How many times did you hear that as a child? After all spinach would make you strong like Popeye and carrots were good for your eyes–ever see any rabbits wearing glasses? All kidding aside, vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet. In this article I will share why and which ones are best.
First of all, most people know that vegetables are high in water content and fiber. Many are low on the glycemic index scale meaning they don’t impact our blood sugar and insulin levels very much helping us control our weight. Vegetables also contain key phytonutrients. A phytonutrient is a compound that is associated with many health benefits. Carotinoids found in yellow, red and orange vegetables are an example of a phytonutrient. Carotinoids break down into Vitamin A which help to support our immune system. Vegetables are also high in antioxidants which help us fight free radicals. Free radicals are taken in from our environment from exposure to pollution and are formed in our bodies naturally from biological processes. These free radicals, if left unchecked, damage our cells and tissues possibly resulting in many types of cancer and other diseases.
One of the key roles that vegetables play is to neutralize the acid the typical diet today generates through the digestive process. Our bodies strive to maintain a stable blood pH since our cells operate best at a particular pH level. Chronic high blood acidity causes bone and muscle tissue loss. Vegetables act as a buffer since they are alkalizing to our bodies helping to counteract this acidic environment.
So which vegetables are best? All vegetables are good. The leafy green variety offer the best benefits. However the most important thing to remember is to eat a wide variety of colors and types. The whole vegetable is my first choice preferably organic-please refer to the “The Dirty Dozen” to save yourself some money. You can use vegetable juices but you will not get maximum benefit from them. Taking a multivitamin doesn’t cut it either.
So in conclusion, eat your vegetables. Choose a variety of colors and types. Shoot for 1 cup or more per meal and make your body happy!