Vegetables and Health

Vegetables just might be one of the most overlooked food items in the nutrition world.  Too many dieters concentrate on high carb and low carb, with the focus being on starchy carbohydrates, paying little attention to those colorful and nutrition-packed veggies in the produce aisle.  And, if you mention the word ‘smoothie’, to most folks, this means a blended fruit concoction vs. one made with vegetables.

Ideally, half of your daily food intake should come from a variety of fresh, in-season vegetables.  If people minded this one simple nutrition step, they wouldn’t be struggling with excess weight, ill health, lack of energy and foul moods.  Vegetables are easy to prepare, easy to digest, packed with natural fiber, and absolutely brimming with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  And, eating them in abundance is one of the best preventative health measures you can take.

 

Vegetables Lower Insulin – The natural fiber contained in vegetables, allow for slow and steady absorption in your digestive system.   This in turn, keeps blood sugar levels stable, and by extension, insulin levels low.  When blood sugar levels are kept steady, this keeps diabetes in check if you already have the disease, and away altogether, if you don’t.  Keeping insulin levels low, will also allow the body to release excess weight.

Vary Your Veggies – Even though you may have a few favorite ‘go-to’ veggies you prefer to eat, focusing on just one vegetable or a group of vegetables is not the best way to go.  Each individual vegetable contains its own unique bundle of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and for this reason, eating a steady variety of them, will ensure the synergistic combining of all their nutrients, which is the way the human body best absorbs and utilizes them.

Supplements Cannot Replace Vegetables – On today’s market, there are plenty of vegetable supplements, found in the form of capsules and powders.  While they do offer some benefit, especially to those who would otherwise have nothing to do with vegetables, vegetable supplements will never be able to offer the same benefits as solid vegetables do. First, capsules and powders don’t offer that mechanical slowing of digestion, and secondly, capsules and powders are usually stripped of their vital antioxidants when they are processed.  This is one of the main reasons why processed foods of all kinds are void of any major nutritional value, is because the processing strips the food of much or all of its natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, leaving a ‘dead’ food that will sustain but not nourish.

More is Less is More – When eating vegetables, you can eat more in volume (pretty much unlimited), yet you’re taking in less calories, and at the same time, getting more nutrition than you ever would be getting by eating processed foods or starchy options such as rice, noodles and bread.  This is the healthiest way to achieve natural and sustained weight loss and longevity.

A Better Source of Fiber – The human body can best absorb and utilize fiber in its most natural form, and that is directly from the foods you eat.  Many fiber supplements are not recognized by the body as a natural food or natural component of food, and therefore, it doesn’t process it in the same way that it would the fiber naturally found in vegetables (and fruits).  This could be one of the reasons why many people complain of bloating, excess gas, cramping, diarrhea or constipationwhen taking a fiber supplement.  Of course, they often don’t take them with enough water either.  Again, if you have a family member absolutely refusing to eat vegetables, then giving them a fiber supplement is essential.  However, eating your veggies daily is the best way to get your fiber, and keep your digestive system running smoothly.  Additionally, it’s been put into question, that processed fiber supplements may contain harmful free radicals, as a by-product result of processing.

Remember, eating ample amounts of fresh, in-season vegetables daily, is an almost effortless way to achieve natural weight lossand weight maintenance, a healthy digestion, clear skin, stable blood sugar, and protection defenses against health imbalances and disease.  Variety is the key, and your daily vegetables can be prepared raw, steamed, baked, grilled or sauteed.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews

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