Adequate and balanced consumption of vegetables is shown to decrease the risks of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Despite these intriguing figures, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), only 1 in 10 adults meet the vegetable consumption recommendations (2 to 3 cups per day).
- Vegetables are relatively filling and low in calories.
- Vegetables contain dietary fiber.
- Vegetables provide vitamins and minerals, as well as trace elements.
- Vegetables are important sources of antioxidants (like vitamins A, C, and E.
- In varying quantities, vegetables provide protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
- Vegetables lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
The United States Dietary Guidelines recommends to consume 5 to 9 servings of vegetables per day. Potatoes are not included in this count due to their starch content.
Fruits and vegetables differ in color as their phytochemicals are different. Meaning, different vegetables (and fruits) contain different ingredients, which is why consuming a wide variety of produce is preferable.
🔴 Red vegetables – contain lycopene, which is may help prevent prostate cancer and heart disease.
🟢 Green vegetables – contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect against age-related eye disease.
🔵 Blue and purple vegetables – contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the body from cancer.
⚪ White vegetables – contain sulforaphane and may also help protect against some cancers.
In addition, vegetables can be classified into families as follows:
- Leafy green – lettuce, spinach and silverbeet
- Cruciferous – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli
- Marrow – pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini
- Root – potato, sweet potato and yam
- Edible plant stem – celery and asparagus
- Allium – onion, garlic and shallot
🍆 Add vegetables to your main meal – you may add vegetables to your meal or consume different steamed veggies alongside your main meal. You may eat the rainbow in your salad, smoothie, or soup, also!
🥕 Add vegetables to your snacks – you may opt for carrots or celery, instead of chips, to dip in your hummus.
☝🏻 Try something new – a new recipe or a different type of vegetable might increase your consumption as well as your satisfaction!
♨️ Stir-fry, grill, microwave, bake or steam your vegetables.