Why is It Important to Eat Vegetables?
There are many reasons to eat a diet rich in vegetables. Vegetables pack a punch when it comes to nutrient content. Despite not providing any of the key macronutrients, vegetables are an important part of our diets to keep us strong and healthy.
The following sections will outline some of the most important reasons to eat vegetables.
Vegetables are packed with fiber
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a high fiber diet is a good idea. What better place to start than to strive to add more veggies into your daily meals and snacks.
By following a fiber-rich diet you are nourishing the healthy bacteria in your gut, which therefore not only helps improve digestive health but it also can support overall health by lowering inflammation (1).
Vegetables have powerful antioxidant properties
What’s more, vegetables are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals in the body, which in turn reduces cell damage and keeps the body and immune system strong.
Some of the vegetables with the highest antioxidant content include leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, as well as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts (2).
Vegetables contain key micronutrients to support optimal health
Of course, all three macronutrients are vital to health and survival: carbs, protein, and fat. However, it’s important to not forget about all of the micronutrients as well – the vitamins and minerals. While we can get vitamins and minerals from a variety of foods, vegetables tend to be some of the most micronutrient-dense foods on the planet.
To name a few, vegetables provide a healthy dose of folate, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It’s important to focus on a nutrient-rich diet, ensuring you are consuming a wide variety of foods, and a wide variety of vegetables to reap all of the micronutrient benefits. Continue reading to learn about different types of vegetables and how they can support your health.
What are Different Types of Vegetables?
There are several different types of vegetables, and each type has unique benefits.
Leafy green vegetables are one type. This includes things like kale, spinach, arugula, and swiss chard, for example. Leafy green vegetables are rich in iron and folate in particular to support healthy cells and energy.
Another category of vegetables is root vegetables. These grow underground, such as carrots, beets, onions, potatoes, and radishes. Root vegetables are high in potassium, as well as vitamins A and C to support a healthy immune system and healthy skin.
Another type is cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, artichokes, and cabbage, for example. These are particularly high in fibers that feed the good gut bacteria, leading to a diverse and healthy gut microbiome.
Do I Need All Types of Vegetables?
It’s a good idea to aim to include a wide variety of vegetables in your diet, as this is the best way to ensure you are fueling your body with all necessary antioxidants, phytochemicals, and micronutrients. Plus, a wide variety of nutrients is essential to optimize a healthy gut environment.
It’s recommended that adults get about 3 cups of vegetables each day. However, research suggests that only about 1 in 10 Americans are meeting this target (3).
Since no one vegetable or no one vegetable category can provide you with all of the nutrients you need, it’s therefore important to aim to include all types of veggies in your diet.
Can I Just Eat Fruits and Call it a Day?
In short, the answer is no. While there are many similar vitamins and minerals in both fruits and vegetables, at the end of the day they have unique nutrient and phytochemical profiles that are not always interchangeable.
Oftentimes, vegetables are more densely packed with nutrients compared to fruits. Therefore, if you’re looking for a way to consume high amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals, vegetables can definitely do the trick.
How to Easily Meet your Daily Vegetable Intake
With a bit of planning, it’s easy to meet the daily recommended intake for vegetables. Whether you choose to sneak an extra serving of veggies into your morning breakfast or add a supplement to your routine, there is no reason to not be meeting your daily vegetable goal.
Here are some ways to add in more vegetables so you can meet the recommended daily intake, which is about 2 ½ to 3 cups of veggies daily.
- Add greens to your smoothie: Simply add a handful or two of spinach to your morning fruit smoothie for an extra boost of antioxidants and iron.
- Have a side salad with lunch: Whether you’re having a soup or sandwich, for example, add in a side salad as a way to get in some added greens and fiber.
- Vary your veggies at dinner: Experiment with variety at dinner, choosing a wide range of colors and types of vegetables for the most
- Add leftover veggies to eggs: Simply add flavor, vitamins, and minerals to your morning breakfast by adding leftover veggies to your morning egg scramble or omelet.
- Include a greens powder daily: If you’re frequently on the go, it can be hard to meet your daily vegetable intake. However, with a greens powder such as this berry greens powder from Naked Nutrition, you can simply mix in a serving to your favorite beverages to cover all your vegetable bases.
Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. For optimal health, it’s best to incorporate a variety of vegetables such as leafy greens, root veggies, and cruciferous vegetables to ensure you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients.
It’s recommended to consume at least 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables daily, which is totally doable with a bit of planning. Simply aim to increase your vegetable intake at meals and snacks, or you may opt to include a daily greens powder such as Berry Naked Greens to ensure you’re always getting in the important nutrients to keep you strong and healthy.