As a kid, did your parents make you eat your vegetables? For many of us, that was the case. So, let’s get to it. Why are they so important to our health? First, let me clarify what exactly I mean by vegetables. I’m not talking about a huge mound of cheesy, buttery potatoes on your plate or cooking your cauliflower in butter, mayo, and cheese. I am talking about colorful and cruciferous vegetables that are low in calories, high in fiber and high in micronutrients. These are a key part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle and if prepared right, can have many benefits.
There are many benefits to vegetables. Let me put it to you this way, what we eat is quite literally what we are made of. So, if we are eating junk then our bodies will have nothing to repair and build cells with but junk. In the same way, if we eat whole food sources that are high in nutrients we will be giving our body what it needs to function in the way that it is designed.
Firstly, vegetables have tons of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that our body needs to run efficiently. Everyone wants to talk about how to have a fast metabolism, but the focus needs to be more on understanding that the key way to have a high metabolic rate is to give your body all of the vitamins and minerals that it needs to convert energy efficiently. Vegetables are a key source of these vitamins and minerals in our diet. If we are not getting our vegetables in, then our bodies may not be able to run as efficiently.
Secondly, vegetables contain a good amount of insoluble fiber that can help keep our digestive system moving and healthy, especially in the colon.
Thirdly, they can help with fat loss. Cruciferous vegetables are very low in calories so this means that we can eat a lot of them and not rack up tons of calories in one sitting. This is helpful for fat loss because we are able to eat a lot of something that is high in nutrients to help our bodies convert that stored fat into energy we can use.
So instead of coating vegetables in tons of butter, cheese, and sugar try steaming them or sautéing them in a little bit of oil high in omega 3’s. Make sure that you are not immersing them in a lot of water or overcooking them as all the nutrients can seep out into water and if overcooked can be destroyed by being under high heat for too long. My favorite way to sneak them in is to blend a ton in with a smoothie! Try it out and see how many healthy ways you can prepare your vegetables so that they can taste great and you can feel great!