Updated: Aug 7, 2020
The plant kingdom dominates with diversity. There are so many different fruits and vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Important to consider, is that each of these different foods has a unique makeup that consists of their own vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are all important for health. Different vegetables may even target different types of cancers. One vegetable may boost immune function this way, while another does it a different way.
Cruciferous vegetables are my favorite when it comes to health benefits. Cruciferous vegetables are those like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, bok choy, and cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables have shown in studies to decrease cancer cell growth, suppress cancer metastasis, decrease DNA damage, boost detoxification in the liver, lower bad cholesterol and boost the good, boost the immune system and defend against toxic invaders. SO many benefits! Try incorporating more of these vegetables into your diet, actually best try to incorporate all vegetables in your diet!
It is so important in a plant based diet to include variety and color, the deepest and brightest colored fruits and veg are the best- they have the most antioxidants. Antioxidants are special nutrients in plant foods that fight free radicals and cancer causing bad guys in the body. They even help decrease inflammation in the body, prevent clots from forming, fight off other disease causing agents, and combat aging! Yes aging-Think of aging and growing old like rusting, and when you eat foods high in antioxidants, it helps keep our bodies from rusting, actually they can even make you look and feel younger. Foods containing antioxidants originate from plants, while herbs and spices contain on average the most of all plant foods.
My favorite spice is turmeric. So many health benefits in this spice, if you don't have any in your pantry, go get you some! Turmeric contains the pigment curcumin, which may be responsible for many of the health benefits. It is important to note that curcumin shouldn't be extracted from the spice, (as well as supplements like vitamin C) as these compounds need the whole plant food and other nutrients in the food to work together to provide the benefits. Turmeric is a carcinogen blocker and antioxidant, may prevent and treat various diseases and cancers, and may be effective in many inflammatory conditions. Tip: combining black pepper with turmeric increases absorption in the body.
I'm sure you have realized that if you eat the same thing everyday, never venturing out to try new (plant) foods, your body may be left with deficiencies and lacking health benefits you probably want to include in your life. Variety is key! Don't be afraid to get creative and try new things!