Thursday, August 6, 2009

What is it about vege's?

In general studies have found consumption of vegetables has wondrous effect on your health and wellbeing. However fruit has had mixed results, with some studies saying fruit consumption does not have a health benefit, and others say that it does. Part of the complexities is that most people would call a tomato and a green pepper/capsicum a vegetable, but the are actually fruit. So you can see some of the confusion that could arise.

Back to vege's, are great for your health, the more you eat and the larger variety the better for your health. I wonder what properties vegetables have that give them their health benefits. I have come up with a few theories, and knowing how complex life and nature is it highly likely that it is a combination of these things, not just one characteristic.
  1. Phytochemicals. This includes all the wonderful nutrients that the plants make. Vitamins is only a very small part of phytochemcials. Its seems like every week some scientist finds a new chemical in a vegetable that is great for your health. For a comprehensive list of phytochemicals see wikipedia. Commonly known ones would be Lycopene which makes tomatoes red, or sulforaphanes in cruciferous vegetables.This is the things that give cabbage and broccoli there distinctive taste
  2. Fibre. Vegetables contain oodles and oodles of fibre. This wonderful fibre both slows things down, and speed things up. It slows down the absorption of food, thus reducing blood sugar level spikes and dips. The fibre speeds up the travel of food and waste out of your body. Thus hopefully removing waste before it can have any adverse effect on your body
  3. Reduction of bad food. I have observed that people who eat lots of vegetables tend not to eat lots of "bad" food as they find our modern food processing (eg increasing sugar and fat) produces food that they do not like the taste of. For instance when I was eating very healthy I didn't like the taste of fast food or junk food because the fat made me feel sick and high sugar products tasted far to sweet.

Thus there are at least three ways that vegetables can make you healthy.

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