According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health , people who ate seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables were at a sharply lower risk of death, and in fact were 33% less likely to die from any cause, compared with people who ate very little of these healthy foods. Coming to vegetables, most of us have heard our parents say, “Eat your vegetables“, and the sad fact is most of us do not eat the recommended dose in spite of knowing the importance of including vegetables in our diet.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or a proud carnivore, vegetables should be an important part of your diet. Most vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential to your daily diet and some even have nutrients which are exclusive to them, making regular consumption necessary.
People often say that your diet should include all the colors of the rainbow. Not only does sticking to such a strategy ensures that you get all kinds of nutrients, it also makes your food look more appetizing. Bell peppers are vegetables that tend to looks appetizing exactly for that reason. Red, yellow and green bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C, which boosts your immunity. Red bell peppers also have beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also has other phytochemicals and carotenoids which not only help prevent allergic reactions but promote heart health and boost your body’s recovery capacity from injuries and illnesses. It helps increase your body’s production of natural analgesics, which relieve you from pain. Bell peppers have an enzyme called lutein, that prevents cataracts and promotes overall ocular health. Vitamin B6 is a nutrient present in bell peppers that promotes production of red blood cells, making it good for preventing anemia. The Vitamin E in bell peppers is a powerful antioxidant and promotes nerve and muscle health. The Vitamin B9 present in the crunchy vegetable makes it great for consumption if you are pregnant. Bell peppers even help prevent cancer due to their sulfur content.
Speaking of foods that can stave off cancer, broccoli happens to have that quality in its long list of benefits. Broccoli, much like bell peppers, contains Vitamin C, beta-carotene. Broccoli is also high in dietary fiber, ensuring better regulation of the digestive system and contains Vitamin K that contributes to bone health and prevents osteoporosis. The sulforaphane in the vegetable gives it anti-inflammatory properties, which would be great for you if you suffer from any allergies. Broccoli also contains a significant amount of omega 3 fatty acids. If you’re a vegetarian, broccoli should be a staple in your diet as omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for the eyes and are not found in many vegetables in significant amounts. The soluble fiber in broccoli absorbs cholesterol. It further promotes cardiac health due to its sulforaphane and isothiocyanate content as they prevent damage to your blood vessel linings. The Vitamin C in broccoli is of the highest concentration out of any vegetable, making it a great antioxidant and immunity booster.
Eggplants, also known aubergine and brinjal in certain parts of the world, contain an antioxidant that is exclusive to the vegetable. Found in copious amounts in eggplant, Nasunin is an anthocyanin that is great for your brain and defends your brain cells from damage. Consuming it can help prevent brain degenerative diseases, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, later in life. The phytonutrients in eggplant also improve cognitive functions of the brain and are helpful for your mental health. Also containing Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium and folic acid, this vegetable contains a huge chunk of the nutrients you might need during the day. Containing no fat or cholesterol, eggplants are a great dietary choice if you are trying to lose weight, especially since it has appetite suppressant qualities that keep you from snacking on other foods between meals. The unique taste and texture of the vegetable also ensures that you are able to prepare it in a variety of ways. It also helps prevent anemia as it contains copper that helps you produce red blood cells. Being high in dietary fiber, eggplant keeps your gastrointestinal health in check, as well.
While it is common knowledge that carrots are great for your hair and skin, the fact cannot be emphasized enough. Rich in Vitamin A, C, K and B8, carrots are also good for your eyesight and immunity. The beta-carotene in carrots helps prevent macular degeneration and keeps your eyesight from deteriorating as you age; so does the Vitamin A. Including carrots regularly in your diet lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and has been proven to prevent heart disease. Alongside preventing heart disease and strokes, carrots also prevent cancer due to its beta-carotene content and promote oral health due to its mineral antioxidant content. Carrots contain potassium, iron, copper, manganese, folate and pantothenic acid. Consuming carrots improves the health of your gums and promotes production of saliva, which helps keep oral bacteria in check. Much like other roots, carrots are high in dietary fiber which promotes gastrointestinal health.
Despite being readily available in many parts of the world, sweet potatoes are not a regular part of people’s diets in most countries. Popularly consumed as a healthy snack in countries like Japan, this root vegetable is a source of important vitamins and can be prepared in a variety of ways so as to keep your meals new and exciting. The Vitamin B6 in sweet potatoes increases the production of red blood cells and decreases your body’s levels of homocysteine, a chemical responsible for causing degenerative diseases. Decrease in homocysteine levels is known to promote cardiac health. Much like its fellow orange root, carrots, sweet potatoes are very good for skin elasticity. The Vitamin C in sweet potatoes not only affects your skin but also increases you immunity. Your immunity is also strengthened by the presence of Vitamin D, which also increases bone health alongside positively affecting your teeth and nerves and regulating your thyroid gland. The iron content in sweet potatoes makes for healthy red blood cell production, warding off anemia. The beta-carotene in it has also been proven to have cancer preventive qualities. Sweet potatoes also contain magnesium and potassium. Magnesium is good for the arteries, nerves and muscles and has anti-stress properties. Potassium is also good for the nerves and regulates the activities of the kidneys.
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