My husband and I joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) this Spring. It wasn’t an easy decision. Will it be cost effective? Will there be too many vegetables that we don’t eat and not enough of the ones we do? Will we be around on our delivery days? These are some of the questions we wrestled with, along with others, before we came to the conclusion, ”Let’s try it. It’s all organic and locally grown, we’ll perhaps be exposed to some new vegetables, and it will probably be good for us to make the adjustments to our regular way of doing things,” which we won’t call a “rut”).
We’re a few weeks into it now, and it’s working out just fine. Aside from the very high quality food we’re receiving, there are some new things to try, and the whole new routine is reminding me all over again about the actual importance of eating lots and lots vegetables, and as many varieties as possible. Unfortunately, vegetable eating in this country has declined in the last five years. It is estimated that approximately half the population eats less than1.5 cups a day, and nearly 87% don’t reach the recommended minimum goal of 2 – 3 cups per day.
Vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber, and, with almost all the vitamins and minerals our body needs, are a nutritional cornerstone.
These plentiful and relatively inexpensive foods are the best thing to be eating and to be eating increased amounts of.
Here are 7 good reasons to increase the number of vegetables you are eating.Healthy Glowing Skin.
1. Healthy Glowing Skin. Vegetables have a high water and phytochemical content that help to produce that healthy, vibrant look. The carotenoids pigments that give vegetables their red and orange colors also improve the color of your skin, resulting in a rosy “glow.” Many vegetables are also known for their anti-aging benefits, helping firm your skin and combat wrinkles.
2. Weight Management. Low in net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) and high in fiber, eating plenty of vegetables can help you lose and manage your weight in more ways than one. Simply cutting net carbs and adding fiber intake may actually be the quickest and most efficient path to weight loss, rivaling more complicated diets. Fiber has appetite-suppressant qualities which help to keep you feeling satiated, which, in turn, helps to prevent unhealthy snacking. Fiber also helps to improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar, helps protect your heart and cardiovascular health, and appears to reduce mortality from all causes.
3. Gut Health and Regularity. Constipation is a common bowel problem, affecting nearly 20% of the population. The fiber and water in vegetables can help prevent this condition, as well as nourish the beneficial gut bacteria which keep it healthy.
4. Athletic Performance and Recovery. Nutrition is an important factor in athletic performance. All vegetables enhance it. Beetroot juice, tomato juice, and watercress have been shown to boost endurance and speed up the recovery process.
5. Improve Energy, Mood, and Psychological Well-Being. Vegetables will definitely boost energy levels, especially if you cut out net carbs and processed foods at the same time. Juicing tends to be particularly helpful in this regard. Research has shown that higher vegetable intake can also help you feel calmer and improve your mental well-being. As well, eating fruits and vegetables is also supportive of greater curiosity and creativity – happiness, itself!
6. Reduce Chronic Disease Risk. Some of these include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Part of this is due to the high fiber content in vegetables, which breaks down into health-promoting short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by your gut bacteria. SCFAs lessen the risk of inflammatory diseases.
7. Boost Healthy Immune Function. A gene called T-bet is essential for producing critical immune cells in your gut. It is activated by green leafy vegetables. These immune cells reside in the lining of your gut, and are thought to be essential for a number of immune-building functions. They include maintaining balance between tolerance, immunity, and inflammation in the body, producing a hormone that can protect your body from harmful bacteria. They also work to resolve cancerous lesions, prevent the development of bowel cancers, and prevent food allergies, inflammatory diseases, and obesity.
Dark leafy greens are particularly amazing among all the wonderful vegetables, so enjoy them in abundance daily!
Explore new varieties of vegetables this growing season and ways of preparing them Your body-mind-spirit will thank you.