There actually some benefits of eating vegetables that nutrition experts are always telling people. Here’s more about why this food group is one you should be paying more attention to.
When it comes to eating your veggies— Your Mother was right. They are actually good for you! That probably doesn’t shock you a whole bunch. Most of us have learned that eating veggies are a healthy way to live. But still, most Canadians are not adding to their diet the recommended 2 to 4 cups of vegetables per day. All our locally grown veggies count towards your daily quota. That includes starchy ones (like potatoes), leafy greens, beets and fresh spinach. To help convince you to increase the number of vegetables you eat, here are 10 things that make vegetables so good for your health.
Helps to Fight inflammation
A lot of us suffer from inflammation, especially after a long day working on the farm. Sometimes inflammation is good to let us know when to rest, but too much inflammation is bad for our bodies. Vegetables are one most natural inflammation fighters that you can eat to help you fend off inflammation. They are packed full of antioxidants and phytochemicals to help with inflammation.
Improve blood pressure
Nearly half of Canadians have high blood pressure. When it comes to what you eat and your blood pressure, eating excessive amounts of salt isn’t great. But, eating more potassium-rich veggies can help offset a diet that is high in sodium. Spinach and beets contain large amounts of potassium (amongst other nutrients) and the fibre from all veggies helps to maintain good heart health.
Up your fiber
Most of us don’t even come close to eating our daily recommended amount of fibre(that’s 38g a day for men and 25g a day for women). Eating foods that are high in fibre like whole grains, fruits, beans and yes, vegetables can help supplement this key nutrient. Fibre will help your digestion and your heart mainly but it will also reduce your risk for developing diabetes. All vegetables contain some fibre, so choose a vegetable that you find delicious to get your fill. Artichokes, potatoes and peas all make our list of vegetables with a very healthy amount of fibre.
Help your eyes
Your eyes are very important and your eye health is more of a concern now than ever. We are constantly staring at our phone screens or computers at work, which can actually cause strain on our eyes. If you want to help prevent some of the degradation in your eyesight, eat more vegetables. Red Peppers, spinach, broccoli, and basil all contain Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two carotenoids that help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Improve your skin
Your skin health will depend mostly on staying hydrated, getting good sleep, and limiting your exposure to the sun, but the foods you eat can help too. Lycopene for instance found in tomatoes can actually help prevent sunburn. Be forewarned though, eating tomatoes doesn’t mean you can top using sunscreen. Consuming fresh Kale and avocados regularly can actually improve skin elasticity. Vegetables with a high water content like cucumbers and celery can help keep your skin hydrated and glowing.
Reduce risk of heart disease
Heart disease is widespread throughout Canada and one of the leading causes of death among women and men. Your diet has a major part to play in helping to keep your heart healthy. Vegetables give you potassium and fibre, two nutrients that are good for your heart. By introducing more veggies into your diet you can help manage your weight in a healthier range, which reduces the amount of work your heart has to do. Leafy greens, avocados and tomatoes are all great heart-healthy choices, but all veggies can benefit your heart.
Benefits for blood sugar
Whether or not you have diabetes, veggies are low in calories and high in nutrients and fibre. This high fibre content can help you feel full and reduce your blood sugar spikes during meals. Try putting some arugula in your pasta to add bulk to your meal and keep you satisfied. Chop up some peppers and add them to your tacos or throw in a bunch of cauliflower to your stir-fry. Some veggies are higher in starches and carbohydrates— potatoes, corn, squash, peas—but they can still be included in your meals.
Reduce risk of cancer
No vegetable or food for that matter will keep you cancer-free, but veggies are full of cancer-fighting compounds and antioxidants that may help reduce your risk of getting cancer. Cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and broccoli, have been studied for their ability to fight cancer. They are high in potassium, folate, vitamin C, as well as sulforaphane (highest in broccoli) which may help protect your cells from carcinogens.
Keep your brain young
If you want to be as sharp-minded as your kids, including green veggies in your diet is the way to go. All veggies, especially the leafy green ones, are part of the MIND Diet, which can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and early-onset dementia. The compounds found in the leafy green variety of vegetables deliver key nutrients for your brain including antioxidants and folate.
Improve your immune health
It’s no big secret that eating vegetables impacts your immune system. Abundant in several vegetables, vitamin C is a key nutrient for immune system functionality. People are shocked when they learn that bell peppers and broccoli have more vitamin C than an orange. Eating a well-balanced diet with contributions from all the major food groups is important for your immune system, so include different vegetables as well as fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.