Preventive care is not just simply going in for your yearly checkup or getting your routine flu shot. Preventive care is about taking care of your whole body, in the best way you can.
For most of us, this may be as easy as changing our diets.
Think about it, it’s simple: fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and other phytonutrients that help boost our immune systems, prevent wrinkles, and reduce our risk of cancer and heart disease.
… is a word commonly used as a marketing tool on many food labels – somewhat of a health buzzword to increase popularity of a product. You have probably heard time and time again, that chocolate (more like dark chocolate and unprocessed cacao) and red wine contain loads of antioxidants, and this is totally true! On the other hand, you’ve also probably heard that high-sugar fruit cocktail drinks and fruit gummies also contain a good amount of antioxidants. Also true, but not the same as feeding on some super berries like blueberries, acai berries, strawberries or even pomegranates. Sticking to the least artificial, most natural route for antioxidants ensures only the best.
Antioxidants, especially in combination with other great phytonutrients, are positively, genius nutrients—but, do you know why?
As simply put as possible … antioxidants are nutrients that help prevent and repair the damage of healthy cells caused by unstable oxidizing agents, or free radicals, by inducing detoxifying enzymes to help metabolize and detoxify the toxins you are putting in your body. These free radicals (such as nitrate/nitrite found in cured meats) have been connected to increasing your risk of cancer as well as suppressing your immune system and increasing inflammation.
Thus, antioxidants that fight these free radicals = preventive care!
Some examples of antioxidants include but are not limited to … anthocyanins, beta-carotene, flavonoids, lutein, lycopene, catechins, and Vitamins C, E, and A.
Beta-carotene (precursor for Vitamin A) and other carotenoids, found in carrots, pumpkin, watermelon, tomatoes, peaches, oranges, tangerines, apricots, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, mangoes, dandelion leaves, onions, kale, peas, peppers, squash, spinach, sweet potato, broccoli, and asparagus, are good for healthy skin and eyes, mucus membranes, and our immune systems.
Vitamin C found in kiwi, sweet potato, oranges, limes, lemons, strawberries, blueberries, acai berries, snow peas, peppers, mangoes, nectarines, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, cantaloupe, broccoli, bananas, kale, and papaya, is good for lowering cancer risk, boosting our immune systems, improving iron absorption, and regenerating our Vitamin E stores.
Vitamin E found in sunflower seeds, whole grains, almonds, peanuts, soybean oil, broccoli, carrots, turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, spinach, papaya, pumpkin, red bell pepper, avocado, kiwi, and tomato, promotes healthy skin and eyes, brain health, cell- to-cell communication, and may prevent prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Unprocessed cacao powder and cacao nibs are very rich in flavonoids, more so than blueberries, green tea, and red wine.
Flavonoids found in almost all fruits and vegetables, beans, grains, and even dark chocolate, are powerful antioxidants that protect the blood vessels, enhance Vitamin C benefits, and help control unwanted inflammation.
As you can see, almost all fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants (some more so than others) – supporting the idea that a plant-based diet, or a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, is very beneficial for any preventive care regimen.
So, if you have indulged in a grilled burger or a nitrate/nitrite filled hot dog, replenish with some orange slices, rich in Vitamin C, or some other antioxidant-rich fruit or vegetable, to help metabolize, detoxify, and ultimately prevent the oxidative stress.
Now we ask you, what do you want to prevent? The effects of aging? Illness? Chronic Disease? All of the above? Do you think that increasing your intake of plant-based antioxidant-rich foods will help? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Also, make sure to take some time to watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, a film that follows Joe Cross on his mission to regain his health with food.