You’ve probably been hearing “eat your vegetables” all your life, but wonder if doing so is really worth your while. There’s a reason vegetables have their own food group and knowing more about why veggies are good for you may motivate you to boost your intake.
Vitamins and Antioxidants
One of the main health benefits of vegetables is their high nutrient content. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that contribute to growth and the maintenance of good health. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that many vegetables are high in potassium, which is important for healthy blood pressure. Various vitamins, such as C and A, help keep eyes, skin, teeth and gums healthy, fight infection and promote wound healing. Perhaps most importantly, vegetables are rich in a particular group of nutrients called antioxidants, which fight cellular damage and help prevent heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease, says the Linus Pauling Institute.
Healthy Weight Management
Getting in a variety of vegetables each day lowers your risk for being overweight or obese. One study found higher intakes of non-starchy vegetables like cauliflower and leafy greens are associated with lower body weights. One reason is the fiber in vegetables fills you up without the extra calories. Starchy veggies however, such as corn, peas and potatoes, had the opposite effect. So if healthy weight management is your goal, try boosting your intake of fiber-rich non-starchy vegetables (greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, and many more).
One reason vegetables are so beneficial for your health is because they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and non-starchy veggies are low in calories (but still help fill you up). Many veggies are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein, which appear to help protect against a whole host of health problems (dementia, cancer and many others). Replacing junk food, especially added sugar, with nutrient-rich veggies will help your energy levels skyrocket.