Vegetables should form the cornerstone of a healthy diet, yet many people fail to eat enough vegetables each day. However, there are significant advantages in eating more vegetables and finding ways to incorporate them into your diet more easily.
Vegetables contain almost all the vitamins and minerals needed by your body; they are low in calories and high in fibre. Gut bacteria break down the fibre in vegetables to short-chain fatty acids that nourish the gut and provide beneficial bacteria.
Vegetables are very versatile too, as you can steam or cook them, or eat them raw. Some people prefer to juice them or add them to soups or stews. Another increasingly popular way to consume vegetables is by fermenting them, which produces beneficial microbes that help intestinal flora, boosting the immune system.
Six Reasons to Include More Veggies in Your Diet
If you know you don’t eat enough vegetables, consider these benefits:
Vegetables contain valuable phytochemicals and have a high water content that helps keep your skin healthy. Also, red and orange vegetables contain carotenoid pigments, and which can help your skin to glow with good health. Eat more vegetables if you want to look younger for longer, as they are known for having anti-ageing benefits, helping to maintain firmer skin and fighting wrinkles.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Because vegetables contain lots of fibre but are low in net carbs, they can help you manage your weight more easily. If you are trying to lose weight, they will keep you full for longer.
It’s been discovered that fibre helps to suppress your appetite, so you feel more satiated and less prone to snacking unhealthily. Many people want to lose weight for health reasons and eating more vegetables can be very helpful. Eating more fibre can help improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and it helps to protect cardiovascular health.
Improving Gut Health
Constipation is extremely common and can cause painful cramping and bloating. When you eat plenty of fibre, it helps prevent this problem. Vegetables are especially beneficial because they also contain lots of water and promote better gut health by nourishing helpful bacteria.
Better Athletic Performance
Good nutrition is crucial for athletes, and specific vegetables have found to be beneficial for endurance and can speed up recovery. These include watercress and beetroot and tomato juice.
Improved Sense of Well-Being
Vegetables provide you with plenty of energy and especially if you reduce consumption of processed foods at the same time. Also, there is some evidence that increasing your intake of vegetables can improve your overall sense of well-being and other traits associated with happiness, such as greater creativity and curiosity in life.
Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease
Vegetables have been found to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases that include heart disease, some cancers and diabetes. This is because of their high fibre content that, if you remember, is broken down into short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids can decrease the risk of inflammatory diseases. A specific gene that produces immune cells in the gut is also activated when you eat leafy green vegetables. These immune cells help prevent inflammatory diseases.
Gut bacteria break down the fibre in vegetables to short-chain fatty acids that nourish the gut and provide beneficial bacteria.
Ideally, it is best to eat a range of colourful veggies, but be sure to include some that are purple. These contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that are linked with reducing the risk of diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological dysfunction.
If you want to reduce your risk of cancer, think about eating more cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, brussels sprouts broccoli and cabbage. These help to inhibit cancer cell growth and promote cell death. Yet another anti-cancer compound found in certain veggies is luteolin and which could help slow the progression of breast cancer. It is found in carrots, peppers and celery.