Did you realize that NOT eating vegetables is paramount to a death wish? Strongly put I know, but let’s consider what vegetables and fruits give our bodies. First I want to consider what nutrients the body needs to be a healthy, functioning vehicle for you. Then I will look at how vegetables and fruits fulfill the requirements. Finally, I will review the possible consequences of trying to live without these vital nutrients.
What the Body Needs
There are actually 7 different components necessary for a healthy body. Which is why you can’t begin to trust supplementation alone for maintaining a healthy body. The top three listed are macronutrients. This means we need to have them in larger quantities. They drive this ship we call a body. The remaining three components of healthy living are called micronutrients. I might say they are almost….almost more important because of how they work for us. Remember this is the list of what you must have in your diet to help the body.
- Carbohydrates with a sub level of FIBER
- Minerals – Some of them are Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorous, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Iron, Zinc, and Iodine.
- Vitamins – which include but are not limited to Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.
As the body works (burning, metabolizing, synthesizing — you know, work) it uses oxygen, and while doing its thing it produces Free Radicals. As the name implies they are the rowdy kids on the block. They can cause more destruction than a room of kindergarteners with no teacher present. Between free radicals and normal wear and tear on the body we need the micronutrients (which translate into antioxidants) to keep the body in tip-top shape.
What Fruit and Vegetables Provide
This chart is from a web site from Dr. Decuypere‘s Nutrient Charts. Check out this website and notice how different nutrients come from different vegetables or fruits. This is the reason why it’s recommended to eat a wide assortment of vegetables and fruits. The list of nutrients is exactly what appears in component #6 above. Amazing!
Vitamin C supports the structure of tendons and blood vessels. Is important in synthesizing the hormone norepinephrine which supports nervous system function and things like blood pressure. Severe cases of deficiency can lead to scurvy which can be life threatening, and your teeth can fall out.
What Happens If You Never or Rarely Eat Vegetables of Fruits
Deficiency of B Vitamins at the least can affect energy levels and metabolism. The B vitamins are a family and should be kept together. However, pills alone are not enough because the vitamins come packed in foods with synergists which are the cousins to B vitamins and help them work better in the body. Without them the body begins to have slowly fading health because these vitamins work in so many areas of the body: some of which are cellular differentiation, Electrical transmission in the nerves and health of the nerves themselves, (and the brain!), heart rate — pulse, digestion and muscular contraction. This translates to issues of mental problems, failure to concentrate, paranoia, nervousness, uneasiness, restless, tingling in hands and feet, fibrillation, rashes, soreness all over, or indigestion to name a few!
Not Enough Fiber
Without fiber the plumbing doesn’t work. I mean the gastrointestinal system. Fiber is essential for the movement through the digestive tract which stabilizes blood sugar (reducing risk of diabetes and other serious chronic health problems) and helps with weight maintenance and control of cholesterol. Constipation might be a brunt of jokes, but chronic issues can be uncomfortable and increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids or diverticular disease.
Is this the end all of the nutritional requirements for your body? No, I haven’t even talked about the need for iron or other minerals. Food needs to be consumed in a full spectrum. With as wonderful as our world is — as colorful as an Autumn day — so should be the food we consume. Train your pallet to enjoy all foods or at least a wider range of food. If you seek a healthy, lean body this is the only true way to get there. Eat Right!