By: Harvyn Valentin & Bryan Rowland
Why consuming vegetables in your diet is so important….
Energy Balance Control
- Control Calories
- Fiber/ Hydration
- Digestion and detoxification
Vegetables have a lot of volume, but not a lot of calories. They fill up your stomach without adding a lot of extra calories, which can help you control energy balance (calories in vs calories out). Vegetables help you maintain a healthy body weight and lose body fat without leaving you feeling too hungry. Vegetables contain high amounts of fiber which helps keep you feeling fuller longer, assist in digestion, and also aids in maintaining a healthy “gut”. The extra water provided by vegetables helps support lean body mass and increase hydration levels. This waters helps fiber do its job.
There are many ways to increase vegetable consumption. You can eat them raw in a salad, lightly steam or cook them, juice them, or add them to soups and stews. Fermenting vegetables is a way of turning them into a “superfood” with additional benefits. The fermenting process produces beneficial microbes that are extremely important for health as they help balance your intestinal flora, thereby boosting overall immunity. It can detox your body of unwanted toxins.
- Disease Prevention
Vegetables contain a variety of nutrients that help the body function properly and prevent disease. Phytochemicals are nutrients only found to occur in plants that have been shown to provide multiple health benefits. They offer DNA protection against free radicals, protect against cancer, decrease the risk of heart disease, and reduce overall mortality,
DID YOU KNOW!?…. Studies suggest that consuming a diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components (such as those found in vegetables) may help reduce the negative effect of aging (specifically on the brain) and the risk of developing neurodegenerative disease. Clinical research demonstrates that a diet rich in plants (including plenty of fruits & vegetables) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as other chronic diseases. For instance, by simply increasing vegetable and fruit intake, experts predict that we could prevent 20% or more of all cancer cases and avoid approximately 200,000 cancer-related deaths annually!!!
Many plant antioxidants are stored in the leaves, where oxygen is active in photosynthesis. Others appear in plant pigments (for example, the anthocyanins that make the blue-purple colors of blackberries and blueberries) and the chemical defenses of plant skins (for example, quercetin in apple skins).
Vegetables should make up the base of everyone’s nutritional pyramid. They are the foundation of a high-quality and healthy diet. A higher level of vegetable consumption is associated with a lower incidence of:
· Cardiovascular disease
· Colon cancer
· High blood cholesterol
· High blood pressure
· Prostate cancer
· Type 2 diabetes
· Eye disease
· Cervical cancer
· Breast cancer
· Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
· Endometrial cancer
· Gastric cancer
· Lung cancer
· Ovarian cancer
· Pancreatic cancer
· Thyroid cancer
For example, potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure, dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, and folate (folic acid) helps the body form healthy red blood cells.
DID YOU KNOW!?....Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and spina bifida during fetal development.
In short, the benefits to eating your vegetables are ENDLESS!!!! Regardless of age, gender, or fitness goals, we all have to make vegetables a staple of our daily nutrition.