Summertime is perfection for devouring fresh, sun-soaked, crunchy farmers market produce. Colorful, vitamin-packed raw produce is high in vitamins and powerful antioxidants that can prevent disease. Old, aging grocery store produce, meh…not so much.
So, what are antioxidants: plant chemicals such as beta-carotene (vitamin A) that counteracts the damaging effects of oxidative stress by inhibiting oxidation or reactions promoted by free radicals. Oxidative stress is physiological stress caused by cumulative damage done by free radicals inadequately neutralized by antioxidants associated with disease and aging.
Oxidative stress heavily contributes to a list of diseases: heart diseases, stroke, emphysema, gastric ulcers, hypertension and preeclampsia, Alzheimer’s disease, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, MS, alcoholism, smoking-related diseases, atherosclerosis, accelerated aging and certain cancers. Essentially, it’s an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of your temple to detoxify their damaging effects through neutralization by antioxidants.
Want to prevent disease? Eat cleaner and closer to earth. Consume as much organic foods as possible because pesticides sprayed aggressively on commercially-grown grocery produce increases oxidative stress. (We shouldn’t have to fear our food.) As much as possible, eat fresh, rich sources of beta-carotene in organically grown produce such as orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, kale, broccoli, spinach, sprouts, tomatoes, sweet red pepper, winter squash, mango, cantaloupe, watermelon, apricots, and nectarines are. The lofty prices of organic are going down due to increased consumption.
At the least, take a food-based beta carotene (vitamin A) supplement. Consult your vitamin store specialist for a brand that fits your needs. Grocery store vitamins can be worthless. The New York Times reported an investigation by New York state authorities found a number of top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at the four major retailers (GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart) did not contain any of the herbs listed on their labels. Instead, they contained cheap fillers like powdered vegetables and houseplants, or ingredients that could pose a threat to people with allergies. Probably made in China.
My heart sincerely hopes you are beginning to smell what I’m cookin’. For 100 years we’ve been grossly misguided and discouraged to eat the very food that will free us from the slavery of disease and unfulfilled dreams. Foods that allow every living soul to live freely without suffering, and to become their happiest, healthiest version. When you “radically” change the way you look at food, your life will change in magnificent ways.