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I used to neglect eating fruits and vegetables, with the logic that I could just pop some vitamins in my mouth instead and be healthy. It was easier and I didn't have to worry about cooking or eating things I didn't like, such as kale. The truth is, I just didn't know that I was missing out on so many other health benefits that come with eating whole foods. Here are three reasons why multi-vitamins cannot replace or substitute the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables.
Reason #1- Multi-Vitamins just don't make the cut.
Synthetic vitamins are made in a lab and are not real vitamins and our bodies cannot use them efficiently. One example of many is vitamin C. Most synthetic Vitamin C comes from ascorbic acid or ascorbate. What many people don't know is that vitamin C is a complex made up of Ascorbic acid, bioflavonoids, rutin, factor K, factor P, tyrosinase, and acorbinogen. Ascorbic acid is simply the protective outer ring and the body cannot use it unless it scavenges the other components from other tissues in your body. If your body cannot scavenge the other parts, you just end up urinating most of it out. Vitamin C found in whole foods like oranges, grapefruits, and acerola cherries contain the whole complex and is readily bioavailable.
Reason #2- Plants contain phytochemicals and phytosterols
Fruits and vegetables also contain nutrients known as phytohemicals, and plant hormones (phytosterols), which help us balance our own hormones. For example:
Broccoli and cabbage contain indoles, which help the body get rid of bad estrogens and improve testosterone to estrogen ratio.
Saw palmetto berries and pumpkin seeds contain beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol that blocks dihydrotestosterone, which is invloved in acne, hair loss, and enlargement of the prostate. It has also been shown to effectively lower cholesterol.
Pineapples contain bromelain- a proteolytic enzyme that decreases inflammation, cleans blood vessel walls, and breaks down scar tissue withing the body.
Many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which lower protect us against cancer. These inclued: Flavonoids which also improve cardiovascular function. Polyphenols found in grapes are great for heart and lung health. Allicin in garlic is anti-bacterial. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which defend against urinary tract infections.
Reason #3- Plants contain fiber
Fiber- fiber found in plants can help keep you regular, feeling satisfied, remove unwanted material from your intestines, bind to dietary fat, and help modulate cholesterol.
You should eat several servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Cooking or going out to get them may not always be feasible, especially when you lead a busy lifestyle. Blending them into a smoothie and taking it with you may be an easier option. Another simple option is powdered fruits and vegetables, to which you just add water to make a shake. Cleanse Blend, Brain Blend, and Immune Blend offer an array of nutrient packed powdered fruits and vegetables with many health benefits.
If you missed last months newsletter on the benefits of organ meats, you can read it here.