The Wonders of Fresh, Whole Foods
Now that you’ve learned specific food for helping your body cope with stress, let’s look at the other benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. Variety is a key to keeping your body happy. It is thought that if a person only consumes a limited set of foods that their body and its digestive abilities become sluggish. This can be especially true if you (like the majority of Americans) do not get enough fiber in your diet. Now, if you find yourself continually eating the same foods and discover you have a rather limited palate, it may be time to start experimenting and introducing new produce items to your mealtimes. Think of fruits and veggies that you normally have the automatic thought of “Yuck!” even though you’ve never had it a day in your life.
I’d never had Brussels Sprouts as a kid because it was one vegetable my mom couldn’t stand (turns out my dad loved them though) and truth be told I probably wouldn’t have wanted to eat them had they been offered. But I am now in my early 30s and a few years ago I was talking to a longtime friend of mine about how I wondered if I’d even like them. She had been wanting to try them, too, but didn’t want them to go to waste if she and the kids didn’t like them. We made a plan to have dinner together at her house and we included Brussels Sprouts… and what do you know? We both liked them! But it was hit and miss with the kids. 😀 Can’t win them all, I suppose.
So check out your fresh and frozen produce options at your local grocery store and you might be surprised to find your favorite among those you’ve never had before! 😉 My two favorites, that I’d never dreamed as a child I would ever consume let alone love, are Lima Beans and Brussels Sprouts. 😀
Now let’s start looking at the other healthy benefits of produce based on color:
A Note From the Authors of Stress Eater Diet: Remember “[healthy fruits and vegetables] are not calorie or carb-free…. This means portions need to be controlled” (178) and not to exceed the daily recommendations of the food pyramid (now called Choose My Plate and can be found at choosemyplate.gov).
Fresh Fruits and Veggies (pages 177-180)
Think of the color wheel and apply it when choosing your produce:
Red-Purple= Blueberries, Blackberries, Beets, Grapes, and Plums are perfect examples. These foods are said to “improve circulation, contain antioxidants that aid in cancer prevention, and protect the brain” (178).
Red= Tomatoes and Tomato Products, and Red Grapefruit are prime examples. They “aid in cancer prevention, specifically prostate cancer” (179).
Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, and Watermelon are other examples. They “improve circulation, aid in cancer prevention, protect the brain, and reduce stress” (179).
Orange= Carrots, Pumpkins, Apricots, Mangoes (Oranges are in the next group). These foods “protect cells, neutralize free radicals, enhance immune system, especially when stressed” (179).
Orange-Yellow= Oranges, Peaches, Pineapples do the same as the Orange category, but without the clarifier of “especially when stressed” (179).
Yellow-Green= Spinach, Kale, Collard Greens, Bell Peppers, Corn fall in this category and are said to “protect the eyes” (180).
Green= Cruciferous Vegetables like Broccoli, Cabbage, and Brussels Sprouts. These foods “aid in cancer prevention” and “in reducing stress” (180).
White-Green= Garlic, Onion, Pears, Apples, Asparagus, and Celery are said to “protect cell membranes” and “may lower LDL (bad cholesterol)” (180).
Important Note about this blog’s author:
While I will, indeed, have my Associate Degree in Health & Wellness in May 2013, I am not a doctor, nor am I aware of your medical issues. The health, nutrition, and wellness statements made in this blog should be taken in conjunction with advice from your healthcare professional. This is especially important if you are under constant supervision by a physician for a chronic health condition.
AND, Please, I cannot stress enough, if you have any food sensitivities or allergies, please avoid those foods which you already know to cause you issues. There should be plenty of options to select from each category that Posner and Hlivka cited in their book, which I have taken verbatim from the pages of Stress Eater Diet.