Shelter is one of the basic needs of life. A well-constructed house will protect you from thunderstorms, bugs, frigid winters, scorching summers and a multitude of other hazards. If a builder cuts corners during the construction process, you may notice: rain leaks through the roof, bugs infest the interior and your heating/cooling bills are astronomical. House construction requires a good plan and hundreds of different materials to complete. Your body is not any different. Your genes provide the blueprints and your diet provides the materials.
Where We Go Wrong
So, why would you ever cut corners when it comes to building your body? The American diet lacks many of the nutrients important to protect an individual from the hazardous elements of life. We focus too often on major macronutrients such as fats, carbohydrates, and protein. While these are important and essential, there are many more, less known sources of nutrition that play a huge complementary role in your health. One of these sources are a relatively recent discovery known as phytonutrients.
As the proverb goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Why is this? Apples contain phytonutrients which are plant derived substances that contribute to health. Researchers believe there may be as many as 50,000 phytonutrients, although we have only isolated a fraction of them. The public is probably familiar with certain phytonutrients, like Lycopene. Lycopene has received attention for its anti-oxidant properties and is believed to potentially prevent heart disease and a number of cancers including prostate, breast and more. Phytonutrients are involved in many chemical processes of the body and appear to be important for protecting yourself from disease as well as keeping the body functioning optimally. Therefore, a large variety of phytonutrients in the diet confers far reaching health benefits.
Fruits and vegetables contribute the highest concentration of phytonutrients with whole grains, nuts, and beans supplementing them. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is void of fruits and vegetables. Less than 30% of Americans get the recommended fruit and vegetable recommendations according to the CDC. Imagine building a house and realizing you don’t have the right caulk for your windows or enough wiring to run all your appliances. Will your house still stand? Yes. Will it run as efficiently as it could if it had all the required supplies? No.
You are what you eat, literally. Your body replaces itself with a largely new set of cells every seven to ten years. Build your body like you would the ideal house. Give it all the supplies it requires to construct a fortress against disease and harm while helping it run optimally. Add more vegetables and fruits to your diet today and watch your body respond. Health starts in the kitchen – and a good kitchen comes fully stocked.