Health Benefits of Vegetables You Wish You Knew Earlier

Health Benefits of Vegetables You Wish You Knew Earlier

Eating more fresh vegetables is one of the easiest choices you can make to improve your overall health. A vegetable-rich diet can help you prevent arthritis, heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer, and also slow down your body’s aging process.

A recent research found that people who consume 7 or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day have a 42% lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat less than one portion—and vegetables have the greatest impact.

But vegetables could also benefit you in some surprising ways. Did you know that certain vegetables can help diminish bloating, and others can result in a more youthful glow in your skin? They could even improve how you manage stress—and adjusting to stress is critically important to your mental AND physical health.

You Never Knew…Vegetables Is the REAL Comfort Food

Move over pizzas and ice-creams… vegetables are the REAL comfort foods, with nutrients that actually improve your resilience to stress. Eating vegetables helps replenish your magnesium and vitamin C, which can be depleted by stress.

Vegetables also contains omega-3 fats and B vitamins, shown to help lower anxiety and depression. The vitamin K in veggies actually lower inflammation in your body, which stress can aggravate.

Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard, are loaded with magnesium, which assists to stabilize your cortisol, one of your “stress hormones.” Magnesium and potassium relax blood vessels, which maintains a healthy blood pressure.

Magnesium also helps with calcium absorption, and maintaining good muscle and nerve function and a healthy immune system. Low magnesium levels have been associated with anxiety disorders and migraines, both of which are typically aggravated by stress.

Avocados are one of the best stress-busting foods you can eat, replete with potassium, glutathione, healthy fats, and higher folate than most other fruits. Folate is extremely important for your brain. Asparagus is another vegetables that is rich in folate.

The Causes of Gas and Bloating

Bloating and gas are commonly tied to what and how you eat. Vegetables can help diminish bloating—but if your gut is not healthy, they can make bloating worse.

A major cause of bloating is gas in your stomach, frankly half of which is swallowed air. You can reduce swallowed air by refraining from drinking through a straw, chewing gum, or consuming carbonated beverages.

The remaining abdominal gas is produced by the bacteria in your gut that help digest your food. If food doesn’t move sufficiently fast through your digestive tract, gas is likely to build up in your intestines, causing that annoying bloated feeling.

Foods that are likely to make bloating worse include sweeteners like sorbitol and fructose, grains, legumes, dairy products (if you have difficulty digesting lactose), and some fruits and vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and prunes.

These foods contain sugars and starches that some people have trouble digesting. Overeating, eating too fast, and not chewing your food enough also causes bloating.

Fiber May Be Good or Bad, Depending on Your Gut

You have likely heard that fiber is essential for good health, but it is crucial to realize that eating a high-fiber diet with a damaged intestinal lining can lead to serious health problems. If high-fiber foods cause bloating for you, then it can indicate your digestive tract requires healing.

Your digestive system is not created to break down fiber. It is precisely because your body can’t digest fiber that it plays such a critical role in digestion.

Soluble fiber, like that found in cucumbers, blueberries, beans, and nuts, dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to delay your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer and also why fiber may help with weight control.

Insoluble fiber, found in vegetables like dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, and carrots, does not dissolve at all and helps add bulk to your stool.

This helps food to move through your digestive tract faster for healthy expulsion. Many whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, typically contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

If your gut flora is healthy, i.e. dominated by beneficial, probiotic species, then these microbes would feed on the undigested fiber in your bowel, allowing it to thrive and multiply.

Fiber Will Nourish Your Gut

Most dietary fibers are digested by the beneficial bacteria in your distal colon and they produce short-chain fatty acids, e.g. butyric acid, that are highly nourishing to your intestinal cells. This creates a highly healthy symbiosis.

But if your gut is full of pathogenic organisms (dysbiosis), fiber will actually make your symptoms worse, as it’s a growth promoter for intestinal bacteria that does not differentiate between pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms. One of the best ways to restore your gut health is by regularly eating naturally fermented vegetables, which will be discussed later.

A temporary low-fiber, low-residue diet may also be quite helpful, such as the GAPS diet (Gut and Physiology Syndrome). Part of the GAPS program is removing fiber because it feeds microbes.

Most healthy people need 32 gms of more of fiber each day, but the majority of Americans consume less than this. Most of our fiber should come from vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds—not grains. Psyllium seed husk and flax are also beneficial. At the same time, drinking plenty of fresh, pure water dialy is also important for a healthy GI tract.

Vegetables Can Reduce Bloating—But Step Up Consumption Gradually

Once your digestive tract is working optimally, the vegetable fiber will assit to flush out waste and gastric irritants, hence reducing bloating by keeping things moving along. When adjust your diet, do so gradually, because suddenly eating lots of vegetables, or radically increasing your dietary fiber could be a shock to your system if you are not used to it.

The microbial environment in your gut is used to certain conditions, and adjusting this too abruptly can result in gastric distress, bloating, and other GI symptoms. Whenever making changes to your diet—even beneficial ones—it is important to acclimatise over time.

Per Dr. Wayne Pickering, having improper food combination is one other major reason of gas and bloating, heartburn and upset stomach. If the food you eat is not digesting properly, it can cause such symptoms, on top of your body’s inability to absorb critical nutrients.

The two foremost rules of food combining are: (1) No proteins and starches at the same meal, and (2) No fruits and vegetables at the same meal. For more information about the principles of food combining, you can refer to the interview between Dr. Mercola and Dr. Pickering below.

