Food color and Phytochemicals!
The truth is that the more color your fresh produce has, the better it is for you. That’s because of one thing: phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are only found in plants. They act to protect us from inflammation. They’re also a good way to tell that a fruit or vegetable has lots of nutrients.
Here is an easy to remember trick to help you know which foods are most good for your body.
Carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. These are just a few of the orange foods that are known for their high levels of beta-carotene.
These foods are high in antioxidants and are good for our vision because they contain Vitamin A.
Tomatoes, cranberries, pink grapefruit and watermelon. Most fruits and vegetables that are red contain lycopene.
Lycopene lowers the risk of cancer and improves the health of our tissues. Red foods also contain vitamin C and flavonoids can help reduce inflammation and prevent bacteria from attaching to our cells.
Avocado, pistachios, kiwi, leafy greens like spinach, and kale. These foods are high in lutein, which is good for eye health. Kiwi fruit is also high in vitamin C.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Bok choy and cabbage. Green may be the color we tend to think of most often when it comes to vegetables. There’s good reason for us to think that green is one of the healthiest colors a food can be.
Green vegetables get their color from chlorophyll, and foods that have a lot of chlorophyll are rich in isiothiocyanates. These help the liver move toxins out of our system. They also have vitamin K, folic acid and potassium.
Eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, plums and pomegranates. The dark blue and purple colors of these foods comes from anthocyanin. That’s a powerful antioxidant that is heart healthy and lowers high blood pressure. They also fight blood clots.
Black beans, chia seeds, lentils and mushrooms. Black foods are loaded with pigment, and that means that they are high in antioxidants.
Apple cider vinegar has long been known as a fix for whatever ails you. This kitchen staple is used to treat the sniffs and sneezes of common colds.
It’s also a cure for stomach cramps, hiccups, a sore throat and more. Its health benefits come from its high levels of proteins, enzymes and healthy bacteria.
But what about Coconut Vinegar? How does it stack up against apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by taking crushed apples or cider and adding yeast. This turns it to alcohol. Bacteria is added to the mix, and the whole thing turns into the acid that is vinegar. To make coconut vinegar, the same process is used. Instead of apples, coconut sap is used.
Both of these vinegars are cloudy when you buy the organic, unfiltered version. This is because of something called the “Mother”.
The “mother” is a bundle of proteins, bacteria and enzymes that is the source of both liquids’ health benefits.
It has many of the same health benefits as apple cider vinegar. These include:
- Both are great at fighting germs. Both contain an acid that kills bacteria. This means that they help you fight off colds and flu, as well as other infections.
- Both vinegars are low glycemic foods. This means that they lower blood glucose and cut the risk of heart disease.
- Both make you feel full, and that can cut the number of calories that you eat.
One study showed that obese people who added one tablespoon of vinegar to their daily diet lost 2.6 pounds over 12 weeks. They also lost belly fat and cut inches off their waists.
- Both are naturally fermented foods that contain prebiotics and probiotics. These are good for your gut health.
So, when it comes to comparing the two, which is better for you?
Both are good, but the coconut vinegar offers a few more benefits.
The most important of these may be the easiest to understand – it just tastes better! Coconut vinegar is a bit sweeter. It also doesn’t have the same bite as apple cider vinegar. That makes it easier to add to your daily diet.
Plus, coconut sap has many more nutrients than apples. That carries over into the vinegar.
- It contains tons of potassium and B vitamins.
- It also contains all 9 essential amino acids and 8 nonessential amino acids.
Together these help your body make protein. They help the blood cells that carry oxygen and make antibodies that help boost your immune system.
When buying coconut vinegar, make sure that you choose organic, unfiltered vinegar made from coconut sap.
There are vinegars on the market that are made from coconut water, and they do not have the same nutritional value.
You can use it in any recipe that calls for vinegar for a sweeter, milder taste. You can also use it as a daily detox by adding one tablespoon vinegar to 2 tablespoon of water each morning.
Inflammation can be good and bad for the body. If you have ever injured yourself, it becomes swollen and warm. That’s good/healthy inflammation as the immune system is healing the body. But when the immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking healthy cells and tissues that is bad and unhealthy inflammation. If inflammation is ignored it becomes chronic and can lead to debilitating conditions and diseases, like autoimmune, IBS, arthritis, and premature aging.
Common signs of inflammation include:
- Joint pains
- Bloating and digestive problems
- Skin issues- acne, rashes, dry patches, etc.
Top 8 Anti-inflammatory foods:
- Wild Salmon– has the omega-3 fatty acids. Wild caught salmon has shown most effective anti-inflammatory agents. Other sources of omega-3 to be added in your diet are herring, sardines, and anchovies.
- Turmeric– active component curcumin has been used for centuries in east medicine.
- Dark Chocolate (80% cacao or higher)- contains the phytonutrient resveratrol. Its also an antioxidant in red wine. Resveratrol has been shown to protect DNA, flight inflammation and protect cells from free radicals.
- Green Tea– an antioxidant has been very popular in Asia. It plays significant role in reducing cardiovascular disease, preventing cancer and lower rates of neurocognitive decline.
- Chili Peppers– The anti-inflammatory capsaicin in chili peppers has a bonus ability as a painkiller too.
- Coconut Oil– is full of healthy fats which helps burn body fat and improve brain function. It’s also anti-inflammatory so make it the cooking oil of choice.
- Ginger– provides boost to immune system and has healing properties. Ginger’s ability to modulate the immune system makes it powerful anti-inflammatory.
- Green Vegetables (Broccoli, Swiss Chard, Bok Choy)- contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals. Green vegetables are high in antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent and reduce inflammation in the body.
Your diet is important factor determining your level of inflammation and your overall health. Processed foods, sugar, fried foods and alcohol must be limited/ avoided in order to keep inflammation low.