Another advantage of whole foods is their natural synergy. It has been consistently shown instudies that the health benefits from food are better when it is consumed containing as many of the original array of nutrients as possible. However, studies on isolated nutrients have mixedresults. For example, foods that are high in beta-carotene, like carrots, have been shown toreduce the risk of cancer, but the same result was not achieved when a synthetic form of beta-carotene was used. It is thought that it may be the combination of many or all of the phytonutrients found in whole foods that provides the protection.Whole foods also provide our bodies protection in the form of antioxidants like Vitamin C,Vitamin E, Selenium, Zinc, Flavonoids and Carotenoids. Antioxidants enhance our immunesystems and also counteract free radicals and other unstable molecules that are present in our cells from UV radiation, toxins and pollutants. If free radicals are not neutralized they canincrease the development of diseases like cancer, arthritis and diabetes. The antioxidants in foodswork together as a team, so to reap the benefits your body needs the full spectrum that is provided by a varied whole foods diet, not just high amounts of one like vitamin C.Essential nutrients, Vitamins C and E are two important antioxidants that are readily available inmany whole foods. Actually, Vitamin C is easily destroyed by lengthy storage and/or excesslight so the best source is a fresh one. One of the key nutrients in fruits and vegetables that protects against cancer, it is also thought to decrease the risk of strokes and heart disease and cancounteract or protect against colds and some infectious diseases. It functions as part of a nutrientteam with Vitamin E and Carotenoids which are not usually present at all in processed foods.Vitamin E is actually a family of eight different nutrients and many supplements only containone of these. They are all important for cell membranes that act as gateways to allow nutrients inand wastes out, keeping potentially destructive molecules from entering your cells. Getting your Vitamin E from a natural source ensures that you are receiving the entire family of nutrients andthe bioavailability is also higher meaning that more gets into your body. Broccoli, bell peppersand oranges are good sources of Vitamin C while Vitamin E can be found in foods likesunflower seeds, almonds and spinach and Carotenoids are available in carrots, tomatoes andspinach.You can also greatly increase your fiber intake by adding whole foods to your diet; fruits andwhole grains are some of the best sources. Fiber helps rid our bodies of carcinogens, toxins andexcess hormones like estrogen and is necessary for healthy digestion. It also provides protectionfrom heart disease, lowers total cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and decreases the risk for breast cancer. There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber promotesexcretion while soluble supports the intestinal tract and decreases glucose levels. Whole grainsare a great concentrated source of insoluble fiber and fruit skins have high amounts of solublefiber.Switching to whole grains is one of the easiest changes to make for a beginner to a whole foodsdiet. It does not require any additional preparation and there are many options readily availablein most grocery stores. However, pay close attention to the ingredients list. Just because the package states "wheat" it does not necessarily mean it is a whole grain. The first ingredientshould state whole wheat flour or whole some other grain flour. If it only states wheat flour, it isnot a whole grain. Whole grains provide high levels of minerals as well as a range of vitaminsand essential fats. When it is processed, the grain loses its bran where most of the fiber, mineralsand B vitamins are stored. Processing also removes the germ which contains the essential fatsand the family of Vitamin E nutrients. This leaves a grain with a large amount of simplecarbohydrates and starch, a bit of protein and only a few vitamins from a food that started outwith thousands of healthy nutrients and a wide variety of vitamins.