iodine, bromine, fluorine, copper and silicon. So, those foods that are high in alkaline-forming ash will provide your body with a healthier environment.

Add a Comment7 Comments

Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Anon - I like your sense of humor and had a chuckle imagining you trying to persuade your husband to eat his fruits and veggies. Thank you!
I've never been a big vegetable fan, but now that good nutrition is critical I'm learning ways to enjoy them every day. One thing that has helped me is a book titled "Eating Well Through Cancer" by Holly Clegg and Gerald Miletello, M.D. It has recipes and recommendations for both during and after treatment. Most of the recipes are really easy, and it gives me good ideas that go beyond just having a plain vegetable. There's also a nonprofit organization called the Wellness Community that offers nutrition and cooking information. Where I live, in Phoenix, they have a chef come in for a weekly two-hour class. You can look up their locations on their website which is at http://www.thewellnesscommunity.org/

It sounds like you already incorporate good, healthy eating habits into your life, but I always like to have new ideas and variety, so I hope these suggestions are helpful.
Take good care,

October 22, 2009 - 6:01pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Pat- You might like these links too!

Recipes: http://www.julie-webster.com/kitchen/recipes

Cooking Tips: http://www.julie-webster.com/kitchen/cooking-tip-of-the-month

December 22, 2009 - 11:47am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Julie - Thanks so much! You really demonstrate the beauty of this site because of your follow up with our members and the way you always seem to have just the right additional information to provide. You rock, Julie!! Pat

December 22, 2009 - 5:52pm
EmpowHER Guest

There's no queston that eating more fruits and vegetables is critical. I spent the past 8 years in the Diabetes arena. It's so easy to look at people with diabetes (type 2) and blame their poor choices. In some cases, that's correct. We still need to better understand the interplay betwen genetics and diet.

As a cancer survivor, there's a lot of discussion about certain foods helping to prevent cancer while others may cause it. I've always loved blueberries, they are the SUPERFOOD. They didn't keep me from getting cancer (Hodgkins Lymphoma). Interestingly, though, when I was diagnosed and asked my Oncolgoists's office on how to change my diet, their only recommendation was to get more protein to help with my strength as chemo's effects got worse.

My kids have some kind of fruit or vegetable (always fresh or frozen) with each meal if I can help it. Both love broccoli, edamame, etc. Now to get my husband to.

October 22, 2009 - 12:26pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi- Glad to hear you are eating veggies and fruits. So frustrating those doctors! Although they are not necessarily designed for cancer prevention, I do have a lot of recipes and cooking tips on my site that you would benefit from. Here are the links:

Recipes: http://www.julie-webster.com/kitchen/recipes

Cooking Tips: http://julie-webster.com/kitchen/cooking-tip-of-the-month

December 22, 2009 - 11:46am
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Julie - Thanks for this important information. Mom, and dad, indeed were right about the importance of eating vegetables and you've filled in a lot of the blanks on why it's so critical.
Thanks also for the link to the chart, which I've downloaded and will be using.
Take good care,

October 21, 2009 - 5:58pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Hi Pat-

I am so impressed how much you keep up on all the latest articles... fantastic! Appreciate the comment and I do think you will find the chart really helpful.


October 21, 2009 - 8:10pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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