It is amazing how many of our CSA members join because they are dealing with cancer. Realizing your life is on the line is a great reason to do everything possible to make changes and take care of your body. There are many wonderful reasons to eat a diet loaded with fresh clean vegetables, for not only cancer survivors, but everyone! Don’t wait until your health is in danger to think about these things. The best cancer cure is cancer prevention. Here are three excellent reasons to load your plate with fresh vegetables, for everyone who is actively dealing with cancer or doesn’t want to get cancer. That is all of us!
• Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are like house keepers. They clean up free radicals that, if left unchecked, can damage cells and eventually lead to cancer. Radiation, toxic chemicals, stress and inflammation, cigarettes, and even some of the body’s own metabolic processes can create free radicals. Our bodies need the antioxidants from fruits and vegetables to neutralize them. The brighter and more colorful the produce the better, because these often are the highest in antioxidants. Sometimes doctors will recommend vitamin E or C supplements, which are both antioxidants. Although this might be a great recommendation, nothing can replace the multiple benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Fruits and vegetables are pure and simple. If your diet is high in colorful produce, hopefully it will be low in sugary, packaged, processed, fast foods, and junk foods. If you look at the labels of most packaged and processed foods, there is a long list of unknown ingredients, many of which are questionable as to whether we should be eating them at all. Packaged foods are much more likely to contain unhealthy fats, sugars, preservatives, GMO products, flavor enhancers, artificial colors, artificial flavors, chemical sweeteners, and the list can go on and on. Many people eat these things and believe that if they don’t get sick or have a reaction right away, then they must be safe. My opinion is that if it is not “real food”, we shouldn’t eat it. Those mysterious ingredients are not real food, and they don’t nourish the way real food can. At the very least, processed foods are not supplying the nutrients and enzymes we need, because they just aren’t there. Don’t eat them. Fill your plate with colorful nutrition and health (phytonutrients, enzymes, vitamins, minerals) that you get from your local farmers who provide pure and simple real food. It is worth the extra trouble.
• A diet high in fruits and vegetables is normally lower in simple carbs and helps keep blood sugar normalized. There is some evidence that significantly reducing carbohydrates may slow the growth of some cancers. Nearly 100 years ago, biochemist Otto Warburg observed cancer loves sugar. It avidly consumes glucose, even more than healthy cells, as it creates new cells and grows. Because of this, some scientists now suggest that drastically reducing consumption of carbs might slow cancer growth. Although there may be disagreement on this topic, it only makes intuitive sense that eating lots of fresh vegetables must be a better choice than chowing on sugars, desserts, French fries, potato chips, breads, and most other high carb foods. Additionally, obesity seems to have a direct relationship to cancer, and obesity is often correlated with higher blood sugar and insulin levels. Is it possible that this correlation between cancer and obesity is related to higher blood sugar levels? A diet low in processed carbohydrates and high in fresh vegetables will likely have multiple health benefits, based on simply managing blood sugar.
Although this article is specifically addressing why people dealing with cancer should be joining a CSA or heading down to the farmers’ markets, it really is about all of us. Don’t wait until your life is on the line to think about the nutrients your body needs. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more important that just something delicious on your plate. Our health and life may very well depend on it.
Eat your veggies,