The Healing Power Of Plant Medicine
In today’s always connected, soundbite world, it can feel easier than ever to get sucked into the noise of the next biggest “secret” to unleashing your greatest health.
But the truth is, we don’t need a new diet or trendy superfood to up-level our health. The answers have been here all along. The most powerful foods we can put into our bodies are [drumroll, please]… fresh fruits and vegetables.
I know, it may seem anticlimactic, but here’s the truth: They are some of the nature’s highest ‘return on investment’ when it comes to eating for preventive health. In fact, when you begin to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, big - almost magical - changes start to happen in your body.
Besides a healthier weight, people have reported arthritis elimination, improved vision, lifting of depression and anxiety, removal of arterial plaque, lower cholesterol, and reduced need of insulin. All of these conditions, which can be caused or enhanced by a poor diet, can be helped and possibly reversed by eating an abundance of fresh produce. This is what I call The Power of Plant Medicine, and it is as simple as that.
Here are a just some of the benefits you can start to notice immediately when you incorporate more fresh fruits and veggies into your daily diet…
Most people notice their energy levels increase when they eat fresh foods because they are much easier and faster for our bodies to digest. Thanks to their high enzyme content (catalysts for digestion) the body experiences less digestive burden to produce its own digestive enzymes. Raw produce digests in one-half to one-third the time of its cooked counterpart. Since digestion is the biggest activity of the body, by decreasing the energy it takes you'll automatically experience more pure, real energy for all the other amazing things coming your way.
When you eat more fruits and veggies, you actually become happier. Why? 80-95% of serotonin (your happy hormone) is produced in the gut and plant-based foods stimulate production. In fact, there's a 30% reduction in the risk of major depression and anxiety disorders for people who regularly consume an abundance of plants, so go ahead and load up at your local farmer’s market or produce section and see if you can notice a shift!
The Standard American Diet (SAD), which is made up of acid-producing refined and processed foods and animal proteins, creates an extremely acidic environment for the body, making it more susceptible to disease and degeneration. In contrast, fresh fruits and vegetables have a healthful alkaline effect on the body that helps to promote longevity thanks to lowering inflammatory markers in the blood. Increasing numbers of studies link to health, and youthfulness to this very balancing the body’s natural pH (alkaline and acid).
BOOSTED IMMUNE SYSTEM
Many people claim to get sick less frequently after incorporating more produce into their diet. Some of this has to do with how they power our while blood cells to fight real pathogens, such as cold viruses. Fresh fruits and veggies also contain copious amounts of vitamin C, beta carotene, and zinc, three very powerful immune boosters.
Many belly woes such as gas and bloating can stem from poor digestion, but irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), yeast infections like candida, poor nutrient absorption, skin conditions such as acne, and even colon cancer can result. Fiber is the magic bullet to optimizing digestion. It is essential for sweeping the digestive tract of accumulated waste, and fresh fruits and veggies are some of nature’s most abundant sources of it.
Fresh produce offers a plethora of phytonutrients. These are nature's compounds that keep us well ("phyto" means "plant"). Phytonutrients give fruits and vegetables their radiant colors and act as antioxidants, immune boosters, hormone stabilizers, and can offer us many health benefits, such as detoxifying the liver, preventing heart disease and cancer, and protecting our eyes from macular degeneration. Phytonutrients also help "turn-on" your body's metabolism at the cellular level and regulate hormones that help control appetite. This plant-power simply can’t be matched!
On this note, we can turn to the sound advice of Michael Pollan:
"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
But let’s get one thing straight — eating more produce doesn’t have to look like celery sticks and apple slices for days on end. Fresh produce can go far beyond the mundane ‘rabbit food’ most of us tend to think of when it comes to fruits and veggies. Personally, I love getting more plant-power in my meals through spirilazed noodles with fresh kale pesto, chilled gazpacho soup, collard wraps, cauliflower rice, and beautiful, seasonal salads of all shapes and colors. The options are as endless as nature’s bounty.
If you're looking to get inspired and learn more about the healing power of plant medicine, click here to see when my next Fresh Start program kicks off.
What are some of your favorite ways to jazz up fruits and veggies? Comment below — I’m always looking to build my repertoire!