Why You Should Add More Veggies to Your Diet
By Contributing Author, Kate Harveston
“Eat your vegetables!” If your parents hammered this message home when you were a child, they probably did so because they love you and want you to stay healthy.
Vegetables offer so many health benefits, it’s hard to list them all. Eating more veggies improves your physical appearance and decreases your risk of developing specific diseases. Here are the top seven benefits of filling half your plate with colorful plants at every meal.
1. They Keep Your Skin Glowing
When you’re dehydrated, your skin looks dry and ashy and wrinkles more easily. Most vegetables contain 85 to 95% water, meaning they keep your skin hydrated and plump.
Additionally, vegetables contain phytonutrients. Phytonutrients battle premature skin aging by preventing stress and pollution from impacting your cells. Bright red and orange vegetables high in lycopene also act as natural sunscreens.
2. They Give You Healthier Teeth
Some broccoli or carrots with a zesty ranch dip makes a perfect snack for kids due to the high level of vitamins and antioxidants they contain. Plus, cruciferous vegetables act as natural toothbrushes, gently scraping plaque and bacteria from dental surfaces when you chew.
Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth only twice daily to prevent damaging your enamel.
Snacking on crudites in between brushes can make your mouth feel cleaner and keep your breath fresher.
3. They Keep You Fuller Longer
Most vegetables contain high levels of fiber, a substance that bulks up in your stomach and makes you feel full. If you’re trying to lose weight, eating more vegetables can aid in this endeavor. Even though vegetables contain a ton of filling fiber, most possess relatively few calories. That means you can snack to your heart’s content without packing on the pounds.
4. They Help You Control Your Blood Sugar
Many Americans suffer from diabetes or prediabetes. However, increasing your vegetable consumption can help you control your blood sugar and reverse prediabetes naturally.
Deep, leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale contain high levels of vitamin A and magnesium, both of which help control blood sugar. If you want to decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 14%, increase your consumption of deep, leafy greens from .2 servings to 1.35 servings daily.
5. They Help Digestion
The fiber in vegetables does more than keep you fuller longer. Although your body can’t digest fiber, it’s necessary for digestive health. That’s because fiber draws water to your large intestine, softening your stools and reducing constipation naturally.
Some people find the fiber in vegetables makes them bloat at first. However, cooking your veggies breaks down the cellulose fibers, making them bloat you less. As your body adjusts to the additional fiber, consuming more veggies busts through bloat and keeps your tummy flatter.
6. They Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Did you know if you pump your vegetable intake up to 10 servings daily, you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 28% and your risk of premature death by 31%? Vegetables benefit heart health in several ways.
Foods high in fiber cause a decrease in cholesterol levels, though researchers remain unsure of exactly why. Additionally, since vegetables contain relatively few calories, you can safely increase consumption without gaining weight. Even a slight increase in vegetable consumption benefits heart health, so dig in.
7. They Decrease Cancer Risk
The late, great George Carlin once quipped that if you get diagnosed with cancer, you do well to eat a big bowl of broccoli. And he wasn’t far off the mark.
Research indicates the phytonutrients in veggies fight cancer.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and kale contain glucosinolates. When you chew these vegetables raw, they release protective enzymes like sulforaphane that detoxify your body from pollution and smoke.
Eating More Veggies Benefits Your Overall Health
There’s no doubt eating more veggies is likely to improve your health. With so many benefits, what are you waiting for? Get yourself to the salad bar!