Vegetables (along with fruits) form the most important part of our diet (regardless of age). The huge number of nutritional ingredients, vitamins, fibers and antioxidant elements contained in them play a key role in our organism’s defense against severe diseases.
The health benefits of consuming vegetables (even on a daily basis) can not be balanced by any other food and certainly can not be compared to any dietary supplement.
At this point, it should be noted that a proper and balanced diet plays an important role in strengthening the body’s defense – not just in enhancing our organism and in colds, but also in serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, various forms of cancer, diabetes, obesity, stroke episodes and many other serious conditions which may lead to death!
Antioxidant elements: Nature’s treasure
The antioxidant elements received mainly from the consumption of vegetables and fruits are really a treasure for our body and health.
These valuable elements identify the free radicals in our body and bind them, so preventing their growth, avoiding serious illnesses which might be threatening us!
The phytochemical ingredients contained in vegetables are those that give them such intense and impressive colors.
They are beneficial substances with very strong antioxidant action, which “build” the defense of our organism against any threat! The more intense the color of a vegetable (or a fruit), the more of these phytochemicals contained in it, and so much stronger the antioxidant effect!
Vegetable fibers … valuable to health & slimming!
Fiber – as it is known – is not just a simple ally of our health, but also a strong supporter of our silhouette as well!
Consuming plenty of fiber – in addition to all the other benefits to our health – gives us good functioning in our gastrointestinal system, a “key” to avoid fluid retention, flatulence, swelling and weight gain!
Besides, the consumption of fiber – as the experts point out – is the secret to managing our bad cholesterol levels, but also to ultimately control our unbearable and unconditional appetite (leading us to excesses and increases of our body weight).
Finally, we should not omit the fact that fiber consumption favors maintaining blood glucose levels stable and at normal levels, so delaying the absorption of carbohydrates (consumed in our meal) by the organism. Therefore slows the digestion process and prevents bulimic episodes, snacking and increase of weight.
What is the amount of vegetables we should consume?
First of all, let’s make clear that – as already pointed out – vegetables in combination with fruits are and MUST be the core of our diet. This inevitably means we should consume vegetables (and of course fruits) on DAILY basis!
At least 2 to 3 servings of vegetables should be included in our daily dietary routine so that we can say that we have a balanced meal, receiving the necessary nutrients.
Just a few of the basic vegetables we definitely have to learn to eat are:
Peas – though so misunderstood – are very nutritious and beneficial to organism. They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, phytosterols, folic acid, carotene and vitamin A. Peanut is also a first-class source of B vitamins and finally a source of trace elements such as calcium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc.
• the carrot
The carrot – as known – is rich in antioxidants protecting the organism from serious conditions. It is also a source of vitamins A, B, C and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, manganese, copper and phosphorus.
• fresh green beans
One of the most famous dishes in Mediterranean Diet and one of the healthiest foods in the world! Green beans are rich in vitamins A, C, K and flavonoids. They are also rich in trace elements such as magnesium and potassium.
Surely spinach should be included in such a list of valuable and nutritious vegetables.
Spinach is one of the vegetables with the highest nutritional value. Whether is consumed raw in salads or cooked in dishes, spinach is a source of valuable vitamins (such as vitamin A, E, C, K and B complex vitamins), containing also large amounts of iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium and folate.
• the cabbage
Cabbage – rich in vitamins (A, K, B1, B2, B6 and C), in folic acid, magnesium, manganese, potassium and phosphorus, should not be missing from our dishes.
Broccoli is a vegetable with a huge amount of vitamin C, assisting to strengthen our immune system … especially in winter time!
How can I eat more vegetables?
No.1: Benefit from fresh seasonal vegetables and fill your basket in the supermarket … and surely your dish as well!
No 2: Do not use the same vegetables everyday, you might end up bored! Choose every day some others… there are so many choices!
No 3: Make raw cold vegetable salads or roasted / boiled hot salads (especially in winter)!
No 4: Use vegetable leaves like lettuce instead of Arabic pie and wrap your cheese and turkey with a little mustard … and save yourself from many extra calories!
No 5: Avoid (once a week) red meat by making delicious and juicy vegetable burgers of your choice … which you can eat in any way you like!
No 6: Prepare delicious vegetable sauces and complement your pasta or rice!
No 7: Use the vegetables in delicious, very nutritious and extremely relieving hot soups for cold winter days or in cold soups for hot summer days!
No 8: Add vegetables in a fancy cake … salty and sweet!
No 9: Prepare tasty dishes with lots of vegetables of different colors to complement your meal!
No 10: Cut them into thin slices (carrots, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes) and bake them in the oven to make delicious homemade and healthy chips!
No 11: Add your vegetables in everything: juices, smoothies, nice-creams, cakes, muffins, yoghurt and anywhere it’s fun!