Everyone knows you’re supposed to eat your veggies every day. But in the big scheme of life, does it really make a difference? You bet it does! Eating your greens can provide the vitamins and nutrients that you need to have a happy, long life. Veggies can even help control your weight and fight off chronic disease. What’s not to love about these green super stars? Let’s take a closer look at why vegetables rock your food life and how you can incorporate them into your daily routine.
The Real Superfood
Vegetables are jam-packed with nutrients and minerals that your body needs to function properly. Your greens contain potassium that help regulate your blood pressure, fiber that helps reduce cholesterol levels and folic acid that help you have healthy red blood cell stores, which is very important if you’re expecting a child. Vegetables also contain vitamin A which protects your eye health, vitamin C that boosts your immunity and vitamin E which helps your skin. If that’s not enough to start downing the greens, there’s more! Consuming a healthy diet of vegetables can make you feel fuller and you’ll be less likely to fill up on calories that are high in sugar which ultimately leads to less weight gain.
What’s the Deal with Veggie Juice?
A new and exciting way to get your daily intake of veggies is to juice. In recent years, there’s been a lot of attention given to the topic of whether to drink veggie juice or just eat raw vegetables. Is one way better than the other? The truth is that juicing your vegetables still gives you the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that you would get by eating raw veggies. The difference comes when you look at the fiber. Juicing cuts out some of the digestive system-boosting fiber out of your meal. This can be bad if you were hoping to reap those benefits. If not, then juicing can be a great way to still get the nutrients you need without having to actually eat the vegetables. You can drink them instead. If you have children and can’t get them to get their veggies, mixing veggies into a yummy smoothie can do the trick! So what’s the answer? Studies are still underway but it looks like whatever means you use to get your vegetables is a good way to get them.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Vegetables
We’ve already covered a ton of ways that vegetables are important to your daily life and your future longevity. Here are 10 ways your body can benefit from getting all the green:
Reduces your Cancer Risk
When you add vegetables to your already healthy lifestyle, it can help reduce your cancer risk or slow the progression of some types of cancer. This is because vegetables are packed full of antioxidants which studies have shown help to block free radicals that cause cancer in the body.
Prevents Heart Disease
Getting potassium and iron in your daily diet can help reduce the risk of having a heart attack or heart disease by helping boost your blood cell storage and aiding in the healthy flow of blood to your organs.
Lowers the Risk of Obesity
Eating a diet high in vegetable means you are getting full on less calories and training your body to want to eat healthier choices. Instilling a love of vegetables in your children can help them fight off obesity throughout their entire lives because children who are obese will most likely turn into obese adults which can lead to a ton of chronic diseases.
Controls Blood Pressure
Vegetables are low in sodium and calories and can help lower your blood pressure. A diet that contains too much salt can likely spike blood pressure to unhealthy levels.
Eating your greens help keep your blood sugar stable which can reduce the risk of diabetes. And since obesity is a leading cause of diabetes, vegetables can also help prevent the chronic disease by keeping your weight in check.
Aids in Pregnancy
Along with a healthy lifestyle, vegetables are very important for a growing baby. Folic acid can help fight off spina-bifida and other neural tube defects. It can also help the mother have a healthy pregnancy, as well as, provide essential nutrients for the growing baby.
Reduces Chance of Stroke
Hypertension is the leading cause of stroke. Eating a diet that is high in fiber and low in sodium can help your levels stay in check and reduce your risk of a stroke.
Provides Essential Nutrients
Vegetables are packed with nutrients and vitamins like A, C and E. You need these nutrients to live a healthy life and increase your longevity.
Boosts your Immunity
Having the correct amount of vitamin C and other nutrients can help keep your immune system functioning properly. This will help to ward-off sickness and help you recover from sickness easier.
Helps Everything Run Smoothly
Vegetables are high in fiber which help aid your digestive system in running properly. Veggies help fight constipation and keep you on a regular cycle. Studies show vegetables can also help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a painful condition that causes diarrhea and stomach pain.
All Veggies are not Created Equal
Did you know that there are some vegetables that you should buy organic because they’ve been found to have high levels of pesticide residue? These are known as The Dirty Dozen. On the list are 12 products that when tested had the most pesticide residue. Buy the following items in the organic section if possible: Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Imported Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce and Potatoes. The items with the least pesticide residue are: Onions, Avocado, Frozen Sweet Corn, Pineapples, Mango, Asparagus, Sweet Peas (Frozen), Kiwi Fruit, Bananas, Cabbage, Broccoli and Papaya.
Tips to Help you Get the Green
So how many vegetables do you need to eat each day? The daily recommended intake of vegetables is one to four cups of veggies each day. This may mean filling up your plate with half of vegetables at every meal. If you know it’s important to eat your vegetables each day but you’re having a hard time actually doing it. These tips can help you add a little more green to your plate each day:
- Hide your veggies. If you hate the taste of vegetables, try to mask them with other food options. Add broccoli to your Mac & Cheese, make an omelet or blend spinach in a strawberry smoothie. You’ll be reaping the benefits and hiding the flavor!
- Buy Frozen. Did you know that vegetables are frozen at the peak of freshness? This means they’re almost just as nutritionally good as fresh vegetables. It’s also a cost-effective way to get your greens.
- Plant a Garden. When you put time and effort into planting your vegetables and watching them grow, you may be more inclined to eat them.
- Try new options. We all get sick of the broccoli and peas routine, so why not try out some fun new veggies like spinach, garlic or okra. Making it more fun by trying something new can help you find a vegetable you really like.
- Keep a food diary. Writing down just how many veggies you’re really eating can help your mind work out the need for eating more. You may just train yourself to say yes to those pre-dinner salads!
Vegetables are so great for your well-being. They help everything from your body to your mind. Vegetables help build muscle and make you feel stronger. They also fight off sickness and increase your life span. The best news is that you can change your diet starting today! Even if you were a terrible eater beforehand, you can start making healthy choices at your next meal. You don’t have to turn all veggie-only all at once. Start small and make little changes to your diet. Before you know it, you’ll be consciously making healthy choices that will help your longevity for years to come. Who knew all of those wonderful benefits could be packed in such tiny, little packages! Go forth and eat well!