Most of us have been pushed to eat our vegetables from as early as we can remember, but not all of us follow this age-old advice. Eating the right types of foods can truly make all of the difference in your health and your life. However, it can be difficult to know what the best food is to eat, since diet trends are ever-changing.
Vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods available because they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many people consider vegetables to be a superfood. So, why exactly is it so important to eat them every day? This article will delve into the health benefits and more to help explain why you should eat vegetables every day as well as steps for making it happen.
1. Improved Gut Digestion
Your gut health is essential to your overall health. Most of the body’s nerves connect to the digestive tract, meaning your gut health influences a whole lot more than just your actual digestion. Keeping your gut healthy could benefit your mental health and ability to stay focused.
Vegetables are said to benefit gut digestion since they contain fiber, which encourages healthy bowel movements by helping the body break down food. Root vegetables as well as green leafy vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals that might help to nourish the healthy bacteria that exist in the gut — also known as the gut microbiome. Increasing your consumption of nutrient-rich vegetables can help to improve your digestion and encourage better absorption of nutrients from your food.
2. Enhanced Immunity and Combat Illnesses
Your body’s immune system helps to identify threats like bacteria and viruses to keep you healthy and prevent sickness. When you eat vegetables that are high in nutrients, it can help to support your immune system so that your body can better fight off any threats of sickness or infection. Some of the most immunity-supporting vegetables include dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale, and brightly colored root veggies, like carrots and beets. These vegetables can go a long way in preventing sickness and supporting the immune system.
It is good to eat a wide variety of different vegetables to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs to thrive. Nutrient deficiencies can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections and diseases. To prevent this, incorporating an array of vegetables into your diet can help ensure adequate nutrient intake and support overall health.
3. Help Manage Weight Loss
Replacing processed, low-nutrient foods with high-quality whole foods like vegetables can help you live a healthier life and maintain a healthy weight, which can in turn lower your risk of heart disease and improve your quality of life.
If you’ve been struggling with weight gain, then you may benefit from incorporating more vegetables into your meals. The more you incorporate vegetables into your diet instead of lower-nutrient foods, the better you’ll be eating. Most vegetables are naturally low in calories and fat, and even those that are higher in calories are beneficial, since they have the benefit of being nutrient-rich.
When you eat foods that don’t have nutrients and are high in calories, these are referred to as “empty calories” since your body is getting a high dose of calories with no nutritional gain. Try swapping out some unhealthy snacks (like chips or cookies) for vegetables instead. Some of the best snacking vegetables include carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery and cucumber slices.
Vegetables will help you stay full for longer and truly satiate hunger, rather than acting as a temporary filler as some more unhealthy snacks do, which will aid in weight loss. Vegetables allow you to eat more while maintaining a low calorie count, and by eating them, you’re benefiting your body — it truly is a win-win.
4. Boosted Energy Levels
Feeling tired and fatigued can cause major inconvenience in life. Unfortunately, over 40% percent of adults struggle with feeling tired throughout the day. Eating plenty of dark leafy green vegetables, like kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard, helps to provide your body with iron, magnesium and B vitamins, all of which help to maintain proper energy levels.
Iron helps to carry blood throughout the body and maintain oxygenation. Proper oxygenation helps with alertness and mental focus. Magnesium has many functions, and it may help to support healthy sleep patterns (you can’t feel energized throughout the day if you aren’t sleeping enough). B vitamins help the cells turn fuel into energy.
If you’re dragging throughout the day, it may have to do with the fact that you aren’t getting enough vegetables in your diet. Start eating more veggies in order to have natural energy that will actually last throughout the day. Starchy vegetables contain plenty of carbohydrates, which can help fuel the body and maintain energy levels.
5. Lower Risk for Chronic Disease
Chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are increasingly common in today’s society. Eating vegetables is one of the most essential daily practices for good health. Because vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients while also being low in calories and fat, they benefit your body in many ways, such as reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system.
Eating a variety of different vegetables every day will keep your body healthy, making you less likely to develop a chronic disease hypertension. Additionally, consuming vegetables with a low glycemic index, such as leafy greens, can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
6. Encourage Healthy Aging
It’s no secret that things start to change as we get older. Most people can relate to the feeling of getting older, whether they’re experiencing lower energy levels or regular aches and pains. Eating healthy vegetables might help your body age gracefully by supporting you with complete nutrition and all the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that you need.
Because vegetables are high in nutrients like vitamin C and beta carotene, they can help protect your cells from damage and keep your body healthy on a cellular level. Studies have found that diets high in vegetables can help reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease — chronic conditions that are increasingly common in older age.
7. Improved Eye Health
Eating the right vegetables on a regular basis may help to improve your eye health, allowing you to see clearly and be less likely to need corrective lenses. Here are some vegetables that can help to support eye health:
- Collard greens
These vegetables are high in nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which have both been found to help improve eye health.
8. Cardiovascular Disease
One study found that diets high in fresh fruits and vegetables improve heart health. In the study, participants were fed a diet high in fruits and vegetables over the course of eight weeks. After the eight weeks were over, they were tested for certain blood markers of heart damage. The study found that the levels of the participants were lower after eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit.
9. Reduced Risk for Certain Types of Cancer
Cancer is one of the most common causes of death and one of the most common chronic illnesses in our society today. Eating a healthy diet high in vegetables can help to lower your risk of cancer.
Because vegetables are loaded with nutrients, they can help fight oxidative stress and inflammation, both factors that could lead to cancer growth when not kept under control. Some of the best vegetables to help prevent cancer include dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower.
10. Increased Intake of Essential Nutrients & Fibers
Vegetables are whole foods, meaning they grow from the earth and are rich in nutrients. Eating vegetables naturally increases your intake of nutrients and vitamins, reducing the need to take supplements and vitamins. Some nutrients that are found in vegetables include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and dietary fiber. These nutrients can help reduce inflammation and support overall health.
It is important to eat a mix of all different types of vegetables to ensure that you’re getting a wide range of nutrients in your diet. Try to avoid just sticking to one type of vegetable. Some nutrient-rich vegetables that we recommend include the following:
- Sweet potatoes
- Brussel sprouts
Try to aim to include some type of vegetables in most of your meals. You can also replace packaged and processed snacks with whole-food snacks like vegetables to help increase your vegetable intake throughout the day. The American Heart Association recommends consuming four servings of vegetables every day to reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
11. The Environmental Impact of Eating More Vegetables
Did you know that eating more vegetables will not only influence your health but that of the planet and those around you as well? That’s right, plant-based diets are better for the planet when compared to diets that include animal products like meats and dairy.
This is because the farming industry can have a negative impact on the planet by occupying natural land and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Eating more vegetables can produce less waste, since vegetables usually involve less packaging and tend to have a decent shelf life.
The more you replace packaged foods with vegetables, the less single-use plastic packaging you’ll be using. Also, choosing to make more plant-based meals rather than those that are animal-based or meat centric can help to reduce your carbon footprint.
When your parents encouraged you to finish your serving of vegetables at dinner, they had a good reason for it. Vegetables provide your body with a plethora of essential nutrients that work to keep you healthy and live longer. The nutrients found in vegetables might help to reduce signs of aging, minimize your risk of developing a chronic disease, keep your eyes healthy and so much more.
It is worth it to take the time to figure out how you can incorporate more vegetables into your diet. There are so many delicious and nutritious vegetables out there to add to your daily meal plans. Try adding a new vegetable recipe into your diet today.