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You’ve heard it before, but it’s something that most of us can’t argue with: eat fruits and vegetables. It’s the soundest nutritional advice that doesn’t require a fancy dietary approach or book to follow. Eating fruits and vegetables helps ward off chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. That said, there’s emerging research about fruits and vegetables to make your plant-based meals even smarter and more impactful.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Choose variety.

A lot of people get locked in a food rut and eat a few foods consistently rather than a wider sampling. While a single food might have health merits, it’s much better from a nutritional perspective to shake up your routine with plant-based foods.The complexity of different phytonutrients (or nutrients found in plants) from several plant foods working together is going to be superior compared with overdoing it on any one fruit or vegetable.

Researchers found that women who ate 8-9 servings of fruits and vegetables from 18 different botanical families compared with just 5 botanical families reduced damage to their DNA after just 2 weeks. It wasn’t the amount, but the diversity of what they were eating that made the difference.

Takeaway:

It’s important to get a rainbow of colors everyday in your meals. Get out of food ruts and start moving along the spectrum of health!

  1. Cook vegetables rather than eat them raw.

One of the most popular questions I get is whether to eat vegetables raw or cooked.Raw food might be good for some nutrients like vitamin C, but many people find it surprising that a majority of plant-based antioxidants and nutrients require some gentle cooking to make them active and accessible to the body.I’m not talking lots of high-heat cooking, but subtle steaming (about 1-2 minutes) to the point that the vegetable turns a beautiful, vivid color, inviting you to eat it.

To read the other 3 tips, click here

This article was republished with permission from Mind Body Green you can find the original article here.

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The Hearty Soul
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