More Reasons to Eat Your Vegetables

Anyone with common sense knows that vegetables and fruits are good for you. This morning's USA Today has an excellent review of some of the newer understandings of how they serve to keep you healthy. A great supplement to the article I posted in January on the subject.

It is important to understand though that if you are a protein type not all vegetables maybe as healthy for you. It would be wise to focus on the ones such as celery, green beans, mushrooms, carrots, olives, asparagus and cauliflower. However, nearly all vegetables will be better than grains for protein types.

Here are some of the vegetable benefits cited in the article:

  • By mopping up free radicals, antioxidants such as the beta carotene in sweet potatoes or the vitamin E in almonds prevent cell damage. Another class of chemicals called flavonoids have been shown to activate the body's natural DNA repair system.
  • Fruits and vegetables often are high in potassium, which can help control blood pressure.
  • Antioxidants may interrupt a process leading to inflammation, which appears to play a role in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin B6, found in bananas, and folic acid, found in broccoli and leafy greens, both lower levels of homocysteine, which has been linked to hardening of the arteries, heart attacks, strokes and dementia.
  • Chemicals such as beta carotene also help regulate the natural cycle of cell birth and death, telling cells when to divide, differentiate into new types or recycle themselves. Keeping this process under tight control can prevent cancer, Rock says.
  • Phytochemicals in foods such as Brussels sprouts, red cabbage and kale may help prevent cancer by activating enzymes that break down carcinogens.

USA Today August 11, 2004

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