A mere 9.3 percent of Americans eat the recommended number of vegetables (2-3 cups) each day. If you’re not part of this group, you’re likely missing out on a lot of valuable health benefits.
You’ve heard your whole life that eating vegetables is essential. What, specifically, can you get from eating more of them, though?
This guide has the answers you’re looking for. Discover 10 of the best reasons to eat more vegetables below.
Reason 1: Fight Inflammation
Vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, including the following:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Antioxidants prevent or delay certain types of cell damage by neutralizing free radicals.
Cell damage from free radicals can cause chronic inflammation, which interferes with various systems in the body and is associated with many health conditions, such as heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.
Reason 2: Lower Blood Pressure
A diet rich in vegetables, particularly high-potassium vegetables, can help to lower blood pressure levels (good news for the nearly 50 percent of Americans who struggle with high blood pressure).
Excessive sodium can cause water retention, which increases blood flow in the vessels and elevates blood pressure. Fortunately, many vegetables are high in potassium, including spinach and beets.
Potassium can help to offset the effects of a high-sodium diet (although you should still work to minimize sodium intake for better long-term health).
Reason 3: Improve Digestion
Speaking of fiber, because vegetables provide additional fiber -- they can improve your digestion.
Many people find that when they eat more fiber-rich vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, beets, and cauliflower -- they experience fewer digestive problems like bloating, gas, and constipation. They digest their food more easily and are more likely to be regular.
One reason fiber is so good for digestion is that it feeds the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract (gut). Better gut health allows your body to break down food, absorb more nutrients from it, and feel better overall.
Reason 4: Support Eye Health
The carotenoids (a type of antioxidant) lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to improve eye health and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
These carotenoids protect the eyes from damage caused by UV rays. The eye tissue contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, so it makes sense that adding them to your diet could further support eye health and reduce your chances of experiencing vision problems later in life.
Some of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin are broccoli, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, red bell peppers, corn, and basil.
Reason 5: Enjoy Glowing Skin
Who doesn’t want glowing, healthy-looking skin? Eating more vegetables can help you make that happen -- with no expensive creams or serums required.
Many vegetables, including celery and cucumbers, have a high water content. This high water content helps you to stay hydrated, which is essential to healthy and youthful skin.
Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, that contain lycopene also help to protect the skin from sunburns and sun damage (although tomatoes are certainly not a replacement for sunscreen!).
Reason 6: Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
In addition to improving your blood pressure levels, eating more vegetables can reduce your risk of heart disease. Several nutrients found in fruits and vegetables contribute to better heart health. However, potassium and fiber are particularly beneficial.
Potassium reduces the effects of sodium, which in large quantities is linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. It also reduces tension in the blood vessel walls, further lowering blood pressure and supporting the heart.
As for fiber, it has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels (high cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease). It can also help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the blood vessels.
Reason 7: Balance Blood Sugar
The fiber in vegetables, combined with their low sugar content, makes them beneficial to those who struggle with blood sugar regulation (including those with pre-diabetes or diabetes).
A high-fiber, low-sugar, nutrient-dense diet minimizes blood sugar spikes that occur during your meals. Vegetables like broccoli, leafy greens, tomatoes, and cauliflower are all good choices for better blood sugar balance.
Vegetables also add volume to your meals and help you feel full and satisfied after eating, which can help you resist the urge to eat high-sugar treats that might interfere with your blood sugar levels.
Reason 8: Combat Cancer
Because vegetables contain a variety of antioxidants, some research suggests that they can help to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are especially helpful when it comes to fighting cancer.
These veggies are rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate (vitamin B9), as well as a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane protects the cells from carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds).
Reason 9: Strengthen Your Immune System
The anti-inflammatory properties of vegetables can also strengthen your immune system.
Chronic inflammation interferes with the immune system’s ability to fight off infections and foreign invaders. As a result, you may find that you get sick more often.
By eating more antioxidant-rich vegetables, you can minimize inflammation and give your immune system the nutrients it needs to function correctly. Vegetables that are high in vitamin C, like broccoli and bell peppers, are particularly beneficial for immune system health.
Reason 10: Enhance Weight Loss Efforts
Finally, vegetables can enhance your weight loss efforts and help you see results sooner.
Because they contain fiber, vegetables help you feel full after a meal, meaning you’re less likely to overeat or give in to cravings for unhealthy foods.
Vegetables also add volume to your meals without significantly increasing the calorie count, which helps you feel more satisfied.
Start Eating More Vegetables Today
Are you convinced that you should start eating more vegetables? If you want to experience the health and wellness benefits listed above, it’s time to start adding more veggies to your meals.
For an easier way to meet your daily vegetable goal, check out Nature’s Sustenance. One serving of these capsules provides you with over 20 fruits, vegetables, and greens that help you feel your best and ensure your body functions at its peak!