Health benefits of vegetables

July 6, 2011 - 11:55
The health benefits of vegetables usually show in long run by improving your overall health and keeping the internal system in perfect condition.
Consumption of vegetables takes care of your digestive system, excretory system, skeletal system (bones), blood pressure levels etc. With a diet rich in vegetables you are being benefitted with abundant antioxidants that keep away diseases like cancer, cardiovascular problems and stroke.
Moreover, vegetables deliver ample vitamins, such as folate, vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin B6, and also carotinoids like beta carotene from carrots, lycopene from tomatoes, zeaxanthin from greens, lutein from spinach and collard greens.
Vegetables also help in keeping your weight controlled and promote healthy skin and hair. There have been innumerable researches all over the world that strongly suggest having fresh green vegetables on regular basis than going for supplementary tablets (unless critical condition) to get the wholesome nutrition.
- Nutrient value of vegetables
Antioxidants: Did you know that, including vegetables in your diet is probably the easiest way to stay healthy, trim and nourished. Since vegetables are low calorie yet nutrient rich foods, they help you to stay in optimum health in long run keeping your weight checked.
As said earlier vegetables have abundant antioxidants that prevent the growth of cancers. The dark green vegetables have lots of phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants and minerals.
These vitamins and minerals are essential for proper functioning of your body. Their Deficiencies can lead to serious deficiencies of bones, teeth and vital organs.
Moreover, antioxidants boost body immunity and keep you away from infections and diseases. Leafy green vegetables have a bioflavonoid known as ‘Quercetin’. This is responsible for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of vegetables along with the unique anticancer properties.
Quercetin, the natural compound effectively cuts down the flow of substances that lead to allergies. This compound plays the role of an inhibitor of mass cell secretion, thereby decreasing the release of interleukin-6.
Most of the green, yellow and orange vegetables also have high percentage of calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-complex, vitamin A, vitamin-C, vitamin K, zea-xanthins, carotenes and crypto-xanthins.
- Dietary fiber
Vegetables are great options for consuming dietary fiber. Owing to this high percentage of fiber level in vegetables, your digestive track stays well-toned.
Vegetables are abundant in soluble as well as insoluble dietary fiber, known as non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). This dietary fibre absorbs the extra water in your colon and thereby retains the moisture content in the fecal matter.
Thus aiding in digestion, preventing chronic constipation, hemorrhoids and rectal fissures. Your digestive system becomes sleeker and its functioning of processing foods gets smoother keeping many ailments away.
More fiber rich foods keep your digestive system clear and healthy, helping you to avoid problems like constipation and bowel irregularity, colon cancers and even polyps.
Since they have high fiber, vegetables also tend to make you feel full for longer, and stops unnecessary snacking.
- Anti-Cancer
Cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli have high content of indoles and isothiocyanates. These components have protective properties against colon cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer and other types of cancers.
Broccoli sprouts has immensely high sulforaphane than the matured broccolis, which is a cancer-protective substance. Furthermore, as said before vegetables being great anti-oxidants also alleviate the chances of fatal diseases like cancers.
- Proteins and amino acids
If you eat less animal products in your diet ensure that your diet is rich in protein-rich vegetables to compensate the proteins that you are missing.
Once you make a combination of vegetables in your meals, you gain ample amount of amino acids that is required to live healthily. Eat plenty of beans, spinach, along with whole grain rice for a balanced meal.
- Water content
Vegetables naturally have high levels of water structurally, this is the reason why they are generally fat free and low in calories. You can be rest assured of both your weight and health once you start with vegetable rich diet.
The more you consume vegetables, the more is the water intake that flushes out waste products from your body.
- Minerals
Green leafy vegetables are high in magnesium content and have low glycemic index, thus they prove to be helpful for patients with type 2 diabetes.
If you add at least 1 serving of green leafy vegetables each day, it will considerably lower the risks of diabetes. Green vegetables are also rich in iron and calcium, except for Swiss chard and spinach (since they are high in oxalic acid).
- Vitamins
In general vegetables have high vitamin content, however vitamin K is usually prevalent in almost all vegetables. The high level of vitamin K in green vegetables makes them an ideal natural way out to prevent bone problems.
Vitamin K is necessary for the production of osteocalcin, a protein mandatory for proper bone health. In a survey, addition of green leafy vegetables considerably decreased the chances of hip fracture in middle-aged women.
- Lycopene and beta carotenes
Green vegetables have high beta-carotene, which when converted into vitamin A improves immune function. Tomatoes have lycopene which protects your eyes from sight problems.
