What is food? Is it what we find in the cabinets of our kitchen? Is it what lines the aisles in the grocery store? Is it what we pick up at the drive through or have delivered to the the door? Or is it what is produced by the earth and remains recognizable when placed upon our plates? Sadly, it seems that in our modern society we have lost track of what real food really is and in doing so, we have put our health at risk.
I am fortunate to live in a neighborhood where residents share the bounty of their gardens.One neighbor left this basket of goodies at my front door recently. Fresh from his organic garden, this basket contains real food. Notice the vibrant colors. Colors represent phytonutrients -- "phyto" being the Greek word for plant. These plant based chemicals have potent health benefits, the various colors containing different chemicals.The yellows and oranges contain carotenoids which act as antioxidants. They also contain other chemicals that are good for eye health and support the immune system. Red and pink contain lycopene which has been linked to lowering the risk of prostate cancer and supports urinary tract health. Purple contains resveratrol, anthocyanins, phenolics, and flavonoids, all good for supporting the brain, bone, heart, arteries, and cognitive health. They also help to fight cancer and support healthy aging. Greens are great for eye health and arterial function as well as supporting the lungs and liver. The whites with their allicin, quercetin and glucosinolates fight cancer and heart disease and support a healthy circulatory system.
Unfortunately, few processed foods -- foods that are unrecognizable from their original form, foods that are found in most American kitchens -- contain these nutrients. For optimal health, eat real food, fresh food, whole food, food that has an expiration date measured in days, not months or years. Eat foods that come from the earth, not from a box. And strive to eat a rainbow of colors every day! Let food be thy medicine.