Staying active and eating nutrient-rich foods are proven to ways improve health, and it’s no secret vegetables play a major role in a healthy diet. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, recommends making half your plate fruits and vegetables every day. The government recommends this for good reason. Studies show people who eat fruits and veggies as part of their daily diet have a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease.
A bountiful number of vegetables contain disease-fighting chemicals, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals – which is why most health professionals and nutritionists agree that vegetables are great for overall health. Certain vegetables also have healing properties for specific conditions, including digestive issues, skin and eye problems, and fatigue. Consider these four reasons to add vegetables to your diet:
Digestion — Many vegetables are very high in fiber while otherwise low in fats, sugars, and salts; in turn, they are an excellent choice for anyone looking to reduce bloating and heal their digestive tract. Specific foods to aid in digestion include asparagus, celery, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and leafy greens. Studies show that antioxidants in leafy greens play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy gut. Granted, some people experience digestive issues with raw vegetables, which is why we recommend for those folks to cook their vegetables prior to consumption.
Skin and Immunity — Eating vegetables rich in Vitamin C or carotene can help benefit your skin and boost immunity. For carotenoids, try red peppers, pumpkin, carrots, or sweet potatoes with skin-improving properties. For Vitamin C, bring on the broccoli, which is loaded with vitamins and minerals to support immunity. Note that antioxidants also protect your body from free radicals. Lutein, an antioxidant found in leafy greens like kale and spinach, specifically support cell development, which is vital for healthy skin and supports your immune system.
Eyesight — Orange-colored vegetables high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene are good for vision. Vegetables with carotenoids include carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and others. Studies also show that green leafy vegetables like antioxidant-rich spinach, kale, and collards also play a part in improving eyesight and protecting your eyes from diseases.
Hydration and Energy — Water-rich vegetables that are high in potassium are a source for hydration. Look for plump, crisp veggies like carrots, eggplant, celery, lettuce, and cucumbers to support hydration. For a boost of energy, consider adding peppers to your diet. Hot, spicy, red peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, for which some studies have shown could increase both energy and boost your metabolism. Enjoy peppers with a few tall glasses of water for a hydrating dose of energy.
Some people may need a little encouragement to eat their veggies. We suggest cooking vegetables in a variety of ways, including baking, grilling, and roasting them with exotic herbs. While we don’t endorse drenching vegetables in high-fat dressings, we do suggest drizzling on virgin olive oil, which contains an array of health benefits of its own (See Our Blog About Olive Oil!). We hope these simple tips will inspire you to eat well, live long, and travel far! Eating healthy and incorporating enjoyable activities into your daily routine is a great start for a better life. Be sure to let us know via Twitter or Facebook how you like to eat your veggies.