Everybody knows that vegetables are good for you. Although it has been demonstrated on numerous occasions, just because individuals have faith in something does not signify that it is accurate.
This diet has so many controversial elements, but this one may be the most contentious of them all.
Somewhere along the line, we forgot why we eat. It is similar to when you keep visiting the pantry without being able to remember the reason why you went there in the first place.
What does healthy and unhealthy even mean? Below is my rendition:
- Unhealthy: Doesn’t satisfy the body’s nutrient requirements. Has adverse consequence
- Healthy: Satisfies the body’s nutrient requirements. No adverse consequences.
We eat for two main reasons:
- Essential nutrients
Humans are heterotrophs. Our bodies cannot manufacture everything we require to function. We must get certain nutrients from food. There are three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. We need these to function properly.
There are four classes of micronutrients that are essential.
- Vitamins (A, B, C, E, K, Choline, Folate, etc)
- Minerals (Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, Ionide, etc)
- Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6, etc)
- Amino Acids (Isoleucine, leucine, etc.)
When searching for nutritious food, we must consider the nutrient content, energy levels, and potential negative effects.
We have been strongly influenced by Ancel Keys and the USDA to the point that it is generally assumed that meat is not good for one’s health, particularly when compared to foods such as kale and vegetable juice.
But how do vegetables really stack up? Only animal products provide the various macro and micronutrients necessary for our bodies on a biochemical level.
Plant foods do not contain significant amounts of vitamins A, B12, D, and K2, which are essential nutrients for our bodies.
This is an additional element that is playing a major role in the present mental health crisis. Vitamins such as DHA, B12, Iron, and Selenium are essential for the proper functioning of the brain. If you do not consume any animal products, your brain will react negatively.
It is possible for humans to exist on a diet consisting solely of animal-based foods. The same cannot be said about plants or carbohydrates. A balanced carnivore diet that includes beef steak, beef liver, and eggs is nutritionally complete.
Animal-based foods contain more of every nutrient except Vitamin C. Despite the fact that a carnivore diet has less vitamin C, the glucose ascorbate antagonism suggests that absorption of the vitamin is likely still higher.
It might seem strange, but steak and beef liver are really the best options for a healthy diet. You should get the right amount of all essential macronutrients and micronutrients for a balanced diet.
Furthermore, many of the nutrients found in plant-based foods are in a form that is not as easy to absorb and not as effective. It is more difficult for us to take in the plant-based form of the nutrient than the animal-derived form. For example:
- Vitamin K2 more important than Vitamin K1
- DHA is more important than ALA
- Heme Iron is more bioavailable than non-heme iron
- Vitamin A retinol is more bioavailable than Vitamin A carotenoids
- Vitamin D3 is more bioavailable than Vitamin D2
Animal foods contain a higher concentration of nutrients that can be easily accessed and utilized by the body, while plant foods do not. Food firms have made an effort to deceive you into thinking that all forms of Vitamin A are the same. You, however, who are reading this, will not be tricked.
Most of the population is nutrient deficient. When you don’t get the nutrients you need, you will remain unsatisfied and keep going back to the cupboard repeatedly. The major cause of this is that most people are consuming vegetables and carbohydrates in order to satisfy their appetite. When they really should be eating animal foods.
Did Our Ancestors Eat Vegetables
It appears that red meat, a food that has been heavily criticized, is the most efficient source of nourishment.
It has all of the essential protein, nutrition, and fat our bodies need in the proper amounts. The vitamins and minerals contained in meat are easier to take in than those in vegetables.
This isn’t a coincidence. It’s because humans are carnivores.
Over the past few million years, both our eating habits and bodies have evolved. For millions of years, our bodies have been evolving to rely on animal consumption, and now it is a necessity.
What Does Evolutionary Biology Say
Stepping away from the Inuit people, evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology (the study of ancient humans) can be incredibly helpful in understanding the vegetable dispute.
Generally, aboriginal and hunter-gatherer people consume food that is native to their area. The organisms flourish when they are given a mixture of both hunted animals and scavenged vegetation, and occasionally they rely partly on farming.
