From the time you were a toddler, you heard that you needed to eat your vegetables. Despite that fact, I can’t tell you how many adults I know who do not incorporate enough veggies into their diet! I hear reasons like “I don’t like the taste” or “I just don’t have time to cook”.
I get it; it’s hard to eat healthy all the time. But there are so many benefits to making sure your body gets the nutrients it needs through your veggie intake. Eating vegetables provides several health benefits, and people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.
Check out this excerpt from choosemyplate.gov on why it’s important to eat vegetables:
· Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. None have cholesterol. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat, calories, and/or cholesterol.)
· Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.
· Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
· Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as vegetables help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
· Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
· Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
· Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption.
· Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
· Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
· Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
· Eating vegetables and fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
· Eating foods such as vegetables that are lower in calories per cup instead of some other higher-calorie food may be useful in helping to lower calorie intake.
For all these reasons, incorporating vegetables into your diet should be a no-brainer! If you need some inspiration of how to do so, check out these 31 quick and healthy veggie side dishes in 30 minutes or less.
Eating a consistent variety of 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables each day may be a challenge for you. Find out how I bridge the gap: www.khawkins.juiceplus.com.
Wishing you health and happiness,