What is your daily intake of fruit and vegetables?
According to Nutrition Australia women aged between 19 -50 years need 5 serves of vegetables, and 2 serves of fruit a day. A standard serve is about 75g for vegetables and 150g for fruit.
Alarmingly according to the Australian Heart Foundation over the last two decades, the adults not meeting the recommended daily intake of vegetables has increased to 92%.
This means that most of the population is not consuming enough phytonutrients found in plants that provide us with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help maintain glowing skin, eye health, immune health and prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Let’s dig deeper into the benefits of phytonutrients, the ‘anti-oxidant effect’ and how it supports healthy ageing and clear skin.
Firstly, phytonutrients are the natural chemical compounds found in plants. While they aren’t essential to keep you alive, they will help you thrive! When you eat or drink phytonutrients, they help prevent disease and will keep your body working at its optimum.
The antioxidant qualities of phytonutrients lead the pack in their healthful benefits and nourishing yourself with food and supplements with antioxidative qualities plays a crucial role in the health of your skin.
What are free radicals? Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and ageing. They can be found in fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides and air pollution. They are also the natural by-products of chemical processes in your body. And while they play a role in our body too many of them can cause cellular damage which leads to oxidative stress.
Antioxidants found in phytonutrients create the ‘antioxidant effect’ helping neutralise free radicals.
There are thousands of phytonutrients in plant foods, and the ones with the most studied health benefits include carotenoids, ellagic acid, flavonoids, resveratrol, glucosinolates and phytoestrogens.
Carotenoids will help keep your eyes bright and are beneficial for eye health. Specifically, the two common carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale help with the protection of your skin from UV light through the ‘antioxidant effect’. This is a three-step skin protection process with the third protection step being reliant on the level of antioxidants in your skin. Meaning, the level of antioxidants in your skin is important against preventing sun damage. People with high carotenoid levels have a more youthful skin appearance, and carotenoids cannot be synthesised by the human body and must be ingested.
Flavonoids contribute to healthy cell communication. When cells communicate effectively, this supports detoxification and decreases inflammation. In turn, this may help with the reduction of inflamed skin conditions such as acne.
Glucosinolates found mostly in bok-choy, broccoli and brussels sprouts also help to eliminate toxins in the body. When your body’s natural detoxification process is working at optimum it is more likely that your skin will not appear sallow, you are less likely to have dark circles under your eyes, and you will maintain a healthy glow.
Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant, and in relation to skin health, vitamin C is vital. Vitamin C can scavenge and destroy free radicals. It is commonly found in raw and red peppers, oranges, acerola, grapefruits, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli and brussels sprouts. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory, and in its active form, (ascorbic acid), it is essential for collagen biosynthesis. For healthy ageing, and glowing skin maintain your required vitamin C intake!
If you are part of the 92% struggling to meet your daily vegetable and fruit requirements and feel overwhelmed on how to add more serves to your day, take a look at Superfoods Greens and Reds* by Mannatech. I consider it my skin food. It is a pure, plant-based drink with kiwi fruit and strawberry flavour; packed with 67% of your daily Vitamin C requirements, antioxidants including, soursop, organic berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, tart cherry, elderberry, cranberry). A fun fact: Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata, a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree. Native to the tropical regions of the Americas and the Caribbean. It is an ancient, powerful antioxidant superfruit.
Do you have tips on how you add more vegetables and fruit serves to your meals? Share them in the comments below.
If you are feeling as though you need some support in making changes in your life, learn about how the Nutritional Beauty programs can assist you here.
Nutritional Beauty Coach
Photo Credit: Lesly Juarez
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