Phytonutrients or “plant nutrients” are important to include in our daily diet. They come in many classes including carotenoids, flavonoids, and sulfides. Phytonutrients are responsible for the way a plant looks, smells, and tastes. When your steamed veggies start to change color (for example, your kale becomes a beautiful deep green), that reaction is centered around the plants phytonutrients. The bitter taste found in some of fruits and vegetables are also a result of these substances. Why do we need to include phytonutrients in our diet? They have been shown to help slow down the aging process, prevent cancers, promote a healthy heart and good blood pressure. They are also loaded with antioxidants to help our immune system stay strong. Try including broccoli, kale, cilantro, blueberries, oranges, tomatoes, or sweet potatoes into your meals this week for a healthy dose of phytonutrients!
Do you suffer from breakouts and acne? Are your lotions and creams just making your complexion more irritated and red? Try eating a diet full of protein (wild-caught fish, chia seeds, beans, goji berries), organic vegetables and fruits (especially ones full of antioxidants, like berries), nuts, and seeds. Also be sure that you are including plenty of “good fats” in your diet from foods like coconuts, olives, and avocados. Stay hydrated with plenty of good quality water during the day and avoid soda, caffeine, and alcohol.
I have always been a huge fan of eating watermelon! Lately, I’ve started juicing watermelon and combining it with other ingredients like cucumbers and strawberries. Yum! Watermelon is not only delicious but it is loaded with healthy nutrients. For example, watermelon is a rich source of immune-boosting vitamin C and hair-healthy vitamin A. It is also a good source of lycopene, a carotenoid that works to promote good cardiovascular health. One cup of fresh watermelon contains more lycopene than that one cup of tomatoes! In addition watermelon’s heart-healthy traits, it’s an excellent source of free-radical fighting antioxidants and B vitamins, perfect for giving your body a nice boost of natural energy. Watermelon also contains potassium and magnesium to help your body circulate your blood properly.
Did you Know:
- Watermelon has a high water content, which makes it so refreshing during the warmer months. This also makes it a great food for promoting a healthy weight because it will fill you up while giving you a big dose of nutrients.
- While you can purchase watermelon year-round, the best time to buy it is during the summer. This is when it will have the most nutrients and taste the sweetest.
You may have heard about tryptophan and it’s ability to help us fall asleep at night. While it is true that tryptophan promotes relaxation, it is also important for helping to elevate our moods and regulate our appetites! It has also been shown to help prevent a deficiency in niacin. Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids (something that our bodies cannot produce on their own) that our bodies use to synthesize protein. Tryptophan works with many other nutrients that are important for it’s metabolism including vitamin C, B6, magnesium, and folic acid.
How can you tell if you are deficient in tryptophan? You may feel depressed and struggle with staying focued. Other symptoms include weight gain or unexpected weight loss, overeating, the craving of carbohydrates, and insomnia. Be sure you are including tryptophan in your diet by eating the following foods:
- Wild-caught salmon
- Swiss chard
- Collard greens
- Cage-free organic eggs
Apples, apples, everywhere! I love apples and I especially love to add them to my morning juices. This juice is full of nutrients that will help you feel revitalized like beta-carotene, vitamin B3, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium. Apples are a great source of fiber and the skins are loaded with antioxidants. Kale is an amazing food that helps boost immunity. Give this juice a try!
Apple Kale Juice
- 2 organic apples (I love Red Delicious or Gala apples)
- 2 organic kale leaves
- 1/2 a cucumber
Have you ever looked down at your hands and noticed funny white spots on your nails? Are the tips of your fingers rough with tiny blisters? Did you know that these are classic signs of having a zinc deficiency? Frequent colds, infections, lack of appetite, impaired taste, and even depression can also signify a zinc deficiency. Zinc is important because it helps to balance our blood sugar levels, stabilize our metabolic rate, and helps to keep our immune system strong. To increase your intake of zinc, try eating foods like pumpkin seeds, chard, spinach, asparagus, yogurt, collard greens, broccoli, and sesame seeds. They are great sources of zinc and they taste great!
Did you know that nectarines were named after the Greek god Nekter? These delicious little fruits have been adored for years because of their sweet and juicy flavor. You can eat them by themselves or include them in salads or fruit salsa. When purchasing nectarines, be sure to look for ones that are moderately firm and brightly colored. The fruit is ready to eat when the flesh is soft to touch and smells fruity. Here are some of the health benefits of eating nectarines.
- Nectarines are a good source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts to vitamin A.
- One medium-sized nectarine has 65 calories.
- The flesh of a nectarine is rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids, that help protect our bodies from cancer and other diseases.
- Nectarines are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps control blood cholesterol levels.
- The skin of a nectarine is full of fiber, which helps to promote a health digestive system.
- Looking to include more potassium into your diet? Nectarines are full of this energizing nutrient
References: Reader’s Digest, Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal. 2004. Metro Books, New York, NY.