Despite what some “experts” would have you believe eating well is really not that complicated.
Unfortunately, most most guys fall short of this advice, especially when it comes to eating a lot of fruit and vegetables. We all know we should be eating more of these foods but few of us actually do.
I know I used to be guilty of this years ago but I’ve since made it a priority to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, especially after reading The Wahls Protocol.
It is commonly recommended that you eat between 5-9 servings (2.5 to 4.5 cups) of fruit and vegetables per day. This is not a lot of fruit and vegetables but even still only about 1 in 10 Americans can manage this.
The Wahls Protocol recommends eating 18 servings (9 cups) of fruit and and vegetables per day and this is the target I aim for. This is a solid number for those of you who are truly interested in optimizing your health and vitality.
Eating these many servings of fruit and vegetables every day guarantees that you infuse your body’s cells with all of the nutrients they require. There are literally thousands of phytochemicals and other biologically active compounds in fruits and vegetables that protect our bodies. We are only aware of a fraction of them and among those only a handful have been studied carefully. Needless to say, there are probably dozens and dozens of other compounds found in fruits and vegetables that are incredibly beneficial to us. This is the rationale behind the number.
To make this point even more explicit there was a study published in 2014 illustrating the effects of eating broccoli on your body’s ability to excrete air pollution.
The study was conducted over the course of 12 weeks and looked at 291 men and women living in a rural part of China. The participants were split into two groups: one group consumed a beverage containing water, pineapple, lime juice, and broccoli sprout powder every day while another group consumed the same beverage minus the sprout powder.
And the results?
The researchers discovered that the individuals who consumed the broccoli sprout beverage on average excreted 61% more benzene and 23% more acrolein than the individuals who consumed the beverage minus the broccoli sprout. Benzene and acrolein are chemicals that are found in car exhaust and cigarette smoke. Benzene is also a known carcinogen.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain a high concentration of sulforaphane which accelerates our natural ability to excrete toxins. Evidently, broccoli sprouts (which are 3 to 4-day old broccoli plants) contain much more sulforaphane than the mature plants. For instance, a mere 3g of broccoli sprouts contains as much sulforaphane as 150g of broccoli.
Emerging research on sulforaphane also indicates a positive effect on neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, and gastric diseases.
The cruciferous family contains many other vegetables other than broccoli including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards etc. So if you’re not a fan of broccoli there are definitely plenty of other options.
For those of you who really want to geek out on the scientific research behind cruciferous vegetables and sulforaphane, I recommending checking out Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s Youtube video on the topic here:
The best way to incorporate more cruciferous vegetables into your diet is by following the Wahls Protocol and divvying up your 9 cups of fruit and vegetables like so:
- 3 cups of leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce etc.)
- 3 cups of deeply coloured fruit and vegetables (blueberries, carrots, beets etc.)
- 3 cups of sulfur rich vegetables (onions, mushrooms, cabbage etc.)
I understand some guys struggle with eating a lot of fruit and vegetables because they simply can’t stomach all of the extra fiber.
My recommendation? Start juicing and blending.
For example, every morning I make myself a smoothie containing 1-2 cups of frozen blueberries and 2-3 cups of spinach or mixed power greens with water (incidentally, I pick up all of these ingredients for cheap at Costco). This one shake can contain between 3-5 cups of fruit and vegetables and it literally takes me less than 2 minutes to make.
Combine this smoothie with a large salad at lunch or dinner and perhaps another smoothie before bed and you’ve easily hit the 9 cup mark without even trying.
Your mom was absolutely right when she encouraged you to eat your vegetables. The fact is that a diet high in fruit and vegetable content is absolutely essential to maximizing your health and vitality.
How many more positive studies need to be published in order for you to take your fruit and vegetable consumption seriously? Quit hemming and hawing about it. Make the change today.
Here’s to staying fit!