5 Reasons Why You Should Always Include Plenty of Fruits & Vegetables in Your Diet
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When you were young, did you ever find your parents consistently reminding you to eat your fruits and vegetables? Did your snack time revolve around baby carrots or celery with peanut butter in the middle?
If you answered ‘Yes!’ to either or both of these questions, you’re not alone! The good news is that our parents are right – fruits and vegetables can offer an abundance of benefits to our health!
The importance of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet is a long-standing fact that has been researched and repeated tirelessly to millions upon millions of growing children and its continuing importance into adulthood isn't to be taken lightly.
Scientific studies done on fruits and veggies almost always come up with the same results: they provide important nutrients that we need to live better, healthier lives, yet very few adults manage to get a proper intake of those very same nutrients on a consistent basis. It's often more tempting to reach for a sugary, carb-loaded snack that is already cooked and waiting for us compared to biting into something healthier for us in the long term.
If you feel like you aren't eating quite healthily enough or you're curious about just what your diet might be lacking, consider the following five facts on fruits and vegetables that may just convince you to always include them in your diet:
1. Vegetables Contain Uncommon Nutrients
While you might maintain a proper level of nutrients when it comes to vitamin C or calcium, vegetables often contain nutrients with lesser-known benefits that are no less important to the body than any other nutrient you absorb.
Foods that are deep green in color often carry enhanced levels of naturally-occurring carotenoids that help stave off macular degeneration and other eye-related issues that crop up as we advance in age. Kale and spinach are two examples of eyesight-protecting foods – just so you know, it's difficult to get carotenoids found in these two vegetables elsewhere.
2. Veggies Can Help You Stay Full Longer
Some vegetables are water-heavy and don't add much to your satiety even if they are fantastically healthy for you. On the other side of the spectrum are mushrooms, a vegetable powerhouse with plenty of fiber to keep you full well after mealtime. If you like to eat plant-based, mushrooms offer an incredible nutrient boost to the dishes.
Unfortunately, the question of “how long do mushrooms last?” is often met with an uncomfortably correct answer which is not long. Knowing how to keep mushrooms fresh for a longer period of time can help you to include them more in your meals, especially considering their fat-free nature and natural protein levels.
3. Fruits Are Great Sources of Natural Sugar
As adults continue to consume added (artificial) sugars to the point where a significant portion of their calorie intake comes from added sugar, it's no wonder so many ended up with heart conditions and high blood pressure.
Naturally low in salt, fat and with no added sugar to speak of, fruits can play a key role in replacing unhealthy food options with more natural appetite suppressors that still satisfy your sweet tooth.
4. Fruits & Vegetables Contain Necessary Vitamins & Minerals
When was the last time you stopped to consider just how complex a biological machine your body is? Every system within you requires a carefully-managed smattering of nutrients and energy to keep your body running properly – most of which can be sourced directly from a healthy diet complete with plenty of fruits and vegetables. From essential vitamins to minerals such as iron and magnesium, ensuring your diet is heavy in leafy greens can help to naturally maintain the health and fitness of your body.
Making a swap can be fairly simple. For example, consider how your average salad is often heavy with iceberg lettuce. It's not as nutritionally-deficient as many will lead you to believe, but swapping out a portion of that salad's lettuce for spinach or kale can give you a solid boost in nutritional value!
5. Fruits & Vegetables Can Boost Weight Loss
While often not as calorie-dense as other foods, this works out to benefit those concerned about their waistline. Lowering your calorie intake with natural foods is often easier without feeling like you've given up a significant portion of your daily food intake.
As mentioned earlier, given the water weight in many fruits and vegetables, you can get away with eating more of what you like while avoiding many of the unhealthier pitfalls that come with wolfing down an entire bag of chips. So, if you’re looking for a way to sustainably lose weight, be sure to swap carbohydrate-packed foods for fresh fruits and veggies instead!
Integrating and maintaining a healthy diet simply means making the occasional food choice that allows our bodies to work better in the long run instead of loading up on sugar whenever the mood arises.
If you’re looking to be healthier and fitter for life, you don't have to entirely give up your guilty pleasures, either. Just make sure that you include plenty of fruits and vegetables into your daily meals to counteract the occasional less healthy snacks or junk foods!
Curious as to how you can incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily meals? Get plenty of scrumptious recipes and learn how to whip them up from scratch on a vegetarian culinary retreat!