Dr. Ann Kulze discusses why phytochemicals are good for you and how you can get more in your diet.
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I just have to tell you something, you know what if you knew what I knew about the extraordinary almost magical power of fruits and vegetables to protect your health you will do just what I do, which is never miss an opportunity to pop another one in my mouth, in fact, I a see carrot. Because guess what, each and every time you do it you are immediately improving your health on the spot. To say that in other way, if you knew the amazing power of fruits and vegetables to literally transform you into a biological fortress. Again, there will be no fruits left on the grocery shelves and not only that they would have to have arm guards in there because you would be fighting over it, no question about it. What is the root of their magic? And you already know that they’re filled with vitamins and minerals and they’re high in fiber and they are naturally low in calories and that’s great. But guess what, what really launches them up into the stratosphere way up there and a league all on their own is something called phytochemicals. And I really want you to have an understanding and a basic appreciation for phytochemicals because I know if you did you would do just like I do and never miss an opportunity to pop another in your mouth. You say, “Well Dr. Ann, what are phytochemicals?” Well, they evolve in plants to protect plants from various environmental insults, things like ultraviolet radiation and plant eating parasites and we now know that those same plant protectors when you eat them do the same thing for you. And you say, “Well, what do you mean?” Well, the size of the phytochemicals is extremely complex in fact, even I don’t have to worry about the complexity of that. The good news is you can distill it down to the fact that they have four key features that are good for you. And I love to use this metaphor the “phyto shield” to try to explain to you what they do. So think of phytochemicals as this all protective shield at the cellular level guarding and protecting your cell against all the various things that can harm it. Phytochemicals is like having your own army. How about a million Jack Bauer at the cellular level? Amazing right? Nothing is going to happen to you when you have that. And so what are these four features? The four key attributes that phytochemicals have for you—number one, they have potent anti-inflammatory power and you need to know that inflammation is the key driver of almost all chronic diseases so that’s very valuable. Number two, they have potent anti-oxidant power. Most people have heard of free radicals and oxidation. They’re involved in anything bad that happens in the body, so anti-oxidants are again are very, very valuable. The third thing is immune boosting power. Your immune system is how you don’t get cancer. It’s how you don’t get infections and phytochemicals give it a nice turbo charge. And lastly, think of them as your body’s garbage man. They have very potent detoxifying properties. The last really cool thing I’ll leave you with to again guide you in making the healthiest choice when it comes to your foods and vegetables is that phytochemicals are also the pigments that give plant foods their colors. So apples are red because of phytochemicals. Blueberries are blue, red onions are red, carrots are orange because of phytochemicals. And so the bottom line is, when you see color in a plant food you’re seeing health. So always choose those with the deepest, richest color and I hope this motivates you to include more fruits and vegetables in your life because guess what you are the only person that can make you healthy and I want you to take charge of your health. For icyou, this is Dr. Ann and until next time, enjoy health!