“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon” — Doug Larson
If people could like vegetables as much as they do bacon, life expectancy would indeed rise. This is because a diet rich in vegetables has many health benefits. From antioxidants to anti-inflammatories, vegetables are practically natures’ pharmacy.
They contain the prevention and cure of many of the common ailments and diseases we deal with today. Vegetables help take care of digestion, elimination, bone health and can even lower blood pressure. The reason vegetables are so good for your health is because they are rich in the following:
Antioxidants: These are powerful health promoting compounds that help to prevent cancer, lower blood pressure and boost the immune system. They also promote cardiovascular health and slow down the aging process.
Dietary fiber: Vegetables are a great source of fiber which helps to keep you full and regular. Fiber is also very good for overall digestive health. They provide food for good bacteria in the gut. We now know that gut bacteria constitute 70% of the immune system. The immune system keeps you from being overrun by disease. Having a healthy immune system is critical to health. You can see why nourishing gut bacteria with fiber is good for your overall health.
Water: Vegetables contain a lot of water and that is why they are low in calories and rich in nutrients. This makes it very helpful if you are trying to lose weight.
Vitamin and minerals: Green leafy vegetables are high in minerals and vitamins such as magnesium which can help to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. They also contain a high level of vitamin k which helps with bone health. Lycopene found in tomatoes is protective for the eyes while beta carotene in green vegetables boosts the immune system.
How to Make Vegetables More Appealing!
The health benefits of vegetables are well known. You don’t need a medical degree to know this. That is why grandma says, “eat your vegetables”. So many people struggle to eat the recommended five servings or more of vegetables a day. This is because they think that vegetables are boring and monotonous. But if you just get creative, you will be amazed by how many ways you can make vegetables tasty and appealing. They can be part of your weight loss arsenal, your weapon against feeling hungry. If you could make vegetables tasty, you could treat yourself any time you wish.
This is because vegetables are essentially free foods. You are not likely to pack extra calories by eating vegetables because your body spends more calories breaking down vegetables than you get from eating them. So why not take the time to learn how to make this important food group work for you?
Here are some ways to help you get started:
- Roast or bake to taste. Bake with olive oil
- Transform with herbs and spices.
- Use dips. Try hummus, low fat dips, low fat yogurt
- Try juicing.
- Mix with fruits in a salad bowl.
- Try veggie rice.
- Swap veggies crisps for chips
- Stir fry.
- Try vegetable soup.
How to roast vegetables:
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Chop your vegetables.
- Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Season to taste with herbs, spices, pepper.
- Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Roast until lightly brown.
Get creative, and Bon Appetit.
Ife Ojugbeli, Md. MBA.