On this Memorial Day, we remember the sacrifices of our military, the lives that have been lost to preserve our freedoms, and we thank you. This day is about more than a day off from work or school. It is to honor the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf.
Today, many are having gatherings, barbeques, and picnics with family and friends. They are, no doubt including foods that are red, white, and blue on their menus. These are a great way to promote national pride and partake in many healthy phytonutrients.
Eating more of the rainbow of fruits and vegetables can provide us with many health benefits. Aim for 9 to 13 servings of plant-based foods every day (1/2 to ¾ of your plate should be vegetables or vegetable-based. Remember,1 serving is about:
I have talked about the importance of red foods in a previous post, but it doesn’t hurt to revisit this information. Red foods have phytochemicals called anthocyanin and carotenoids. Lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, is a big one! These are important for joint, bone, and muscle health, immune system (GI health), blood cells and heart health, and have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Calcium – strong bones & teeth
Iron – blood cell formation (vitamin C helps with absorption)
Zinc – immune health
Just because a food is white, does not mean that it is unhealthy. White and beige foods have been given a stigma that just isn't true. Unless, of course, you are referring to the deep-fried processed foods like French fries and chicken nuggets, white or beige foods can actually be quite healthy. The phytochemical in these foods is called allicin. Allicin is good at promoting anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D, which is good for memory and brain function, mood, heart heath, immune health, and healthy mouth, teeth, and gums. Chickpeas are great for gut health and digestion and immune function starts in the gut. Garlic and onions have nitrates/nitric oxide which are great for blood flow, decreasing blood pressure and have anti-inflammatory properties. Cauliflower has CoQ10 for cellular energy and healthy skin, as well as vitamin C which is great for immune health. Turnips are full of vitamin C and provide fiber for gut-health. Pears have copper which is necessary for healthy blood and nerve cells. Potatoes are a good source of potassium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber. Like many vegetables, most of the nutrients are found in the skin.
Blue or purple foods are known to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, improve mood, and promote anti-aging. These have antioxidants like anthocyanin and phenolics. These protect cells from damage, improve memory, and promote healthy aging.
So, while you are eating watermelon, blueberries, or potatoes, all I ask is that you remember the importance of this day and appreciate the sacrifices that were made so you could have freedom, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have the right to live a healthy life and the freedom to choose the foods you consume.
Are you ready to PIVOT to functional health and wellness? You have the freedom to choose.