Vegetables are, by far, some of the healthiest foods on the planet. In fact, I don’t think I’m out of line by saying that it’s the HEALTHIEST of all the food groups. With whole grains you can consume too many carbs, with protein you risk getting a lot of unnecessary fat, and with fat you run the risk of eating too many calories. But with veggies, it’s nearly impossible to overdo it, and you can ALWAYS stand to eat more veggies.
Eating vegetables can have many health benefits. Not only are they incredibly natural, but they contain dozens of different vitamins, minerals, plus thousands of other plant chemicals known to provide health benefits. Best of all, eating vegetables can also help control weight.
Why You Need Veggies
- They’re low in fat — One of the best things about veggies is that they’re primarily water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There’s almost ZERO fat in your average vegetable. A few (like avocadoes) contain a bit more fat than others, but it’s all healthy, plant-based fat. You are never putting your heart at risk when eating veggies. In fact, thanks to all their fiber, they’re the best food to keep your heart healthy.
- They’re low in calories — What’s the primary cause of weight gain? Eating too many calories, of course! Too many calories consumed in a day leads to an increase in stored fat, which accumulates over time. By reducing your calorie intake, you promote weight loss. Veggies are beautifully low in calories–far lower than whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, and proteins. You can eat a huge plate of raw veggies, and it will contain fewer than 100 or 200 calories. Veggies are the perfect option for those who are trying to lose weight.
- They help to prevent water retention — A surprising amount of weight gain is due to water retention. People who eat high-sodium foods (like junk food) tend to store more water than is healthy, which can lead to high blood pressure and an increase in weight. By eating more veggies, you eliminate a lot of the sodium in your diet and promote a better water balance. Veggies can help purge water from your body, leading to effective weight loss.
- They fill you up — One of the hardest parts of any diet is ignoring those hunger pangs that tell you to eat. Even worse are the cravings that make you want to eat even when you know you shouldn’t. But fiber is the key to dealing with those hunger pangs and cravings. Fiber absorbs liquid and expands in your stomach, sending signals to your brain that you are full. The more fiber the food has, the longer it will keep you full. That’s why veggies are such an important part of any weight loss diet.
- They boost energy levels — Thanks to the high nutritional value of veggies, you can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function at optimum levels. If you’ve been making poor eating choices for years, your body is probably deprived of certain vitamins and minerals. Veggies can provide those vitamins and minerals, helping to return your body function to normal. The antioxidants in the veggies will actually make your body run MORE efficiently, leading to an increase in your daily energy levels.
The presence of many vitamins and other chemicals in vegetables supply the body with nutrients necessary to boost energy production within the muscle cells. This give us a natural feeling of vitality and the energy to become more active helping to burn more energy each day.
How Much Per Day?
While fruits are important for your health, veggies are the “hero” foods you want to eat more of. If you can eat at least 4 or 5 servings of veggies per day, good for you! If you can increase that to 6 or 7, even better! The more veggies you eat, the healthier you will be!
Vegetables can offer better heath benefits when they are cooked and mashed. A study has shown that the body can absorb more of an important substance from cooked vegetables than from raw ones.