Medicine From the Fresh Food Markets

By Judy Davie, The Food Coach

What's the greatest tragedy - the person permanently disabled through an accident that was of no fault of their own or the person permanently disabled from eating too much of the wrong foods? There is no right answer - but one is preventable.

The saying "Food is medicine" might more accurately be re-worded to "fresh food is medicine" because while vegetables and fruits are packed with nutrients loaded with beneficial health properties, we eat so many other 'so-called foods' that have the opposite effect.

Within the fresh produce market you can findmedicines thatmay help to reduce weight, prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, regulate high blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, strengthen the immune system and much more. Their potency lies within the cellular walls of brightly coloured vibrant (and delicious) fresh fruit and vegetables that you should eat regularly:5 serves of veggies, 2 servers of fruit, every day!

Excluding genetics and tragic accidents, good health and weight management boils down to three simple factors:

Your body was designed to move and you should move it. If your work is sedentary make sure you get up and expend some of your own energy. If nothing else, take a walk each day for about 30-40 minutes.

Energy in vs. energy out
This is a simple equation. Eat as much as you need in calories (Kj) as your body expends in energy. If you eat more, you will gain weight, if you eat less, you lose it.

Nutrient dense foods
Like any other complex machine your body has specific requirements. Beyond fat, protein and carbohydrate (the macronutrients required for energy, cellular structure and growth), the body needs large amounts of small nutrients known as micronutrients. Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, fibre, are all found within quality micronutrients and it's these that really determine your ultimate ongoing state of health.

Medicines from the markets - What helps what?
Ginger is good for aiding poor circulationand promoting the flow of nutrients around the body especially in osteoarthritis. Tomatoes contain lycopene which is a fantastic antioxidant that keeps the prostate healthy. Raw spinach is a good source of lutein, which is required for healthy eyes. Broccoli is great for removing excess oestrogen in the body such as in female reproductive conditions like endometriosis and premenstrual tension.

Garlic is just delicious and is important for a strong, healthy heart whilst sweet potatoes and carrots are great sources of beta-carotene, which is required to build healthy immune systems. Juicy, crunchy apples contain pectin, a type of fibre that is great for maintaining a healthy and clean gastrointestinal tract whilst avocado is a great source of good fats, which when consumed in moderation actually helps to burn fat leading to fat loss. Cucumbers and watermelon are comprised of almost all water therefore are great for helping you rehydrate during the warmer months, both taste great in a refreshing juice.

Delicious colourful berries such as strawberries, raspberriesand blueberries are a wonderful source of proanthocyanidins which help protect from free radicals and ageing and last but by no means least, celery is a great source of minerals and is fantastic for getting rid of fluid retention and metabolic wastes from the body.

Some simple rules with fruit and vegetables:

  • A minimum of 5 serves of veggies, 2 servings of fruit - every day, forever
  • Mix colours to ensure a spectrum of varieties and vitaminsand minerals
  • Consume relatively soon after buying to prevent nutritional deterioration
  • Ensure you wash fruit and vegetables before consumption to ensure any pesticide debris is removed
  • If cooking vegetables, using cooking methods that conserve their nutrition such as steaming

Did you know?
- Diabetes affects about 3 million people in Australia and up to 60% of cases can be prevented through diet and exercise.

- Approximately 47% of Australians are overweight and one third of them obese

-You may be surprised to know that even with cancer at least 1 in 3 cancer cases are preventable. More than 13,000 cancer deaths each year are due to smoking, sun exposure, poor diet, alcohol, inadequate exercise or being overweight.

- The consumption of fruit and veggies has been shown to have a protective action against numerous health conditions such as those addressed above, these include cancer, diabetes, stroke and what are you waiting for? Add some delicious fruitand veggies to your supermarket trolley!