You are a fitness addict and a wellness enthusiast, you spend hours in the gym and whatever is left of your free time is spent poring over articles on healthy living…you attend seminars and workshops centered on this but there is just one teeny-weeny problem that is complicating your relationship with total wellness.
Vegetables have always been a source of stress for a lot of people whether it is the taste, or even the texture. It may be less of a problem for some if they were made to nibble on a very tiny portion once a year. But when you are constantly told to fill up half of your plate with greens that you believe should be served to cows, some would just rather stay hungry.
You may, in the freedom of your adult life, avoid adding vegetables to your diet all you want but you will not be able to avoid the dizzy spells, headaches, painful periods, fatigue, dull looking skin and bowel issues that might come as a result. Are you still wondering why vegetables are so important? Here are some reasons:
- Boosts energy levels
Vegetables help boost energy levels, especially if you cut out processed food. It improves your mood and psychological well-being too. Recent research shows higher vegetable intake can also help you feel calmer and improve your mental well-being.
- Improves gut health and alleviates bowel issues
Constipation is one of the most common bowel problems. The fibre and water in vegetables can help prevent this and promote optimal gut health in general by nourishing the beneficial gut bacteria.
- Weight management
Vegetables fill you without actually filling you up. 200 calories of water leaf will fill an entire sack while 200 calories of pizza will fit the palm of your hand. Vegetables are the answer to hunger pangs and the backbone of any solid diet.
- Healthy looking skin
Vegetables promote healthy looking skin because of their higher water and phytochemical content. That natural skin glow, smooth and supple skin you have longed for can only be achieved by eating your vegetables regularly. Many vegetables are also known for their anti-aging benefits, skin firming and combating wrinkles.
- Optimal nourishment
You need to eat vegetables everyday because you need a supply of vitamins everyday. Some vitamins can be stored for future use and while some cannot. For the body to run its best we need water-soluble vitamins. We need these water-soluble vitamins every single day because they can’t be stored in the body or can only be stored in small amounts and since the body cannot make these vitamins, we have to get them from the food we eat. Vegetables are a rich source of these water-soluble vitamins.
Maybe you already know the benefits but you’re still struggling. There are ways to infuse vegetables in your meals without actually seeing them.
- Juice it all up. Add your favourite fruits into a juicer along with the vegetables you hate but are absolutely essential. Refrigerate this juice, drink and get all the essential nutrients without having to chew it.
- You can hide them in your meals like porridge, stir fry, soups, eggs, pasta etc.
- Prepare it to your taste. Be creative. Add interesting flavors you generally like to it and fry, bake or steam on low heat.
Some of the best and essential vegetables are broccoli, collard greens, water leaf, pumpkin leaves, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, green peppers, carrots, mushrooms, okra, onions, egg plants, cucumber and red peppers.
For your next grocery shopping, add any of these vegetables to your list and find ways to implement them in your meals. Take your time and allow yourself get accustomed to eating vegetables. The recommended intake is 3-5 times daily but the key is baby steps.