Here are some key takeaways from evolutionary biology:
- Humans evolved as omnivores who sought to maximize their dietary diversity
- Cooking and the use of fire are ancient and essential to human evolution
- Vegetables and other plants often played an essential medicinal role
- Traditional human diets vary greatly depending on the region
- Until recently, people were forced to eat seasonally and locally, which meant few carbs during the winter (no UV from sunlight = no carbs)
Excluding the Inuit and other groups such as the Maasai and Sami, most traditional and modern hunter-gatherers get between 20% and 55% of their energy from plant sources.
No ancient vegan or raw vegan diets have been found in paleoanthropology, though there are a few examples of diets that contain little to no vegetables.
Low-carb and carnivore diets receive a point, while vegan and raw vegan diets do not.
Indigenous people try to get as much of their energy from animal products as they can, but they are restricted by their surroundings. In other words, they do not avoid vegetables and other plant-based foods, which are an alternate source of energy and highly beneficial in terms of health.
Generally, humans are designed to consume plant-based foods as the main part of their diet, except in very rare cases. Continue reading to discover the advantages of consuming vegetables and why you might choose to incorporate them into your diet.
Benefits of Vegetables
It has been said that vegetables can offer a range of health benefits, such as boosting antioxidants and increasing life expectancy. There is no evidence supporting these claims. At its most successful, the antioxidant advantages of a keto diet are superfluous.
Oxidation and Antioxidants
First off, what is oxidation? The loss of an electron by a molecule is known as oxidation. When you metabolize food, ATP generation creates free radicals. Free radicals are oxidized molecules without a paired electron.
Electrons desire to be in a duo, and these unbound radicals spread throughout your body looking for a companion. Consider them to be like an inebriated individual at the conclusion of an evening at a bar for singles.
In this activity, these “reactive oxygen species” can cause harm to DNA, fats and proteins. If there is an imbalance of oxidation and anti-oxidation in the body, it can result in health problems.
Free radicals have been linked to numerous illnesses, such as cancer, the aging process, and Alzheimer’s. Your body has natural antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione. What you eat affects your natural antioxidant status.
Numerous epidemiological investigations, which are studies on the effects of astrology, have demonstrated that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is connected to a decreased risk of oxidation and cancer. Many people have attributed this to hormesis.
The concept of hormesis suggests that a minor amount of something adverse can result in a beneficial reaction. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. For instance, this applies in the case of exercise. Stressing your muscles ends up making them stronger.
As plants and animals evolved together, plants produced chemicals to defend themselves from predators. Plants create certain compounds such as lectins, saponins, flavonoids, and alkaloids to ward off animals from consuming them.
It is suggested that the plant-based chemicals can aid in boosting the immune system and help the body to resist any foreign substances. This ultimately results in stronger antioxidant defenses.
Some tests done in a laboratory have shown that sulforaphane, which is a part of plants, can trigger the nrf2 antioxidant process.
Rich in Fermentable Fiber
Grains contain insoluble fiber, whereas vegetables are rich in soluble or fermentable fiber. This type of fiber works as a prebiotic, supplying nourishment to the bacteria in your digestive tract.
Your gut bacteria (and other microorganisms like fungi and archaea) play many essential roles in your body:
- Production of neurotransmitters
- Gut-brain signaling
- Immune function
- Control of inflammation
- Gene expression
Fermentable fiber in a variety of food items can help lead to a balanced microbiome, which is essential for maintaining good health. Eating a diverse diet with lots of vegetables is an excellent way to achieve this.
Packed With Micronutrients
It is achievable to acquire numerous vital micronutrients from animal products, yet vegetables are a simpler source of magnesium, betaine, and potassium.
Studies have shown that consuming more vegetables can be beneficial in boosting your vitamin C and carotene intake, as well as helping to improve your micronutrient levels.
Better Colon Health
Eating vegetables can improve the health of your digestive system by providing it with dietary fiber and plant-based nutrients.
Polyphenols such as resveratrol, curcumin, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and piperine can help to protect against colon cancer and can make cancer treatments more effective in individuals who have already been diagnosed with the disease.
A 2016 scientific assessment concluded that consuming more vegetables can also help to avoid dysbiosis and either improve or reverse irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Improved Heart Health
Studies from multiple sources have shown that increased vegetable intake is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and death from cardiovascular problems.
