Coloured foods for better health describes some of the phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables; and the scientific basis explaining why they contribute so much to wellness.
Welcome to another series of short talks from the Church of the Ascension in Hilton, South Africa. They last roughly seven minutes each. This week I will be talking about the powerful reasons why we should all be eating far more coloured foods.
That may surprise you; what on earth does food have to do with spirituality? Actually quite a lot. You may be surprised how often the subject is mentioned in the Bible.
Spend some time reading Genesis, chapter 1, again.
“Behold I have given you every plant yielding seed and fruit; I have given every green for food.”
To which God adds, “and behold, it was VERY good.”
Not just good, note.
“And God made the beasts and the cattle; again it was good.”
So this week, as instructed, we will behold, gaze upon and consider the plants, fruits and seeds that the good Lord has given us to eat. This is all very positive.
But let’s also recognise the first act of disobedience mentioned in the Bible was also about food. Beginning with Eve and then Adam rebelled against the edict of God that they were not to eat or even touch the fruit from the tree in the centre of the garden.
And so sin came into the world, through their disobedience.
This week we will consider only the good food; perhaps in another short series I will look at the foods “in the centre of the garden” that will lead to our downfall. So too we will leave for another day the subject of meat, the carnivore diet and vegetarianism in the life of the Christian.
Our central theme remains that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, as taught in 1 Corinthians 3, and as such we all have a deeply spiritual responsibility to take care of the place where Almighty God dwells.
To balance this, the apostle Paul also warns us in Philippians 3, not to let our bellies become our god. The lust of the flesh and the eyes can so set our hearts and minds on earthly things that our end is destroyed.
So why should we be eating coloured foods? There are many scientific studies that overwhelmingly confirm that enjoying many different fruits and vegetables lowers the all-cause of death by as much as a third; that’s massive.
Five to seven helpings of fruits and veg appears to be the optimal number, after which there was no proven further marked lowering of disease. Being averse to weighing and measuring our meals we simply eat as many coloured foods each day as we can; a teaspoon of freshly-chopped parsley in scrambled eggs for example would count.
The point is that God gave us good food for our pleasure and health. So our recommendation is simply to enjoy as many different coloured fruit and vegetables as you can each day, without bothering to weigh and count; that is tedious in the extreme and a return to living under the law.
It is really not difficult to enjoy a salad with three different greens, tomato or radish; cucumber, avocado and chives too. Add a healthy squeeze of lemon juice and you already have 8 coloured foods; there is really no need to count and measure. For a dressing, enjoying half a tablespoon of olive oil further decreases the risk of heart disease by an extra 18%.
Simply enjoying a mixed salad with olive oil massively reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Add hummus, cheese or a boiled egg for protein; and a slice of wholemeal bread for starch.
These unprocessed foods are also rich in fibre. The average person on the typical “industrial diet” of today has less than half the fibre that is recommended; constipation and the attendant bowel diseases are rife.
It is true that we will have to make more time for meals. Mindfully chewing fibrous food is important; you can’t simply swallow these coloured fruits and vegetables like you could pasta or a potato salad.
Potato incidentally is specifically excluded from the beneficial effect of coloured foods, though it’s good to remember that new spuds are quite different; they have a much lower glycemic index.
Coloured foods for better health is about the greens, reds and others; they contribute so much to our wellness. The Good Lord gave them all.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, we will look at some of the specific phytonutrients in green foods like lettuce, parsley and kale, for example.
On Wednesday it be the turn of the red foods like tomatoes, radishes and peppers.
Thursday the orange and yellow foods, and Friday the purples.
One final thought for today. In the five Blue Zones of the world where religious people live such long and productive lives they grow much of their own food. Is it perhaps time to consider becoming a gardener and plant some of your own fruit and veg? My suggestion would be to start with a lemon tree and packets of radish and lettuce seeds.
Until tomorrow then, goodbye and God bless.
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