Written by Paloma Quevedo on November 26th 2020
Diet plays a significant role in people’s health because what you put into your body directly affects the way your body functions. Eating healthy food is the first step to living a healthy lifestyle. Eating “healthy” depends on your nutritional needs (Some people choose to follow the keto diet, paleo, Mediterranean, gluten-free, etc.), but nourishing your body through fruits and vegetables is essential to every human being.
The CDC recommends that everyone eat at least 1 ½ cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables every day. Each organ system in your body needs specific vitamins and minerals to function properly—fruits and vegetables have particular nutrients to aid each organ and system. Eating smart means including the right fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Boost Immune System and Reduce Inflammation
A sign of a healthy lifestyle is a strong and balanced immune system. When your immune system is functioning efficiently, your inflammation levels decrease, and it becomes very rare to get sick. Fruits and vegetables are the best way to give your immune system the supplements it needs to protect you from pathogens and infections. Vitamin C is indeed an immune system booster because it increases white blood cell production, which is paramount to fighting infections. All citrus fruits have very high values of vitamin C, and when eaten daily, they can provide you with enough vitamin C to significantly increase your white blood cell count. Red bell pepper, broccoli, papaya, and spinach are other fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C.
It is also essential to be getting enough vitamin D, which helps your body’s absorption of vitamin C. Apart from getting your daily dose of sunshine, mushrooms are an excellent dietary source of vitamin D.
Inflammation happens when the immune system feels it is under attack from outside pathogens. Eating highly processed foods and sugars, even stress, can cause chronic inflammation, can lead to cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Antioxidants play a vital role in reducing your body’s inflammatory response. Eat smart by incorporating ginger and berries into your diet; both are great sources of antioxidants.
Increase Energy Levels
Food is the body’s fuel. Your energy levels depend on what kind of fuel you put into your body. If your fuel is highly processed foods that contain few nutrients, your body will digest them very quickly, leaving you drained of energy in less than an hour after eating. Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, which have high nutritional value, will you more energy throughout the day because your body will take much longer to process them.
Complex carbs are exceptionally nutrient-dense and contain longer sugar molecule chains, which your body converts into glucose (glucose is used as energy); most significantly, these long sugar molecule chains take much longer to digest. Complex carbs are found in healthy foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, onions, asparagus, apples, cucumbers, and pears (among others). These fruits and vegetables can keep you energized for more extended periods—more energy to keep you on top of your healthy lifestyle.
Enhance Brain Function and Mental Focus
It turns out you needed to eat smart to be smart. Eating fruits and vegetables that will nourish your brain is essential to your overall health. Your brain is the control system of the whole body; it needs to be getting the vitamins and minerals it needs in order to function at its best.
It is proven that vitamin B-12, folate, and antioxidants increase brain focus, improve memory ability, enhance information processing, and reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and avocadoes all have incredible brain-boosting vitamins and minerals.