Greens and vegetables are undoubtedly one of the best foods you can eat to improve your health as well as lose weight. And the reason is simple. Leafy greens and other vegetables are not only packed with fiber but also a number of vitamins, minerals and other plant-based substances that can help protect you against many health conditions.
And while everyone knows how important greens and vegetables are to a healthy diet, not many of us include enough of these power packed foods into our meals. Instead our typical diet relies more on animal based products, leaving leafy greens and other veggies to be served in salads or as a side dish. This is where the plant-based diet makes the most significant change by making greens and vegetables the primary focus of a meal.
With greens and vegetables at the center of the meal, other plant-based foods such as whole grain foods, fruits, nuts and seeds are used as accompaniments or in dessert options to make up the remaining meal. After all, the idea is to consume 100 percent plant-based foods over time.
Another obstacle that many people face when making their main meals out of greens and veggies is that they feel they may be highly restricted in their meal choices. However, this is not true as by putting just a little thought into it, greens and vegetables may easily be created into a variety of meal options.
As mentioned previously, some can be cut up in salads and the possibilities are limitless. Others can be grilled, broiled, baked, stir fried, sautéed or steamed in endless ways and combinations. You can choose to serve your veggies and greens in a hearty soup, a pasta dish, in a taco or burrito, or simply as a veggie stir fry served with rice; the only limit is your imagination!
Or as a quick fix, blend your personal favorites into a green or veggie smoothie.
Some of the top recommended leafy greens to include into your diet include kale, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard and spinach among many others. These and other leafy greens offer the best of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and loads of fiber.
As for other vegetables, it is recommended to eat the entire rainbow. Collectively, eating a range of vegetables helps heart health, joint health, improves vision, beautifies the skin, and provides a well-functioning digestive system. In addition, including a variety of vegetables into meals will also help boost your immune system, improve memory and even keep some cancers away.
Experts have even color coded foods based on their predominant phytochemical group highlighting the health benefits provided by each color. As such foods that are blue or purple are helpful for healthy blood pressure, greens are good for cleansing the liver and removing potentially carcinogenic compounds, while yellow/green are responsible for good eye health.
Likewise, red foods are beneficial for heart health and cancer prevention and yellow/orange foods are helpful for immune function as well as skin and bone health. These details are based on information from the Produce for Better Health Foundation or PBH.
However, all this is in a nutshell and does not represent the entire scale of health benefits of eating vegetables. The idea is simply to include as many of the colorful variety of vegetables into your diet so you do not remain nutritionally deficient in any of the areas that these wonderful foods have to offer.
Start adding fresh leafy greens to your diet today!