A diet deficient in green vegetables often leads to the possibilities of blindness, and other illnesses in children.
- Allyl sulfides
Garlic, onions, chives, leeks and scallions are rich in allyl sulfides that help in lowering high blood pressure and protect the stomach and the digestive tract from fatal disease like cancers.
- How much vegetable should we eat in our daily diet?
It is said the more vegetables we have, more are the benefits to our health. You should consume fresh vegetables at least 2.5 to 6.5 cups every day.
Also, make sure you eat 4-5 different types of vegetables. The more variety and colors of vegetables you include in your diet, the more extensive are the benefits.
Also include seasonal vegetables in your diet. You can write more about seasonal vegetables here. Seasonal vegetables have higher nutrient value if taken in proper time of the year. They keep you protected from many seasonal health disorders.
Given below is a list of some vegetables. Click on them to find their health benefits in detail:
Asparagus Beans Beetroot Brocoli Cabbage
Carrot Cauliflower Celery Cucumber Eggplant Lettuce Mushroom Onion Peas Potato Radish
Spinach Squash Sweet Potato Tomato
- Do vegetables help to lose weight?
It is a well-established fact that eating veggies is a healthy way to lose or maintain weight. Moreover, vegetables are storehouses of vitamins, fiber, minerals, and other nutrients that keep you fit and upright.
In fact, vegetables are called ‘negative calorie foods’ because it actually helps to lose weight by spending more amount of energy to digest foods.
You will find two types of vegetables, namely starchy and non-starchy. You can include both of these in your diet, however the non-starchy varieties can be consumed in unlimited quantities, however starchy selections have more sugar, thus you need to keep the quantity in check.
Starchy vegetables include peas, plantains, squash, potatoes, and yams; rest are the non- starchy ones including cauliflower, asparagus, artichokes, beets, carrots, broccoli, onions, cucumber, leeks, eggplant, tomato, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, salad greens, and zucchini.
However, if you are on strict diet, then consider the so called 'free foods'; these vegetables contain minimal calories with high in nutritional value.
They are carrots, radishes, celery, cucumbers, fresh green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
- Veggies help one to lose weight
To lose weight, it is not necessary to turn into a vegetarian, but if you simply start taking abundant of fruits, legumes, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds.
The diet when combined with other exercise plans, your weight reduces drastically keeping you fit and healthy. Most of the plant foods are low-calorie, low-fat and also keeps you filled for longer time.
As they are fresh and whole, you will slowly get declined to fast foods or processed food items.
- Skin care with vegetables
Since ages, our mothers and grandmothers have carried on the natural methods to keep their beauty intact for ages. On the other hand, our skin are usually pampered with loads of expensive creams, toners, cleanses and ointments, but they definitely lack the glow and suppleness our predecessors had.
As it is said, nature knows the best ways to keep us in perfect track, be it our organs, limbs, skin or hair. The fruits and vegetables that we often tend to forget in our diet are the real medicines for a bright, glowing and healthy skin. The vibrant pigments in fruits and vegetables have immense disease fighting capabilities.
Rich in a host of useful nutrients and powerful antioxidants, vegetables should be necessarily included in daily diet if you are looking for a healthy skin.
Both fruits and vegetables can be divided into four color groups; each of them having specific benefits.
- ‘Oranges and yellows’ include sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, apricots etc. They have lots of vitamin C that is highly beneficial to skin, aiding in the growth and protection of collagen.
Collagen retains the elasticity to your skin, thus delaying the appearance of wrinkles.
- The group of ‘reds’ include tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, papaya all of them are lycopene-rich that effectively protects your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
However, this should be noted that cooked tomatoes offer you more lycopene than raw ones, thus now you can get more of tomato sauce for your snacks.
- The next group is ‘greens’ including broccoli, kiwi, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, green bell peppers, collards, romaine and spinach. These vegetables are gain rich in vitamin C.
- The ‘blues’ include plums, beets, eggplant, red grapes, and purple cabbage. They are rich in anti-oxidants, which is again needed for a healthy, radiant skin.
- Any combination of vegetables works wonders for skins, it not only delays the ageing signs, but also keeps the skin bright, fresh and prevents drying and other skin disorders.
- Nowadays, many natural treatment salons opt for vegetable facials and have started using vegetable toner by mixing chopped cucumber flesh, lettuce leaves, lemon juice and chopped tomato.
- You can make this toner in home as well to gain a bright complexion. Vegetable peelings are also done in many salons that ensure blemish free, bright skin.