Eating fruits and vegetables at every meal is the first step you can take towards a healthy lifestyle. Here’s why they are so important.
According to MyPlate, USDA’s dietary guidance system, half of our daily meals should consist of vegetables. The daily recommendation is 2.5 to 3 cups of veggies per day.
Those who have adopted the healthy lifestyle of including vegetables in their diet have only wonderful things to say about it.
From immune-boosting to aiding of digestion and beautiful skin, fruits and vegetables offer us a lot more than we can imagine.
The only problem is; people are yet to join the trend. They love to eat processed foods rather than have a taste of leafy greens or other types of greens thereby missing out on all the benefits they offer.
How Can Fruits And Vegetables Help You?
Vegetables are packed with all the nutrients the body needs to function properly. When you eat vegetables more often, you will notice a change in your overall wellbeing.
You can find nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber in fruits and vegetables. Vegetables especially are recommended because they contain lower calories and no sugar.
There are some fruits that, when you take them frequently, lead to a spike in your blood sugar.
When you make fruits and vegetables part of your diet, you will find out that you will rarely fall ill.
Are you trying to lose weight? Then you should try making 80% of your diet based on vegetables as they contain fewer calories than other food sources.
Let’s have a look at some high-quality fruits and vegetables you should endeavor to eat every day either by turning them into salads or adding them to soups and stir-fries.
Fruits You Need To Add To Your Diet
Some fruits contain a lot of natural sugar which can easily spike your blood sugar, and they also have calories in them.
Also, it’s easy to get caught up in their sweetness and eat more than you should, which is why we are going to look at a few fruits that we can derive health benefits from without compromising our health.
Bananas are powerhouses of potassium. A medium banana will supply the body with 300-400 mg of potassium.
This is especially good for those who will take their exercise routine seriously as banana can be used as a recovery food. This is because it helps in fixing the tired and sore muscles gotten from working out.
The potassium content in it helps to regulate blood pressure, balance the hormones and the PH level of the body, etc. It also provides the body with fiber which feeds the bacteria gut and, it prevents an ulcer.
The high level of vitamin B present in it helps you in losing weight, helps with mood disorders, helps in the production of white blood cells, and prevents chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene, watermelons are very useful in fighting against free radicals roaming in our bodies and causing harm to our organs.
It can be used as part of detox ingredients to flush out toxins from the body.
Watermelon also keeps the body hydrated. It is a healthy alternative to water rather than soft drinks.
This is one fruit without many calories. A slice of cantaloupe (100 grams) has less than 35 calories, which makes it a great and tasty dessert.
It is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A which improves vision, and beta-carotene which keeps the skin healthy and ageless.
It is also packed with antioxidants and minerals which are essential in lowering blood pressure and preventing heart diseases.
They are healthy monounsaturated fats which help in the production of bile acids to absorb fats in the body. You can find nutrients such as fiber, potassium, vitamin K, E, C, and folate.
The active fiber in avocados aids digestion and allows free bowel movements.
5. Kiwi Fruits
They are packed with fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. It helps to reduce blood sugar levels and has been effective in managing type 2 diabetes.
These are also wonderful fruits that help in boosting the immune system due to the antioxidants found in them. You can find nutrients such as vitamin C, calcium, flavonoid, hesperidin, beta-cryptoxanthin, fiber, potassium, and so on.
Drinking orange juice is said to help the body absorb vitamin D.
Vegetables You Need To Add To Your Diet
It may be easy to incorporate fruits into your diet because they are sweet, but with veggies, it’s a bit difficult and requires you to make a conscious effort to do so. But the reward of your efforts will be worth it.
Let’s look at some healthy greens to include in your diet, shall we?
A member of the Brassica family and a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli are rich in phytonutrients which contains powerful antioxidant properties to keep the body in good condition.
They are also rich in vitamin A, C, calcium, and fiber which contribute to boosting immunity, dental and bone health, and improved vision.
It also contains a compound known as sulforaphane which helps in fighting cancer.
Other members of the Brassica family who are also rich in antioxidant are collard greens, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and kale.
Spinach is rich in vitamin A, B-vitamin, C, and K. It also contains minerals such as iron, calcium, and potassium which help boost the immune system and have anti-viral properties.
One advantage of spinach is that they are always available in any store you choose to purchase them.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are healthy delicious treats you can afford to give yourself during your weight loss program. They supply the body with nutrients such as vitamin B6, C, folate, and potassium.
Also, they’re filled with fiber which helps in digestion and bowel movement.
Their beta-carotene content helps in rejuvenation of cells, building tissues, and promoting healthy and clear skin.
4. More Healthy Veggies
Other important vegetables to include in your diet are:
- Dandelion greens;
- Swiss cord;
- Mustard greens;
- Bok Choy;
- Bell peppers;
- Green peas;
- Fenugreek leaves;
- Dry figs, etc.
Benefits Of Dark Leafy Greens
There are three types of greens:
- Dark leafy greens;
- Cruciferous veggies;
- Yellow veggies.
All of them are beneficial to the body. But let’s look at the benefits of the dark leafy green veggies as they have more benefits than the other two.
The leafy greens being referred to are:
- Beet leaves;
- Mustard greens;
- Romaine lettuce;
- Collard greens;
- Dandelion greens;
- Swiss chard;
- Green lettuce;
- Red lettuce, etc.
Here are the main health benefits of consuming green leafy vegetables on a regular basis:
1. They Burn Fat
Aside from the fact that they have lower calories, they also contain some nutrients and compounds which also aids weight loss.
For example, it contains a compound known as nitrates which helps the body convert fat-storing white cells to fat-burning white cells. The more the conversion, the lower the pounds.
So if you have been looking for an effective way of shedding the extra fat, head to the market and pick out your leafy greens.
2. Prevents Folate Deficiency
One common deficiency we have is folate deficiency which happens when your body does not enough supply of folate (folic acid).
Being deficient in folate leads to a lot of health problems especially for a pregnant woman or someone trying to conceive. Folate helps the body in amino acid production and DNA synthesis.
3. Anti-Aging Properties
There are four constant nutrients present in virtually all the leafy green veggies:
- Vitamin K;
- Beta- carotene;
- And folate.
These nutrients contain anti-aging properties. They can protect the brain, supply the body with essential fatty acids, support the growth of cells, and fight against inflammation.
All these contribute to reducing the devastating effects of aging.
4. They Help Your Heart
Greens, through their dietary fiber content, help in regulating cholesterol levels so that they are neither too high or low. They contribute to the efforts of nitric oxide to do so.
Greens also help in the prevention of blood clot formation and heart attacks.
5. Green Fuels Our Telomeres
Telomeres are stretches of DNA found at the end of the chromosomes. It is believed that they are responsible for how age and the cell mutation that causes cancer.
When we eat greens, we feed these cells, thereby ensuring their integrity is not compromised and protecting their length and that of other cells too.
6. Other Benefits
Other benefits of leafy green vegetables are:
- They fight against diabetes;
- Feeds your gut;
- Provides sunscreen protection;
- Prevents toxins gotten through eating.
Remember to eat a variety of these fruits and vegetables rather than just one particular kind in excess to prevent any side effects. Because yes, too much of anything can make you sick.