Are you eating enough vegetables and fruits every day.
The Mediterranean diet has been recognized as one of the best diets to follow. The combination of low consumption of meat and dairy and a variety of vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes, is ideal for most humans. The reason it’s so beneficial lies mostly in the nutrients gained from the consumption of plant-based food.
Plant-based food is rich in phytochemicals (compounds produced by plants that promote better health) that are believed to help prevent or reduce the risk of multiple chronic diseases. The phytochemicals in plant-based food are believed to have strong antioxidant properties, which prevent or reduce the damage done to your cells which helps decrease the risk of disease as well. Most phytochemicals have also been found to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancer properties; many of which are believed to be on par with certain types of medicine. Additionally, about “25% of drugs used to treat human diseases have been derived from plants.” Phytochemicals are being studied to see if they can be used as a substitute for drugs in treating various types of diseases because of the health benefits and the prospect of producing medicine that won’t have any side effects on the patient.
Increasing your intake of plant foods is recommended to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases which are one of the main causes of premature death. About “5.6 and 7.8 million premature deaths may have been caused because of not consuming enough plant foods.
In the PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology) study, 135,335 participants aged 35 to 70 years old from countries in North America, Europe, South America, the Middle East, South Asia, China, Southeast Asia, and Africa diets were assessed and documented and used to find out if there was a relation between the consumption of plant foods and their overall health.
The results showed that participants who ate five to six servings had the lowest risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease and those who ate three to four servings had the lowest risk of dying from a noncardiovascular disease. Those who consumed 600 g of fruits and vegetables/d had a 14% reduction in risk of cancer compared to those who only ate 40 g/d. Multiple components of plant foods “ including fiber, minerals, and antioxidants such as flavonoids, vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamin E” have been hypothesized to be the main reasons why there was a large difference to those who had a higher intake of plants foods and those who didn’t.
Plant foods are constantly being proven to be extremely beneficial to maintaining your health, but there is currently a large gap between the amount of plant foods people should consume and the amount of plant foods that are actually being eaten in a day. There are various recipes that show how to incorporate plant-based food into your diet in a way that doesn’t compromise on the taste either. If more people were to realize this and make an effort to do so, then we would be able to take a step towards a healthier world.
Article by Meera, A part of a student project/internship.
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Understanding and applying Nutrition Series. Edited by Candok Editorial Board, Candok Lifestyle. Live Life, Naturally!TAGS: DIETARY, ENVIRONMENT HEALTH, HIGHBLOODPRESSURE, HIGHCHOLESTEROL, PLANT BASED, VEGAN