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Ski Fitness: Eat the Rainbow

Ski Fitness: Eat the Rainbow

[ Tue, 2010-06-08 14:25 ]
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Colorful Vegetables
To get yourself ready for the white stuff this winter, get healthy and stay fit by adding a little color to your diet.

Do you remember when your parents used to hound you to eat your vegetables "so you can grow up big and strong”? Well it turns out they might have been onto something. There is a growing group of people that have looked to colorful fruits and vegetables as the main source of their diet. These nutritarians, as they’ve coined themselves, focus on the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that many fruits and vegetables are known to contain. Their mantra? Eat the rainbow.

Phytochemicals are currently somewhat of a mystery to scientists. Though 10,000 different types have been identified, not much is known about them. What scientists do know is that these little chemicals have huge health benefits. Many nutritionists believe these phytochemicals are the key to staying healthy and combating long-term illness such as cancer. It is thought that, as vitamins and other nutrients were the focus of 20th-century health science, phytochemicals will be the focus during the 21st, giving us a new perspective on the age old question, “Should I really eat my vegetables?”

To help in mapping out their diet, Nutritarians use something called an ANDI score, Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, to rate the relative health value of different fruits and vegetables. At the top of the list are collard greens, kale, turnip greens, watercress, and mustard greens with an overall ANDI score of 1,000. Slightly lower on the list is spinach (739), and then fruits such as strawberries (212), pomegranate juice (193) and plums (158). Many people are already reaping the benefits of eating colorfully. Weight loss is common, as is lower cholesterol. There's a mental benefit, as well: Nutritarians report feeling healthier, more energetic, more productive and, as a result, happier. So head out to your local farmers' market and do some shopping. Come winter you’ll be more ready to hit the slopes than ever before. (Photo courtesy of indichick7)