Eating plants can benefit your heart health due to their high content of dietary fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, and plant-derived compounds.
It is likely that the positive effects of vegetables on the heart are a result of a combination of different elements found in plants, rather than just one single nutrient.
It is essential to concentrate on consuming a wide selection of vegetables and other whole foods in order to maintain cardiovascular health.
Studies conducted on large groups of people have demonstrated that consuming more vegetables than the average person can lessen the chance of acquiring cancer and reduce the probability of death due to cancer. Research has suggested that if the global population consumed 800 grams of vegetables daily, it could potentially avert up to 8 million premature fatalities annually.
The results of a study conducted in Korea indicated that consuming a large amount of vegetables reduces the likelihood of developing and dying from cancer, but fruit does not have a similar impact. Vegetables contain phytonutrients which have a positive effect on cancer prevention, as well as providing fiber which also helps to reduce the risk of cancer.
It appears that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are the most important in guarding against cancer. Glucosinolates, which are chemical compounds, can help protect your gastrointestinal tract, lungs, prostate, or breasts against cancer.
However, it appears that eating vegetables does not decrease the risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as pancreatic, cervical, kidney, and bladder cancer.
Although it is commonly accepted that vegetables are beneficial for the brain, few people take the time to consider why this is true.
It’s a big clue that hunter-gatherers see plants as being both edible and medicinal. Vegetables have more healing properties for brain health and thinking than most other types of food.
Research revealed that senior citizens who consume 100 grams more of plant-based food per day have a 13% lower risk of developing dementia and cognitive decline. The majority of research indicates that consuming these foods can improve cognitive functioning, likely due to the polyphenols present in them.
The conclusion is clear – eating more vegetables will boost antioxidant levels, lower your chances of cognitive impairment, and lower the risk of contracting neurodegenerative diseases. Experts believe the advantages of plants are due to the presence of flavonoids, carotenoids, and other biologically active components.
It may be appealing to try using a multivitamin or other supplement to get the same advantages, but you would be not taking advantage of the phytonutrients and other unidentified active compounds that vegetables offer.
Is it possible that eating vegetables could actually have a negative effect on your health?
If vegetables are causing you trouble, it could be because your body has a reaction to certain substances they contain, or it could be the sign of a deeper digestive problem.
If you think that is the right course of action, you could give the carnivorous diet a go for a period of two to four weeks and then gradually bring back one kind of vegetable at a time, allowing a few days between each addition to judge your reaction. Be vigilant of your body’s reaction as you change over to a carnivorous diet and reintroduce vegetables.
Be sure to consume lots of nutritious animal products such as mussels, salmon, sardines, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats if you adopt this method to make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals.
It is extremely important that your gastrointestinal tract is given the opportunity to mend itself, as dysbiosis and leaky gut can lead to food particles entering your bloodstream and causing an immune response. Stepping away from unhealthy foods gives your body the opportunity to heal.
If you suspect your problems are related to leaky gut, here are some more tips:
- Eliminate dairy, preservatives, and other artificial food additives from your diet.
- Eat lacto-fermented vegetables instead of cooked or raw veggies to heal your gut.
It is simple to make your own probiotic lacto-fermented vegetables – just give your vegetables a rinse and chop them up, place them into a container with some water, and add 2-2.5% of sea salt by weight. You can allow the fermentation process to take place for any stretch of time in between one week and six weeks, or even longer if desired.
Choose the Best Vegetables for Your Keto Diet
Despite the false belief that the ketogenic diet does not provide enough vegetables, there is still plenty of space in the dietary plan to include leafy greens and other beneficial foods.
Just remember to stick with keto-friendly low-carb vegetables. Whenever you can, aim to include one to two portions of vegetables in your meals.
It is equally essential to consume organic and locally grown food whenever possible. Vegetables that are organically cultivated by small-scale agriculturists are more beneficial for your health and the environment.
If you think you may be having a reaction to vegetables, try out the carnivore diet for a couple of weeks to a month, and then gradually add in vegetables again. That way you can gauge where the problem lies.