We know that vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. In fact, the USDA recommends that adults consume 2-3 cups of vegetables daily, and that children consume 1-2 cups each day. Since the USDA encourages Americans to fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal, here are 4 reasons to comply:
1. Vegetables are high in vital nutrients. Since vegetables are a vitamin powerhouse, it is important to consume them daily. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collard greens are an excellent source of folic acid and iron.
2. Vegetables play a significant role in preventing diseases. Consuming adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables plays a significant role in preventing diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash provide Vitamin A and antioxidants. Vitamin A is needed for vision and supporting the immune system. Antioxidants play a protective role in helping to prevent certain diseases such as cancer.
3. Vegetable consumption can help with weight loss. Incorporating vegetables into daily meals can help with weight loss. They are naturally low in calories and high in fiber. According to the American Dietetic Association, consuming 20-27 grams of fiber from whole foods daily may benefit weight loss and other health outcomes.
4. Vegetables keep you full and satisfied between meals. The natural water and fiber in vegetables help to keep you satisfied between meals. Substituting vegetables in place of higher calorie foods or ingredients cuts calories without cutting down on the volume of food you are eating. For example, replacing a half cup of macaroni and cheese with a half cup of steamed green beans will save you 150 calories and 12 grams of fat!