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Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Benefits of Eating Colorful Fruit and Vegetables

Although it is a well-known fact that most Americans do not eat enough alkaline fruit and vegetables, a new report shows that the color of fruit and veggies can be as important as the quantity.

Eight in 10 Americans are missing out on the health benefits of a diet rich in colorful alkaline fruit and vegetables, resulting in a phytonutrient or alkalizing buffering gap with potential health consequences, according to America’s Phytonutrient Report released today.

“Many phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that can help fight the damage caused to our bodies’ cells over time that can lead to premature aging and disease,” said Dr. Stephen Fortmann, director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University. “The fact that Americans are falling short in phytonutrient-rich fruits and vegetables measured in the report is concerning.”

According to Dr. Robert O. Young, Director of Research at the pH Miracle Living Center, "eating alkaline fruit and vegetables is the best way to build healthy blood, a healthy and a strong body."

America’s Phytonutrient Report looked at fruit and vegetable consumption in five color categories: green, red, white, blue/purple, and yellow/orange. The health benefits of phytonutrients are believed to come from the compounds that give these foods their vibrant reds, yellows, greens, and other rich colors.

Americans have a phytonutrient gap in every color category. Findings showed:

• The biggest phytonutrient gap was in the blue/purple fruit and vegetable category, where 88 percent of Americans fall short.

• Americans are doing a little better on getting phytonutrients found in green fruit and vegetables: 69 percent fall short.

• Seventy-eight percent of Americans are falling short in the red, 86 percent in white, and 79 percent in orange/yellow.

The report "illustrates that we need to think about more than just quantity when it comes to our fruit and vegetables,” said Amy Hendel, a registered physician assistant and health/wellness expert. “A daily dose of color could result in positive health benefits.”

The select phytonutrients analyzed within each color category included EGCG, isothiocyanate, lutein/zeaxanthin, and isoflavones for green; lycopene and ellagic acid for red; allicin and quercetin for white; anthocyanidins and resveratrol for purple/blue; and alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, hesperitin, and beta-cryptoxanthin for yellow/orange.

According to Dr. Young. "all phytocutrients are buffers of metabolic and dietary acid and thus protectors of the alkaline design of the body where true immunity against all sickness and dis-ease is found."

Although many people find it difficult to eat the recommended five to 13 servings of fruit and vegetables, Hendel suggests aiming for two fruits and/or vegetables from each of the five color categories on the phytonutrient spectrum a day. Thousands of phytonutrients are gaining attention in the nutrition world, Hendel said.

“Phytonutrients offer a wide range of potential health benefits from promoting eye, bone, and heart health to supporting immune and brain function,” she said.

"Some phytonutrients, such as lycopene from red tomatoes or cartenoids found in oranges and carrots, may sound familiar. Others, such as lutein found in greens such as avocado, spinach and broccoli or allicin found in garlic are just being recognized as the alkalizers and protectors of the body fluids and cells," states Dr. Young.

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