Today we are going to talk about the benefits of vegetables and why we need to have a rich and colorful diet. It is preferable to eat the fresh, not frozen vegetables to benefit from all the properties and enjoy the most intense taste.
- MAKE YOU MORE ATTRACTIVE. Veggies can change your skin pigment and improve your circulation causing a natural “glow”;
- Can help you LOSE WEIGHT. Most veggies are filling and very low in calories;
- HELPS PREVENT CONSTIPATION. The natural fibers in veggies strengthen your gastrointestinal muscle;
- Lower the risk of CHRONIC DISEASE. Veggies can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.
- BOOSTS EVERYDAY ENERGY. Vegetables contain vital nutrients that leave you feeling more energized.
We eat vegetables to obtain vitamin A, B, C & D. We also gain vitamin E from vegetables. We can gain iron and zinc from vegetables. There is also important minerals and carbohydrates in vegetables.
When you look at fruits and vegetables, they are packed full of vitamins and nutrients that are essential to good health.
What are some nutrients I need and where can I get them?
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – most people think these can only be found in fish. In fact, you can also get these through flaxseed oil and hempseed oil , or by eating ground flaxseeds and walnuts. Don’t prepare food with oils high in omega-6 such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, most vegetable oil blends (typically labeled “vegetable oil”) and sesame oil. Instead, use low omega-6 oils like olive, avocado, peanut, or canola.
- Iron – most people think these can only be found in red meat. In fact, lots of plant-based foods have loads of iron including broccoli, spinach, and oats to name a few. If you’re healthy and eat a varied vegan diet, you don’t need to worry about iron as it’s plentiful in a vegan diet. However, some people have trouble absorbing enough plant iron and if you think your iron stores might be low, you can increase iron absorption by: adding a source of vitamin C at meals, avoiding tea and coffee at meals, increasing legume (peanuts, beans, lentils, peas) intake and avoiding calcium supplements with meals.
- Calcium – most people think calcium is only found in milk. This is the most dangerous misconception, because in fact the more milk that you drink the more calcium is depleted from your body. It sounds strange, but what actually happens is that drinking a lot of milk puts our bodies into an acidic state, which in fact makes our bodies leech calcium out of our bones to try to return to the natural state. You can find research that shows that the countries that consume the most milk have the most osteoporosis and bone fractures, and you can even measure in the urine that the calcium they drink through milk is not being absorbed
- Vitamin D – this is the one thing that we cannot get from fruits and vegetables. However, your body can produce Vitamin D all on its own if you spend about half an hour a day outside in the sun. People 65 and younger can produce vitamin D from the action of sunshine on their skin by exposing their arms and face (or the equivalent amount of skin), during midday (10 am–2 pm), without sunscreen, on a day when sunburn is possible (not winter or cloudy). Now those of us who live up in the frozen north may benefit from taking a supplement for this but if you can manage to get outside then you really don’t need to. Such large amounts of vitamin D are only available in supplemental or specially treated mushrooms. Due to skin cancer concerns, some dermatologists recommend getting all your vitamin D from supplements rather than the sun.
- Protein – you will hear a lot of people say that you need to eat meat to get protein – which is absolutely 100% not true. There is protein in everything. There are some foods that are more protein-dense, such as legumes (beans, peanuts, peas, lentils, soy), seitan, and quinoa. You may also hear that meat protein is higher “quality” than plant protein. What they actually mean is that the proteins in meat are more similar to the proteins in humans (the highest “quality” protein would be if we were cannibals and ate each other). While this is true, that’s not necessarily better for our bodies – in fact, it’s shown that the more meat people eat, the higher the rates of a variety of diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, ALS. Athletes will require somewhat more servings of protein then a normal diet, but this will be based on their individual sport and training. There’s evidence that as people age, they need a higher percentage of their calories to be protein; thus people over 60 should focus on making the above high-protein foods a large part of their meals.
- Fat – since fruits and vegetables are less calorie-dense than animal-based foods, you will likely be eating more in order to get your calorie amount. But fat itself is also something that some people think doesn’t exist in plant foods. A great example of something I love that’s got lots of fat is avocado’s – I like to eat them several times a week. Also surprisingly nuts are full of fat (ever wonder where peanut oil comes from?) so just take a few handfuls of nuts as a snack and you’re good to go.
• For healthy individuals, a well-balanced vegetarian diet can provide adequate amounts of all of the nutrients required by the body throughout the life-cycle. However, more attention and careful dietary planning may be required for specific vulnerable subgroups in the population.
• Lacto and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets can be completely adequate during infancy and childhood. Weaning should follow the same principles as for non-vegetarian infants. Careful dietary planning is needed for infants who are weaned onto vegan diets to ensure that adequate energy, essential fatty acids, protein, calcium and foods fortified with vitamin B12 (or supplements), are included.
• Restrictive dietary patterns, such as some extreme macrobiotic diets, have been found to lead to poor growth and malnutrition; such diets are not recommended for infants and children.
• Particular attention to dietary requirements for vitamins and minerals is needed during pregnancy and lactation. Guidelines on what to eat during pregnancy and lactation are essentially the same for vegetarians as for meat-eaters, but women on restricted diets may need to consume supplements or fortified food in order to meet these.
• There are few data on the effects of a vegetarian diet on athletic performance. It is important for female vegetarian athletes to eat sufficient iron-containing foods and foods that promote absorption of iron. A poorly planned vegetarian diet can have an adverse effect on physical performance and long-term health. A well-planned vegetarian diet can easily provide all the nutrients needed by elderly people. Particular attention should be paid to mineral adequacy, folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, especially for elderly vegetarians and vegans who are housebound or living in an institution.
• Evidence from cohort studies in the UK, USA and Germany suggests that vegetarians have lower overall standardized all-cause mortality ratios than the general population.
• Specific analyses of mortality rates from CHD have shown that there is at least a moderate reduction in mortality from CHD among vegetarians compared with meat eaters, in general. However, meat-eaters who follow a healthy lifestyle also have favourable mortality rates compared with the general population.
• Vegetarian diets have been associated with a reduction in several of the established risk factors for CHD; these include more favourable lipid profiles, lower BMI and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures. However, studies suggest that some vegetarians and vegans may be at greater risk of raised plasma homocysteine
levels, an emerging risk factor for CVD, perhaps in association with a low vitamin B12 intake.
• A high intake of plant-derived foods has been linked with a reduced risk of certain cancers, but there are no clear and consistent patterns of cancer incidence and mortality between vegetarians and meat-eaters.
• Several studies have reported increased risk of colorectal cancer among those with the highest intakes of meat and the lowest intakes of dietary fiber, but there is no consistent evidence to show that vegetarianism per se is protective against colorectal cancer.
• Vegetarianism has been associated with some factors that result in lower bone density and, consequently, osteoporosis, but studies examining vegetarianism and bone density have found conflicting results. Overall, there is little evidence to suggest that bone mineral density differs markedly between vegetarians and