Vegetables provide our bodies with many important nutrients. They support the immune system, help prevent sickness and disease and keep our hearts healthy.
Most medical experts recommend consuming several servings of vegetables and fruits daily. Eating a variety of veggies gives you the most benefit for your health. Replacing low-nutrient foods with vegetables is an excellent way to improve your diet and your overall health.
High in Nutrients
Many vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help your body thrive. They also contain fiber and low-calorie carbs that help you feel full and promote weight loss. They can be eaten raw, steamed, sauteed, roasted or added to soups and stir-fries.
Leafy green vegetables are a great source of calcium, which helps keep your bones strong. They are also a good source of vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system and fight disease. Vegetables like carrots are rich in beta carotene, which may reduce your risk of heart disease and eye health problems. Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, which can help lower your cholesterol.
Vegetables are also a great source of potassium, which can help prevent high blood pressure. Try adding spinach, sweet potatoes and tomato products to your diet to get more of this important nutrient. Getting enough vegetables in your diet can help lower your risk of developing chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and cancer. They can also help lower your blood sugar levels and provide nutrients to combat inflammation.
Helps Fight Inflammation
A diet that is high in vegetables and low in processed foods can help reduce inflammation levels in the body. High levels of inflammation can cause a wide range of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants that can help fight the causes of inflammation in the body.
Antioxidants in veggies, like quercetin in onions and sulforaphane in broccoli, decrease the production of inflammatory enzymes in the body. They also contain vitamin C, a natural anti-inflammatory.
In addition, a diet full of veggies will provide many other health benefits. For example, green leafy vegetables are rich in dietary fiber which can help prevent bowel problems. They are also a great source of potassium which can help lower blood pressure levels.
In short, a healthy diet is incomplete without veggies. To reap the most benefits, try to include a variety of vegetables in your meals each day. Aim for a rainbow of colors when choosing your vegetables so that you can get a good mix of nutrients. The best time to eat veggies is when they are fresh, but frozen and canned vegetables still provide many benefits.
Low in Calories
Vegetables have very low calorie counts and are full of nutrients. Eating them can help you stay in control of your weight and prevent high blood sugar, which is often associated with type 2 diabetes.
The term’vegetables’ includes any edible portion of a plant, including leaves, stems, flowers, roots and tubers. This includes cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli, but also leafy greens such as kale and arugula. Roots and tubers are included in this category as well, such as cassava and yams.
Most non-starchy veggies are very low in calories. In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends filling half your plate with them at meals. These veggies are low in sodium and rich in potassium and other vitamins and minerals. They’re also a good source of fiber, which helps your body pass food more quickly through the digestive tract. Starchy vegetables, such as corn and potatoes, are high in carbohydrates and can have a direct effect on your blood sugar, but they’re healthier than refined carbohydrates like white rice, pasta and bread. They’re also high in vitamin C.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
Your mom probably told you that vegetables were good for you, and she was right. Vegetables contain important vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help protect against many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Adding vegetables to your meals can help you control your weight by filling you up and providing the fiber you need. Vegetables are also low in calories, making them a dieter’s best friend. You can snack on veggies like carrots, cherry tomatoes or celery slices for a healthy alternative to higher-calorie foods like chips or cookies.
Vegetables also provide a great source of protein, which is helpful for vegetarians and people following medical diets. You can get protein from a variety of vegetables, including beans, lentils and quinoa. However, some people find it hard to digest the proteins found in vegetables, and may experience excessive gas from eating them. If this is the case for you, it’s important to work with a registered dietitian to meal-plan and better understand your food intolerances.
Helps Fight Cancer
A diet rich in vegetables may lower a person’s cancer risk, according to research. Vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and other members of the cabbage family (Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower) contain cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates. These plants help halt DNA damage, and in the case of cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and kale, can also deactivate carcinogens.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have also been shown to protect against other types of cancer, as well as heart disease and high blood pressure. They are also a good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber.
Eating a variety of different vegetables and fruits is best for your health. Try to eat vegetables in their raw form, as cooking and processing can diminish certain vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Limit fruit juice, as it contains lots of added sugars that aren’t healthy for you. If you prefer to eat cooked vegetable, steam them or stir-fry them to retain their phytochemicals and other nutrients. Add a variety of steamed vegetables to your meals and try new recipes that include fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits.