Saint Patrick’s Day is today, and you may be thinking you need to carry around your shamrock for good-luck and health, right? While there may not be evidence backing the “good-luck” that the shamrock is attributed, there is much evidence backing the healthful benefits of plants in the diet. Different types of fruits and vegetables can influence different parts of your body in ways you may never have previously thought.
An apple a day can help keep the doctor away! Apples, amongst many other fruits, may be effective in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in general. Apples have been consistently associated with reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and type II diabetes.1 You can eat apples plain or add them to a bowl of oatmeal for your morning breakfast. Either way, skip the juice.
If this cold snowy weather has you dreaming of the tropics, add coconut water to your diet! It is an excellent source for rehydration and electrolyte replenishment. Try replacing additive and sugar laden sports drinks with coconut water. Coconut water’s composition has been shown to be so similar to our blood plasma that it has been successfully used intravenously in regions with limited resources.2 Coconut water can be purchased in a bottle, or you can buy a fresh coconut and drain it yourself at home.
Of course I had to put something green on the list, so; if coconut water doesn’t get your heart pounding (dry humor), try some kale! Kale has carotenoids that can promote healthy skin and is a quality source of antioxidants and calcium.3 Yes, calcium. Want strong bones? Eat Kale. All these benefits plus more and yet it is sadly unpopular in the American diet.
Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet can help promote all sorts of different health benefits in your body. Take a trip down your grocery stores organic aisle and add some bright colors to your diet. With Saint Patrick’s Day coming up, add lots of green and have a safe and healthy celebration.
- Boyer, Jeanelle, and Rui Hai Liu. “Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits.” Nutrition Journal 3.1 (2004): n. pag. Web.
- Campbell-Falck D, Thomas T, Falck TM, Tutuo N, Clem K. The intravenous use of coconut water. Am J Emerg Med. 2000 Jan;18(1):108-11.