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The Power of Plants

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There are so many reasons why it is crucial to incorporate all types of plants into our diets, the main one being that plants contain many properties (called phytonutrients) which are beneficial to our health. Phytonutrients are chemicals in plants that possess health-promoting characteristics. They help support the immune system and are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Many phytonutrients are antioxidants, which neutralize the harm done by free radical cells in our body. Free radicals are cells with unpaired electrons. These cells “steal” electrons from other, healthy cells, thereby creating an imbalance. Over time, this leads to a process called oxidation, which severely damages our cells and has been thought to lead to cancer. The process of oxidation can be seen when one cuts and apple and leaves it outside. Over time, the apple turns brown. The same process happens on a cellular level when there are many free radicals in our bodies. We get free radicals from external pollutants, chemicals and stress.

Phytonutrients also help the body repair damage from inflammation. The body usually has an inflammatory response (redness, swelling, pain) when it is injured, and there is increased blood flow to the injured area to heal it. Some inflammation is important and necessary, however inflammation becomes a problem when it is chronic and the body becomes unable to signal that it is no longer injured. As a result the body continues to release inflammatory triggers which, over time, can cause diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease.

Therefore, a diet including many plant-based foods, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds can provide many important nutrients and vitamins that can help the body remain strong.

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Worth a Read

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The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird

The Secret Life of Plants is an important book published in 1973. The book asserts that, like human beings and animals, plants are also sentient beings. As the authors note, “Far from existing inertly, the inhabitants of the pasture—or what the ancient Hellenes called botane—appear to be able to perceive and to react to what is happening in their environment at a level of sophistication far surpassing that of humans.” Since the 1960s, much research has been done to prove that plants can feel pleasure or pain and the book provides many examples of fascinating experiments.

Not only can plants feel things, but they also have energies that have tremendous beneficial powers. In citing the example of a couple who brought life to a garden in the most unwelcome terrain, the authors note, “It became clear to her that human thinking, human passion, human anger, human kindliness and affection, all have far-reaching effects on the world of plants, that they are most susceptible to human thoughts and emotions, which affect their energy. Poisonous and bad-tempered moods have as depressing an effect on plants as happy, uplifting frequencies have a beneficial effect. It occurred to her also that bad effects could come back to humans as they ate the produce they had infected with bad vibrations.” Thus the importance of taking care of our environment and being mindful of the food that we grow and consume.

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Quote of the Month

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“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I am the mother of four daughters and a Certified Health Counselor, as well as a passionate advocate of organic and local food and a healthy lifestyle. I decided to become a health counselor to fulfill my passion of working with children and parents to improve their health and family life. Learn more about me at healthytiffin.net/about.html

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In this issue:

Some Important Phytonutrients and Anti-Inflammatory Plants:

  • Carotenes have antioxidant properties and have been show to protect the body against cancer, stimulate the immune system, and protect the body and eyes from cell damage. These can be found in such foods as: asparagus, avocadoes, bananas, broccoli, carrots, dates, mangoes, nectarines, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
  • Flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, and help support the immune system. They are typically such foods as blueberries, cranberries, grapes, red wine, tea, among others.
  • Tocopherols have properties that help support the immune system, prevent inflammation as well as being antioxidant. Tocopherols can be found in foods such as: asparagus, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
  • Anti-Inflammatories have properties that help reduce pain and fight inflammation. They can be found in foods like: blueberries, celery, cherries, raspberries, gingko biloba, turmeric, and cumin.
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