Nu­tri­tion

The power of plants…

Good - - CONTENTS - bepure.co.nz BePure – Ben War­ren with Ben War­ren

Ben War­ren talks about the power of plants

I t seems ev­ery week there’s an ar­ti­cle in the news ex­tolling the ben­e­fits of the next su­per­food, whether it’s resver­a­trol from red wine, li­copene from toma­toes, or the pectin in ap­ples. As the science of nu­tri­tion ex­pands, it’s be­gin­ning to look like ev­ery plant food is a ‘su­per­food’. All plants have unique nu­tri­tional qual­i­ties; we just haven’t dis­cov­ered them yet. These qual­i­ties are of­ten re­ferred to as phy­tonu­tri­ents, found in fruit, veg­eta­bles, beans, grains and es­pe­cially in herbs. Many phy­tonu­tri­ents have an­tiox­i­dant qual­i­ties that help pro­tect against cel­lu­lar dam­age, while oth­ers work by in­duc­ing a small stress re­sponse in our body.

As our body over­re­acts to this mi­nor stress a long-term health ben­e­fit is in­duced. Re­search points to these mol­e­cules play­ing a ma­jor role in help­ing to pro­tect us from some of our worse health is­sues, in­clud­ing can­cer. So, how do we get more of these into our diet?

Try to get most of your car­bo­hy­drate calo­ries from plant foods. Buy or­ganic or grow your own to en­sure max­i­mum phy­tonu­tri­ent con­tent. Eat a rain­bow diet of plant foods; di er­ent coloured foods o er di er­ent phy­tonu­tri­ents, with pur­ple be­ing a pow­er­house (think plums and blue­ber­ries).

Turmeric The main ac­tive in­gre­di­ent of turmeric is cur­cumin, shown to be a strong an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory com­pound, quelling the in­flam­ma­tory cas­cade within our body. It’s a strong an­tiox­i­dant, shown to be ben­e­fi­cial against a raft of mod­ern dis­eases from Alzheimer’s to arthri­tis. Cur­cumin isn’t well ab­sorbed but you can en­hance ab­sorp­tion by con­sum­ing it with black pep­per. Add turmeric to your por­ridge, scram­bled eggs, use it in soups and smooth­ies and, of course, en­joy a latte at your lo­cal café.

My next four sug­ges­tions are specif­i­cally cho­sen for their hor­mone bal­anc­ing skills. As the mod­ern world and our ex­po­sure to xeno-es­tro­gens places an in­creased load on our liver’s abil­ity to detox­ify these mol­e­cules, we need to eat more of these to keep our bod­ies in bal­ance.

DIM (Di­in­dolyl­methane) If I had to pick one food for bal­anc­ing hor­mones, it would be cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles, specif­i­cally broc­coli; these con­tain mul­ti­ple sub­stances, in­clud­ing DIM. Mount­ing re­search shows that DIM can also be ben­e­fi­cial for can­cer pro­tec­tion, par­tic­u­larly breast, uter­ine and colorec­tal can­cers.

Wa­ter­cress Not only is wa­ter­cress con­sid­ered the most nu­tri­ent dense plant food (top­ping a num­ber of lists ahead of kale), it also con­tains some won­der­ful phy­tonu­tri­ents that stim­u­late a group of en­zymes in your liver, help­ing to trans­form ac­tive forms of es­tro­gen to more in­ac­tive forms. Mix wa­ter­cress with wal­nuts and

pears for a won­der­ful salad.

Rose­mary Both a culi­nary de­light and a phy­tonu­tri­ent pow­er­house, Rose­mary con­tains a po­tent source of an­tiox­i­dant sub­stances, in­clud­ing ros­manol, carnosol and ur­so­lic acid. The phy­tonu­tri­ents have con­firmed anti-car­cino­genic prop­er­ties that have also been shown to ben­e­fi­cially a ect both phase 1 and 2 of the liver. It’s also great for cir­cu­la­tion. In­clude rose­mary next time you’re pop­ping lamb into the oven.

Dan­de­lion Sum­mer’s coming and with that comes dan­de­lions in the lawn. In­stead of spray­ing them, pick and eat them (not the flow­ers, just the leaves and roots). Dan­de­lion leaves are a di­uretic and won­der­ful for the kid­neys, and also help stim­u­late gas­tric juices and aid di­ges­tion. Dan­de­lion root sup­ports and stim­u­lates liver func­tion and detox­i­fi­ca­tion. I’d rec­om­mend toss­ing a few leaves into a salad and to get the ben­e­fits of the root, grate a lit­tle into your grated car­rot and beet­root to top o your sum­mer salad.

Ben War­ren is a nu­tri­tion and holis­tic health ex­pert.

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