Finally! Vegetables are getting some attention. Most people still don’t eat enough of them, but these days at least most people are aware that they should be eating them. We can no longer ignore the mountain of evidence supporting vegetable consumption for optimal health.
The primary reason people avoid eating vegetables is because they don’t taste good. Many traditional methods of cooking vegetables rob them of their colors, textures, and flavors as well as their vital nutrients. We recommend cooking your vegetables lightly or eating them raw. Dressing your vegetables with a healthy fat and a flavorful acid such as lemon or lime can make them taste amazing! A wide variety of seasonings also add to the flavor profile. Hundreds of recipes are available; you just have to look.
Current dietary guidelines recommend eating at least 2-3 servings of vegetables per day, but at A to Zinc, we recommend doubling the recommended intake. There are many reasons to eat vegetables every day but here we’ll look at the three most important.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Vegetables are the most nutritious food with the least number of calories. You can eat nearly all the vegetables you want and not have to worry about packing on the extra pounds. This is especially important in a world where obesity is the fastest growing disease in the US. Furthermore, vegetables contain all the necessary nutrients to turn the carbohydrates in vegetables to energy rather than storing the energy as fat.
A recent USDA study found that people whose diets consisted of more than 55% carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains ate an average of 200-300 fewer calories in a day. They also had the lowest Body Mass Index scores (BMI). One of the main reasons vegetables contribute to a healthy weight is their fiber content. Fiber doesn’t digest but it does fill you up. A meal with 2-3 servings of vegetables will make you feel full sooner and longer, reducing calorie intake from other foods higher in calories.
2. Feel Energized
Energy and vitality are necessary to really enjoy life both physically and emotionally. Vegetables are a great source of complex carbohydrates. The starch found in vegetables is turned into glucose, which is the sugar used to produce energy in our cells. People on a low carbohydrate diet sometimes avoid vegetables. They might lose weight and have energy initially, but eventually they will be unable to sustain that type of diet due to lack of energy and potentially ill health.
Eating vegetables in their whole food state also ensures that you’ll be eating fewer food chemicals. Processed foods force the body to work at detoxing; this forces our metabolic systems into survival mode rather than thriving.
3. Optimal Health
Vegetables are the richest of all foods in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The most important of these include the B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals like zinc and calcium. Water soluble vitamins like the Bs and C need to be consumed regularly as our bodies do not store them for future use. Eating an abundance of these is critical to long-term health but can also make a difference in how you look and feel.
Many people avoid dairy for a variety of reasons and worry that they won’t get enough calcium in their diet to ensure adequate bone health. Vegetables are the richest source of calcium without the risk of proinflammatory components found in dairy foods. Another reason to eat them daily and in great quantities!
The Right Vegetables for You
A to Zinc Nutrition specializes in reducing inflammation with foods and nutrients unique to individuals. You might be eating a diet rich in vegetables, but you are still not able to optimize your health. That’s where we come in!
Kari Collett, RDN, LDN, CLT with A to Zinc Nutrition, LLC
To learn more about optimizing your health, schedule a free Discovery Call: https://atozincnutrition.com/schedule/