Vegetables are the least popular foods in our society; many of us don’t get enough. The CDC recommendations are that we should eat two to three cups of veggies a day; and less than 10 % of Americans meet that goal. This is important because a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with all sorts of health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers.
I think one of the reasons we eat so little of these healthy foods is perceived cost, time to prepare, and – honestly, I think we don’t know how to choose or prepare them well, and badly prepared, we dislike the taste.
So once again this month, I want to share with you parts of an article about this topic from Nutrition Action Healthletter; this was prepared by Bonnie Liebman and Lindsay Moyer. I am grateful that CSPI granted permission for me to share some of their material with you; the addresses etc. are at the end of the article. But I so loved the pictures that I wanted to share them.
How do you measure your vegetables? By the cup or the ounce? Have you noticed that a cup of lettuce weighs only 1-2 ounces; and a cup of sliced carrots weighs 5 to 6 ounces? Use whatever measurement works for you, but remember the veggies should cover about half your plate. Be consistent. Here are some high nutrient veggies you don’t even need to cook, just wash and pat dry.
Most veggies have only 10 to 50 calories per serving; they make you feel full and give you lots of fiber and other nutrients. These are high fiber ones
“In a recent meta-analysis of up to 20 studies on up to a million people, those who ate 18 ounces of vegetables (about 3 cups) a day had roughly a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who ate little or none.”1
But in the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) study, systolic blood pressure (the higher number) dropped by 8 to 14 points when people were fed a diet rich in vegetables and fruit. (The diet was also low in added sugars, saturated fat, refined grains, and salt.) That’s about the same drop you’d get from some drugs that lower blood pressure.”
Women who eat more vegetables also have a lower risk of breast cancer.
And the vitamin C and other nutrients in veggies may protect your vision.
“In a study that tracked some 100,000 men and women for roughly 25 years, those who consumed the most lutein plus zeaxanthin had a 40 percent lower risk of advanced macular degeneration than those who consumed the least.2
A similar study found an 18 percent lower risk of cataracts in women who reported eating the most luteins.3 Go greens!
And extra veggies may lower your blood pressure and your risk of stroke, by providing the potassium your body needs
And some veggies can lower your risk of diabetes:
“In some studies, people who eat more leafy greens have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Magnesium may explain why.4
Half the population gets less magnesium than experts recommend. Although more studies are needed, magnesium may help keep a lid on blood sugar.
ALL vegetables are good vegetables. Some believe they may protect the strength of your bones. And they contain phytochemicals, which have a myriad of functions in the body.
And call me nutty, but I just could not resist sharing these pictures with you. And I thank Nutrition Action for letting me bring the pictures and parts of their article to you today.
We will be working on sharing better veggie recipes in the coming months. So think about buying and eating some different veggies; buy them fresh, use a good recipe, and enjoy.
I hope to see you for “Wacky Wednesday” on the 29th from 7 to 8:30 pm, and I wish you a wonderful week.
Blessings to you,
Copyrighted material printed in this article is from Nutrition Action Health letter, Center for Science in the Public Interest… cspi.org 2020
With much gratitude for permission to reprint.
1 Int. J. Epidemiol. 46: 1029, 2017.
2 JAMA Ophthalmol. 133: 1415, 2015.
3 Arch. Ophthalmol. 126: 102, 2008.
4 Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 66: 1082, 2012.