The health benefits of vegetables usually show in long run by improving your overall health and keeping the internal systems in perfect condition. The consumption of vegetables takes care of your digestive, excretory, and skeletal system, as well as blood pressure levels. With a diet rich in vegetables, you are being benefited with abundant antioxidants that keep away diseases like cancer, cardiovascular problems and strokes. Moreover, vegetables deliver ample amounts of vitamins, including folate, vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin B6, as well as carotenoids like beta carotene from carrots, lycopene from tomatoes, zeaxanthin from greens, and lutein from spinach and collard greens. Vegetables also help in keeping your weight under control and promoting healthy skin and hair. There have been innumerable research studies done all over the world that strongly suggest having fresh, green vegetables on a regular basis is far better than going for supplementary tablets to get the wholesome nutrition that you need.
Nutritional Value Of Vegetables
Antioxidants: Did you know that including vegetables in your diet is probably the easiest way to stay healthy, trim and nourished? Since vegetables are low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, they help you to stay in optimum health over the long term by keeping your weight in check. According to a recent study, plant-based foods contain antioxidants (polyphenols) that may improve blood sugar in people at risk for diabetes and heart disease.
As mentioned earlier, vegetables have abundant levels of antioxidants that prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Dark green vegetables have lots of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are essential for the proper functioning of your body. Deficiencies of these vitamins and minerals can lead to serious deficiencies of your bones, teeth and vital organs. Moreover, antioxidants boost the body’s immunity and keeps from developing infections and diseases. Leafy green vegetables have a bioflavonoid known as ‘Quercetin’. This is responsible for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of vegetables along with its unique, anticancer properties. Quercetin also effectively cuts down the flow of substances that lead to allergies. This compound plays the role of an inhibitor of mass cell secretion, thereby decreasing the release of interleukin-6. Most of the green, yellow and orange vegetables also have high percentage of calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-complex, vitamin A, vitamin-C, vitamin K, zea-xanthins, α and β carotenes and crypto-xanthins.
Dietary Fiber: Vegetables are great options for consuming dietary fiber. Owing to the high percentage of fiber level in vegetables, your digestive track stays well toned. Vegetables are abundant in soluble as well as insoluble dietary fiber, known as non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). This dietary fiber absorbs the extra water in your colon and thereby retains the moisture content in the fecal matter. This aids in digestion, preventing chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, and diarrhea. Your digestive system becomes sleeker and its ability to process foods becomes smoother, keeping many ailments away. Eating more fiber-rich foods keep your digestive system clear and healthy, helping you to avoid problems like constipation, bowel irregularity, colon cancer and even polyps. Since they have high fiber, vegetables also tend to make you feel full for longer, and stops unnecessary snacking, so they can help reduce your weight.
Cancer Prevention: Cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli have a high content of indoles and isothiocyanates. These components have protective properties against colon cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer and other types of cancers. Broccoli sprouts have immensely higher sulforaphane than the matured broccolis, which is a cancer-protective substance. Furthermore, as said before, since vegetables are great antioxidants, they also alleviate the chances of fatal diseases like cancer.
Proteins and Amino Acids: If you eat less animal products in your diet, you must ensure that your diet is high in protein-rich vegetables to compensate for the proteins that you are missing. Once you have the correct combination of vegetables in your meals, you will gain ample amount of amino acids that are required to live healthy. Eat plenty of beans and spinach, along with whole grain rice for a balanced meal.
Water Content: Vegetables naturally have high levels of water; this is the reason why they are generally fat free and low in calories. You can rest assured of both your weight and health once you start on a vegetable-rich diet. The more you consume vegetables, the more the water intake that flushes out waste products and toxins from your body.
Minerals: Green leafy vegetables are high in magnesium and a have low glycemic index, thus proving to be helpful for patients with type 2 diabetes. If you eat at least 1 serving of green leafy vegetables each day, it will considerably lower the risks of diabetes. Green vegetables are also rich in iron and calcium, except for Swiss chard and spinach, since they are high in oxalic acid.
Vitamins: In general, vegetables have a high vitamin content. However, vitamin K is usually prevalent in almost all vegetables. The high level of vitamin K in green vegetables makes them an ideal and natural way to prevent bone problems. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of osteocalcin, a protein mandatory for proper bone health. In a survey, the addition of green, leafy vegetables considerably decreased the chances of hip fractures in middle-aged women.
Prevention of Hypertension: Recent research study suggests that Mediterranean diet comprising of food rich in unsaturated fats (found in olive oil and nuts) and nitrite and nitrate (found in leafy green vegetables) may help protect you from hypertension.
Lycopene and Beta Carotene: Green vegetables have high levels of beta-carotene, which improve immune function considerably once it is converted into vitamin A. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which protects your eyes from vision problems. A diet deficient in green vegetables often leads to the possibilities of blindness, and other illnesses in children and adults.
Allyl sulfides: Garlic, onions, chives, leeks and scallions are rich in allyl sulfides that help in lowering high blood pressure and protecting the stomach and digestive tract from fatal diseases like cancer.
Multimorbidity: Recent research suggests that greater consumption of vegetable, whole grain products and fruits may lower the risk of multimorbidity.
Good Health: Eating fruit and vegetables may promote emotional well-being among healthy young adults. Research suggests that good mood may lead to greater preference for healthy foods over indulgent foods.
How Many Vegetables Should We Eat?
It is said that the more vegetables we consume, the more benefits to our health we will enjoy. You should consume at least 2.5 to 6.5 cups of fresh vegetables every day. Also, make sure you eat 4-5 different types of vegetables. The more variety and colors of vegetables you include in your diet, the more extensive the benefits to your health will be. Also, include seasonal vegetables in your diet. Some vegetables are only available in certain areas of the world at certain times of the year. If you are in a country or a city with a large amount of imports, then you can probably get most seasonal vegetables throughout the year, but there are still some that are grown in such limited amounts that they are only on the market for a few months each year. As luck would have it, some of them are the most important and beneficial for human health. Seasonal vegetables also have higher nutrient value if eaten during proper time of the year. They keep you protected from many seasonal health disorders.