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O2B 5+ A DAY

Do you find eating 5+ fruit and vegetables each day a mission impossible?

From the moment the alarm clock goes off, most of us are on the go all day. The demands for our time and attention are ever growing, from texts, emails, social media, commuting, studying, workload, homework, housework… not to mention cooking. Finding the time to prepare, let alone eat some whole foods can be challenging. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of microwave and convenience foods and take-away meals, forgetting that five fruit and veg a day is actually the bare minimum to help stave off nutrient deficiencies and prevent obesity and conditions like bowel cancer, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The Heart Foundation estimates that only 35% of us manage to eat 5 servings of fruit and veg daily. The World Health Organisation (WHO) published ‘Fruit and Vegetables for Health’ (2004) states that low fruit and vegetable intake is estimated to cause about 31% of heart disease and 11% of strokes worldwide, and that an estimated 2.7 million lives could potentially be saved each year if fruit and vegetable consumption was sufficiently increased.

The health ramifications are clear when fruit and veg intake is consecutively below 5 a day, most people will endure disrupted health and wellbeing including low energy levels, poor sleep patterns, compromised immunity and digestive dysfunction. All of these initial concerns may fly under the radar of busy people but all can lead to pronounced nutrient deficiencies/malnutrition, promote inflammatory and degenerative conditions and chronic disease states like osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, Crohn’s disease and certain cancers if not rectified.

Fruit and veg are excellent sources of dietary fibre (both soluble and insoluble). Plant fibre helps to promote detoxification pathways, including lowering LDL cholesterol (triglyceride) and ridding the body of excess hormones and toxins. Fibre also helps to slow the digestive transit time of food which increases the nutrient absorption from the food we eat and promotes bowel health. These facts alone are impressive but add into the equation the huge amounts of essential nutrients packed into fruit and veg and their effect on health and well being. Fruit and veg are fantastic sources of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes and phyto-nutrients like flavonoids and chlorophyll that all help maintain health and help prevent disease.

Green plants (veg and herbs) are great sources of chlorophyll (the green pigment and photoreceptor cells) and nutrients. Chlorophyll’s structure is amazingly similar to that of our red blood cells but instead of heme (iron) at its centre there’s magnesium. A ‘superfood’ chlorophyll contains a host of essential nutrients including fat soluble vitamins A, E, K and beta-carotene, minerals potassium, calcium, iron and of course magnesium, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Many studies and clinical investigations highlight that dietary and supplemental chlorophyll helps to improve appetite regulation, reduce cravings, accelerate wound healing, lower LDL cholesterol levels, reduce the risks of oxidative stress and certain cancers and helps to promote the detoxification of heavy metals. Fantastic sources of chlorophyll include all dark green leafy veg, especially barley and wheat grass, spinach, parsley and rocket. Other fantastic sources of chlorophyll include blue/green algae spirulina and chlorella not to mention that these single cell organisms are high in protein, containing amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamin and minerals in particular iron and folic acid.

So crucial to health and well being are the nutrients in fruit and veg, if you are struggling to achieve 5+ each day, consider supplementing functional foods into your diet by way of a smoothie to ensure optimal health and well being. It’s amazing how many of the 5+ servings can be packed into a breakfast smoothie.

O2B Superior Greens are a balanced combination of nutrient dense superfoods organically grown in New Zealand.

Written by O2B Healthy Nutritional Therapist, Ali Maskell B.Sc. (Hons)

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