Vegetables That Provides You A Youthful Glow

Vegetables hydrate your skin, which can help reduce wrinkles. Not only are some vegetables 85-95% water, they also consists of a plethora of phytonutrients that help protect us from aging by preventing cell damage from stress, ultraviolet light, and environmental toxins. Vitamin C, which is rich in tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, and others, helps collagen formation.

Brightly colored red & orange vegetables like carrots, peppers, and winter squash, provide beta-carotene and protect skin from sun damage. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which serves as a natural sunscreen. A Scottish research reports that fruit and vegetable consumption may even increase your attractiveness! Researchers found that the pigments (carotenoids) in many fruits and vegetables impart a warm glow that make you appear more healthy and beautiful!

Vegetables Build Healthy Bones

Fresh vegetables are BEST when it comes to bone health. They contain highly bioavailable forms of calcium, magnesium, silica, and lots of other minerals that synergistically build strong, healthy bones. A fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in bone health is vitamin K2, as its primary function is to transport calcium to our teeth and bones. Vitamin K2 also assist to direct calcium away from areas where it can cause problems, such as your arteries and soft tissues.

A best source of vitamin K2 is fermented vegetables made with a special starter culture designed to optimize this nutrient. Fennel is also great for your bones—the seeds in particular. Studies have shown that consuming the fennel seeds has the benefit of improving bone mineral density and bone mineral content. Studies have found that fennel seeds show potential in preventing bone loss in postmenopausal osteoporosis.

How to Select the Best Vegetables?

To choose vegetables to have the highest nutritional density, you may review the list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables below. In general, the greener the vegetable, the more nutritious it will be. It is recommended to avoid wilted vegetables, because they lose much of their nutritional value. It is best to consume a variety of dark green leafy vegetables, on top of other vividly colored vegetables (purple, red, yellow, and orange) and ensure consumption of a broad range of these powerful plant nutrients.

the-food-color-wheel (1)

Eating vegetables which are in season will help ensure you consume the freshest vegetables at their peak nutritional value, and also they are typically less expensive. Here is a pictorial to check what vegetables may be in season:

Kitchen101-Seasonal-Vegetables1 (1)

3 Ways to Boost the Nutrient Power of Your Vegetables

It is always best to eat a variety of fresh vegetables, but there are ways to boost their nutritional value even further. Some recommendations are fermenting, juicing, and sprouting :

1. Fermenting

Fermenting is one of the best methods to transform ordinary vegetables into superfoods. The culturing process creates beneficial microbes that are exceptionally critical for your health as they balances your intestinal flora, hence boosting overall immunity. While fermenting vegetables, you may either use a starter culture or simply allow the natural enzymes, and good bacteria on the vegetables, to do all the work. This is called “wild fermentation.” It is probably better to use a starter culture since it provides a larger number of different species and a culture can be optimized with species that produce high levels of vitamin K2

2. Juicing

Juicing provides an simple way to consume more vegetables and a greater variety of them, as well as providing ALL of those important nutrients in an easily assimilated form. Virtually every health authority recommends 6 to 8 servings of vegetables and fruits daily, but very few of us actually consume that amount. Juicing is an simple way to reach your daily vegetable quota. Raw juice is like a “living broth,” as it is full of micronutrients and good bacteria.

When you consume fresh-made green juice, it is like an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes as they go straight into your gut without needing to be broken down. Drinking vegetable juice first thing in the morning can give you a natural boost of energy without turning to stimulants (e.g. coffee). Since juice is so digestible, it will revitalize your energy levels in as little as twenty minutes. Juicing is also an excellent way to get your vegetables in if you have issues with fiber.

3. Sprouting

Sprouting is a perfect complement to juicing. Sprouts are a superfood that many people overlook, as they offer a concentrated source of nutrition that’s different from eating the vegetable in its mature form. Sprouts has some of the highest quality protein that could contain up to 30 times the nutrients of home-grown organic vegetables. Sprouts are also simple to grow with little space and time. A few of the most common sprouts are alfalfa, mung bean, wheatgrass, peas, broccoli, and lentils, and also sunflower and watercress. Even garlic can be sprouted. Sprouts have the following benefits :

  • Support for cell regeneration
  • Powerful antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes which protect from free radical damage
  • Alkalinizing effect on your body, which is thought to protect against disease, including cancer (since many cancer tumors are acidic)
  • Super rich in oxygen, which could protect against abnormal cell growth, viruses, and bacteria that are unable to survive in an oxygen-rich environment

5 Ways to Include More Vegetables Into Your Diet

  • Grow your own garden. Replace your lawn or shrubs with a vegetable garden.  If a garden is not feasible, join a CSA where you’ll get veggies delivered every week.
  • Place your vegetables where you can see them easily —especially vegetables that are already ready for snacking on the go.
  • Add vegetables to various dishes you already love e.g., soups, sauces, stews, chili. You can even add a green vegetable powder to healthy chocolate treats, or try “avocado chocolate pudding.” There are many creative recipes which you can find on the internet.
  • As an substitute to juicing, use a high-quality green vegetable powder to create your “green drink”.
  • Don’t disregard frozen vegetables! They are often picked at their peak and frozen right at the farm, so they could still be a nutritious substitute when you are out of fresh veggie.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *