Color Your Plate!

woooooo hooooo!

The sun is shining, flowers have bloomed, and this girl is in a pretty wonderful mood. 🙂

After losing Doogan (our chocolate lab) last week, I’ve been pretty down-in-the-dumps…and really needed this weather to brighten my mood. Check out this {oh. so. thoughtful} garden stone my best friend, Lauren, gave us to put at Doogan’s resting place. The saying holds true… he’ll forever be in my heart.

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I love to hear the birds chirping and see all the greenery coming back to life. I snapped some photos of our pretty surroundings this evening. Doesn’t this weather make you want to go for a bike ride? maybe grill out? enjoy good company? It does for me!

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Tonight Darrin and I decided to grill up lean burgers with tons of veggies on the side! I couldn’t quite narrow down my vegetable of choice, so we grilled all kinds (broccoli, zucchini, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and asparagus). I’m going to have them as leftovers all week. yummie. yum. yum.

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I can’t wait until I can skip on down to the valley and pick my own homegrown veggies. Looks like we have some veggies coming in already!

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Yes… we were all taught at an early age to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but I wanted to emphasize (again) the importance of these nutrient powerhouses.

Research has proven that the intake of fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains may interfere with the process of developing cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon, lung, prostate, and rectum. In addition to reducing the risk of developing cancer, the risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases might also be prevented by eating more fruits and vegetables.

So what’s in fruits and veggies that makes them so wonderful you ask?

Say it with me…. phy-to-chemicals!

Phytochemicals are chemicals found in plants that protect plants against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Eating large amounts of brightly colored fruits and vegetables (yellow, orange, red, green, white, blue, purple), whole grains/cereals, and beans containing phytochemicals may decrease the risk of developing certain cancers as well as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Here is a list of some of the most popular phytochemicals:

  • Allicin is found in onions and garlic. Allicin blocks or eliminates certain toxins from bacteria and viruses.
  • Anthocyanins are found in red and blue fruits (such as raspberries and blueberries) and vegetables. They help to slow the aging process, protect against heart disease and tumors, prevent blood clots, and fight inflammation and allergies.
  • Biflavonoids are found in citrus fruits.
  • Carotenoids are found in dark yellow, orange, and deep green fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, parsley, oranges, pink grapefruit, and spinach.
  • Flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables, wine, green tea, onions, apples, kale, and beans.
  • Indoles are found in broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, and turnips (also known as “cruciferous” vegetables). They contain sulfur and activate agents that destroy cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Isoflavones are found in soybeans and soybean products.
  • Lignins are found in flaxseed and whole grain products.
  • Lutein is found in leafy green vegetables. It may prevent macular degeneration and cataracts as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
  • Lycopene is found primarily in tomato products. When cooked, it appears to reduce the risk for cancer and heart attacks.
  • Phenolics are found in citrus fruits, fruit juices, cereals, legumes, and oilseeds. It is thought to be extremely powerful, and is studied for a variety of health benefits including slowing the aging process, protecting against heart disease and tumors, and fighting inflammation, allergies, and blood clots.

Phytochemicals cannot be found in supplements and are only present in food. Remember this when those tricky sales reps are trying to sell you a magic capsule that will include “all of the nutrients you need from your fruits & veggies”. 🙂

Have a sunny week, readers!

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