With all the media coverage we see almost every week about the latest food discovery that is supposed to make us super-healthy, you might get the impression the only way to live long and prosper is to make all these “superfoods” a part of your everyday eating plan.
Don’t get the wrong idea here. This isn’t about knocking all the exciting nutritional science and research we have been reading the last few years. Quite the contrary. But we also need to remember that many of the foods that sustain us and provide us with the bulk of our nutrients have been on the tables of Americans for centuries. Unfortunately these simple foods are being pushed aside, forgotten or just left out of our daily diets and instead replaced with packaged, processed and takeout foods. Don’t forget – it’s what we eat on a daily basis that makes the difference in our health, not what we eat once-in-a-while.
Today I want to talk about three vegetables that have been providing gobs of nutritional value to humans for thousands of years. Vegetables, specifically carrots, celery and onions should be a part of your daily food plan. The French call this combo mirepoix. Let me share some information about each one.
Either as juice or grated and added to your salad, carrots are jam-packed with nutritional value. Of course most of what we read about is their beta-carotene content, Carotenoids, an antioxidant with cardiovascular benefits, anti-cancer benefits, vision health and all of this is well researched.
Some recent studies are centering in on other phytonutrients in carrots called polyacetylenes and include falcarinol and falcarindiol. Recent studies are showing these phytonutrients can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells and that these nutrients along with the carotenoids actually work in tandem and need to be together to show the best protective effects. This means the whole carrot as opposed to individual elements. Again, the idea of eating the carrot or juicing it comes out on top as the best way to get what we need from our vegetables.
Either as a juice or in your salad, celery is great for helping with the sodium-potassium balance most of us have inverted with too much sodium. Celery contains about 340 mg of potassium and 125 mg of sodium per 100 gram serving. Foods with a 3 to 1 potassium to sodium ratio are purported to be good for hypertension.
Celery has been shown to lower blood pressure due not only to the electrolytes but also for a nutrient called Apigenin which dilates the blood vessels and for 3-n-butylphtalide (3nb) which relaxes the smooth muscle linings of blood vessels, as reported by researches at the University of Chicago. Through their animal study, they were able to show a 14 percent reduction in BP readings, for an average of 15 points.
This one we generally do not juice, although you can do that, it’s usually added to salads, etc. Onions have enormous benefits for your body. Studies show just a few servings of onion each week can lower your risk for colorectal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancer. However for decreased risk of oral and esophageal cancer, the recommendation is 1/2 cup of onion per day.
Onions are also high in sulfur compounds which provide many of their health-promoting effects. Most of us do not eat enough sulfur-containing foods on a daily basis as our ancestors did and onions will help. They also contain polyphenols, including the flavonoid polyphenols. One of the most important of these is quercetin which provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
New information is also telling us to not over-peel our onions because most of the flavonoids reside in the outer layers, just under the skin. Rinse them well and then take off only the first layer of the skin to preserve all the nutrition you can.
As you can see, even the more common vegetables are just as nutritious, or even more so than the ones we are reading about in recent headlines. Use your Jay Kordich PowerGrind Pro to juice them or put in your salads every day. Not only do they add great taste to your meals, they also protect us and sustain us and make a great addition to our daily diet.