I would challenge you to find a study done on nutrition that finds that vegetables are detrimental to your health. I would bet you’d be hard pressed to find it. Studies show that the consumption of vegetables is good for your health and can extend your life.
We know that vegetables are good for us, but which ones will give you the biggest bang for your buck? Is organic really worth the money? And I have a few tips on how to eat more veggies even if they aren’t your thing!
But first, I want to preface this post with a disclaimer. The information below is my opinion based on what I’ve read (I’ll share the sources), learned and implemented in my own life. I’m not a nutritionist or physician. I highly recommend that you consult a health care professional before you drastically change your diet, especially if you have preexisting health conditions or concerns.
Now let’s begin…
Top 5 Vegetables You Should Eat Everyday:
- Dark leafy greens. Sometimes you’ll see mixed greens in a package. These are perfect! These are best in a salad as opposed to romaine lettuce, which is mostly water, but if that’s what you need to start with and if you’re eating it with a tons of other veggies, by all means eat the romaine. Spinach and kale, especially, are high in fiber, which enhances digestion and contributes to cardiovascular health. These are also super important for your brain. Really any green vegetables are a good source of magnesium which contributes to brain health. A study recently published in Neurology finds that healthy seniors who had daily helpings of leafy green vegetables had a slower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who tended to eat little or no greens. Max Lugavere also talks about a study in his book, Genius Foods, showing that people who ate just two servings of dark leafy greens a day had brains that looked eleven years younger on scans.
- Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbages, radishes, brussel sprouts, arugula, bok choy): improves digestion because of its fiber content which serves as a natural detox component. It’s a good carb that maintains low blood sugar and reduces over eating. It’s also a great source of vitamin C which creates natural collagen to keep you looking young!
- Bell Peppers. They are packed with nutrients and vitamins. Vitamin C. These also have quite a bit of Vitamin C. Other than keeping your youthful complexion, Vitamin C creates neurotransmitters that can affect your mood and memory. Red bell pepper contains over eight times the amount of vitamin A than a green bell pepper. They can help you lose weight, reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, supports healthy eyes, boosts immunity and your mood, while giving you a healthy glow.
- Carrots. Carrots are packed with vitamin A in the form of beta-carotine and are linked to lower cholesterol levels and promote healthy eyes. As many of their vegetable counter-parts, they can reduce the risk of cancer and promote weight loss. They can also help clean your teeth and gums, flush out toxins, and give you glowing skin. Carrots are a no-brainer for quick snacks and salad components.
- Garlic. Especially this time of year when the common cold and the flu are rampant, stock up on eating your garlic. In my opinion, its immune boosting qualities are its greatest quality. The cloves also come packed with other beneficial properties like reducing blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease by improving cholesterol levels. Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and aging. Studies have shown that it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, increase bone health and detoxify heavy metals in the body. All of this in those tiny cloves! I love to mix olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, pepper for a quick, simple and tasty salad dressing!
As I was writing, I thought what if all the prescription medication commercials that we see on TV were replaced with commercials promoting vegetables. It would sound the same, listing the benefits, you would still see the person laughing, hiking, walking their dog, enjoying life, looking young and you could leave out the side effects. No warnings of anal bleeding, blood clots, upset stomach, dry mouth, possible death. This would be a more accurate and truthful commercial. Anyway, just a thought.
Organic or not? Eat organic when you can and always wash them. If you’re on a budget or might not have access to all things organic, the dirty dozen is a good resource to the most important vegetables and fruits to buy organic.
Dirty Dozen List:
Sweet Bell Peppers
Tips on how to eat more vegetables:
Cook them if you need to. Eating veggies raw is not necessarily the best way to consume vegetables. Yes, its true that when you boil or steam vegetables, you lose some of the nutrients BUT if you can consume MORE vegetables when they are cooked, then you are making up for those lost nutrients.
Have vegetables at every meal AND eat them first. You should be consuming at least 2 cups of vegetables a day. If you get into the habit of eating them first, then you’ll be less likely to leave them on your plate after you’ve filled up with everything else.
That’s it folks. Those are my best veggie tips! If you’d like more information about my coaching programs, I’d love to connect with you!
To your health and mind,
Coach Leslie J.