Sometimes it’s super easy to eat the same thing everyday or even every week. It makes grocery shopping quicker and easier to grab the same things week to week and while I think it’s important to have “go to” meals, I also think adding some diversity with vegetables is important as well. Micronutrients are in all foods but not all will have the same micronutrient profile, which add to our overall health. Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals, or phyto-chemicals in our food.
Vitamins and minerals can’t solely be made in our bodies and too often folks are deficient in vitamins such as Vitamin A or B12 which could be avoided if a variety of veggies were eaten. What most people don’t understand when it comes to vitamins & minerals, is that most functions in our bodies use a vitamin or mineral to then better absorb a different vitamin or mineral. For example- A major function of Vitamin C when it comes to hair, is to produce and maintain healthy collagen, the connective tissue type found within hair follicles. Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and protects both the cells found within follicles and cells in blood vessels. Without Vitamin C our bodies couldn’t synthesize collagen on its own. Vitamin E helps maintain the integrity of the hair follicle cell membranes, while also providing stability to those membranes and antioxidants to promote healthy skin and hair. These two vitamins work together, but if a person is deficient in one then the system doesn’t work correctly. This is one small example of how vitamins or minerals can work together but you get the picture. Having a variety of vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, grains, etc all help provide the micronutrients our bodies need to thrive.
I’ve started challenging my nutrition clients to add in a new vegetable each week, or reincorporate one that has been out of rotation for a while. This challenge can become fun by picking a random new vegetable and then finding a recipe on Pinterest or just on the fly in the kitchen. It’s a great way to get more variety in our everyday diet while also adding in some missing micronutrition along the way. This week I tried Radishes, I’m shocked I’ve never tried them before or if I have I don’t remember it! Radishes are part of the cruciferous family like brussels sprouts or cabbage, and they are a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, and Calcium. I already mentioned the role Vitamin C plays with collagen but it also aids the body to remove harmful free radicals, prevention of cancers, inflammation and help boost immunity too!
By simply trying one new vegetable this week I gave my body some valuable micro nutrition, and learned more about radishes and how they can affect my health! I urge everyone to try this challenge and if you do please tag me on social media!! Together we can spread more knowledge and recipes of all the different vegetables (along with other fruits, meats, and fish, etc) while providing more micro-nutrient nutrition to our bodies.