Have you noticed how vegetables are all the rage lately? There are vegan restaurants, stores that sell only green drinks, and meatless Mondays. We all know that vegetables can help you lose weight and help keep chronic disease away. Yet, if you are like most Americans, you are not eating enough vegetables.
As a nutritionist, I hear a lot about vegetables and it’s not usually good. Oh sure, there is the occasional person that comes in and tells me they love vegetables and that they eat tons of them. What I hear more often is that it’s hard to get all the veggies in, or that there is too much prep time involved. I could get into how it seems that as a whole we are much lazier now than ever when it comes to food prep. Why? Well you know – all the fast junk food out there that is ready to eat right now. And certainly, I could go on here forever about junk food. But I’ve done that before and will most likely do it again. For now, I’d like to talk about why veggies are all the rage!
THE BENEFITS OF VEGETABLES
- Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and none have cholesterol. (it’s what you put on them!).
- Vegetables are an important source of many nutrients including potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin A and Vitamin C.
- Eating a diet rich in dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and much lower risk of heart disease.
- Eating a diet rich in vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancer.
- Fight bloat – you might associate vegetables with creating a bloated belly, most vegetables do the opposite, Vegetables are rich in fiber which flushes out waste and gastric irritants and prevent constipation by keeping the digestive tract moving. If, however, you are just starting to put more vegetables into your diet, do so slowly and gradually increase the amount. Your body will get used to it.
- Vegetables prevent unwanted signs of aging and keep skin young and supple thanks to phytonutrients, (nutrients found in plants), vitamin C and high water content.
- Protect your bones! Most folks turn to dairy foods for calcium, however, some veggies like dark leafy greens, kale, broccoli and green peas have more calcium than dairy foods do.
Eating vegetables, which are super rich in nutrients as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of kidney stones, and help decrease bone loss. The list of vegetable benefits are many, but remember that your mom had it right when she told you to eat your vegetables!