We’re all told as children that we should eat our vegetables, but why exactly should we? What are the reasons – we know they’re ‘good for us’, but what exactly does that mean? In this article we’re going to look in more detail at what that means and how why vegetables should feature more prominently in most of our diets.
So here’s a quick list of five reasons we should eat vegetables…
Vegetables Have a High Vitamin and Mineral Density
Think of food as the body’s delivery for its essential supplies. Just like ships bringing goods into a country, food delivers much of the raw materials your body needs to build, repair and maintain itself.
There are good quality materials and bad ones. Think of vegetables as the very best – in terms of vitamin and mineral density, vegetables have very few rivals. Not only do they contain large amount of essential vitamins and minerals by volume, they also contribute a lot of phytonutrients – natural chemicals in the body that help protect you against the damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Vegetables Have a High Fibre Content
We all know we should eat more fibre to keep our digestive system working well, so now we’re going to discuss how eating vegetables allows us to do this.
Vegetables contain a lot of indigestible material which helps to promote excellent digestive health. By slowing down the rate of digestion, you feel much fuller for longer. Another benefit is that these foods help to lower cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar. By providing a much tougher challenge for your body to digest, vegetables are key to keeping the whole system working hard.
A high fibre diet has been credited with helping to reduce the chances of various gut diseases, in particular bowel cancer.
Vegetables Help Promote Gut Health
The amount of vegetables we eat correlates with the health of our gut – in particular the abundance of good bacteria in our systems.
A high intake of vegetables feeds the ‘good’ bacteria in our gut, which in turn allows them to proliferate. With a large population of good bacteria, our ability to absorb nutrients from food, regulate neurotransmitter production, improve mood and boost immunity is dramatically improved.
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that a healthy gut is the cornerstone to ensuring good overall health. Your gut is involved with almost every aspect of nutrient absorption, which is in turn responsible for the healthy function of almost every other physiological system. Healthy gut = healthy human.
Vegetables Help To Keep Weight Stable
We lose or gain weight based on the laws of thermodynamics. In order to lose weight, we have to burn more calories than we consume. The longer this process continues, the more weight we lose.
Vegetables are a real ally in the weight loss world because they provide a lot of bulk to a meal, without adding many extra calories. What this means is that you feel full for a long time, but the foods that have filled you up don’t actually have many calories in them, so you are less likely to gain weight, despite eating large portions of food.
Vegetables Are Cheap!
This one isn’t strictly about our health, but it’s certainly a nice bonus. Vegetables are really cheap to by compared to most other food groups. In fact, if you grow them yourself then they can even be free (a nice little side bonus is that they’re less likely to be covered in pesticides) and they have no food miles associated too!
Making around 50% of your food intake vegetable based, you’d be looking at significant savings on your weekly shopping bill. In some estimates, making half of your food purchases vegetables has been shown to save around 40% on the average weekly food shop.
If you buy your food locally, you also help maintain your local economy and additionally you’re far more likely to be eating fresh, seasonal vegetables which will have a higher vitamin and mineral content.
Why Should We Eat Vegetables: Concluded
Intellectually we know we should eat vegetables, but that’s mostly because we’ve been told we should. Hopefully by reading this article you understand a little more about why we should. Even if you don’t like vegetables, you should try to explore ways of getting more into your system (blend them into smoothies and soups, hide them in other dishes, or even ‘train’ yourself into liking them!
It’s not just a matter of eating vegetables because it’s a good idea – it’s a great idea and fundamental to great health. So go on – eat more vegetables! Why not try a few of these recipes as a start!