ABCs of real food

The ABCs of real food


Everybody knows we should ‘eat our greens’ and consume at least ‘five-a-day’ fruit & veg, yet most of us remain pretty clueless as to why. Here are some important reasons why it pays to be a mindful rather than a mindless eater.

Some ABCs underpinning the benefits of Real Food

Antioxidants, Beta-carotene, Carotenoids, these are a few of the properties that underpin why a routine nutrition high in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, herbs and spices are key determinants in our health and general wellbeing.

Oxidation, inflammation – these are the damaging reactions within our bodies we need to minimise for the sake of better health; ready-meals lose a significant amount of their nutritional value due to their processing. By the time of their purchase the ingredients are no longer fresh and will have endured cooked or partially cooked preparation temperatures during manufacturing. To stabilise a ready-meal for a long shelf life means adding preservatives, salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. Consuming ready-meals on a regular basis denies you the nutrients of real food and can contribute to childhood and adult obesity.

The easiest way to eat smart is to max out on the most nutrient rich options: fruit & veg. Just consider the nutritional linked benefits to be gained:


Oxidation reactions can produce cancer causing free radicals. These radicals can start a chain reaction, which can cause damage or death to cells in the body.  Antioxidants are a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules, terminating chain reactions by removing free radicals. The best source of antioxidants is through fresh real food – nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in the body which assist in chemical reactions).


Beta-carotenes are an organic compound and is one of a group of natural chemicals known as carotenes or carotenoids.  Carotenes are responsible for the orange colour of many fruits and vegetables. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, good sources being carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe melon.


Another line of defence against the damaging effects of free radicals, as well as exhibiting anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties, flavonoids are polyphenolic plant compounds and are naturally occurring in fruit, vegetables, green tea and dark chocolate.


Phytonutrient (or phytochemical) is a term that refers to a wide variety of compounds produced by plants that have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Studies have shown that phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of some cancers. The colour of fruits and vegetables can be an indicator to the phytonutrient content, the more colourful or deeper in colour, the higher the content.

Vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, herbs, spices – all plant based real foods rich in nutrition that deliver so many benefits to health and general wellbeing.


Don’t just stop at five-a-day – chalk up a wide variety for the best results.

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          About the author

Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine and a dedicated campaigner for real food. Having researched food since 2009 she believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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