ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VEGETABLES
In total, there are 5 main food groups that, according to modern recommendations, should be consumed daily: cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy and protein products. People who eat more vegetables as part of a balanced diet have a lower risk of developing many diseases. Any vegetable or fresh vegetable juice belongs to the group of vegetables. Today I will tell you what you need to know about this product group.
What are the groups of vegetables?
Depending on their nutrient content, vegetables are divided into 5 subgroups:
- Dark green. This includes broccoli, leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, romaine, iceberg lettuce, watercress, and other salads);
- Red and orange vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes);
- Starchy (corn, white potatoes, green peas);
- Legumes (beans, soybeans and dried peas) - they also belong to starchy vegetables and protein group of products;
- Other vegetables - cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, celery, beets, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, artichoke.
Red and orange vegetables are good sources of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. It is recommended to eat 4 to 6 cups of red and orange vegetables every week.
Starchy vegetables and legumes are a source of carbohydrates, fiber, and many minerals, while legumes are an excellent source of protein, iron, and fiber. 5 cups of starchy vegetables and 1.5 cups of legumes are recommended per week.
It's important to know. Although sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and legumes are all vegetables, they should be consumed in more modest amounts than other vegetables. This is because they contain much more carbohydrates in the form of starch and are similar in calories to grains. This must be taken into account when planning a diet. By the way, to get a ready-made and balanced diet, you can use our nutrition programs!
The rest of the vegetables vary in nutrient content. Most adults are advised to eat 3.5-5 cups per week.
What else is in vegetables?
Plant-based foods, including vegetables, produce chemical compounds that scientists have combined into a single term - phytonutrients. If we talk about phytonutrients from vegetables, then most often they are divided into 5 or 6 groups, depending on the predominant pigment (color) that these same phytonutrients give them: red, yellow / orange, green, purple / blue and white / beige:
- Red vegetables contain phytonutrients that have been linked to reducing inflammation, antioxidant properties and supporting the immune system.
- Yellow / orange has been associated with reproductive health, endocrine and eye health. Yellow - with enzymatic activity, regulation of gastric motility, the formation of a healthy intestinal microflora. Both orange and yellow vegetables have antioxidant properties.
- Green color can inhibit the activity of carcinogens and protect blood vessels from damage, reduce the risk of development or progression of age-related eye diseases.
Violet / cyan / blue can slow down cell aging and prevent blood clots from forming, as well as support memory, thought processes and good mood.
- White / beige has anti-carcinogenic properties. For example, the phytonutrient allicin is found in garlic and is only released when chewed / minced.
What else do you need to know about vegetables?
Vegetables can be eaten in a variety of ways: raw (fresh), boiled, stewed, frozen, dried and grilled. The main thing is that you eat them! Include vegetables in all your main meals and, if possible, in your snacks.
To get the most of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber, vegetables are best eaten with the peel. Try to follow the rainbow principle. Eat different colors of vegetables every day. This will give you a mixture of different nutrients that work together.
Buy vegetables in season when they taste best and are available at a good price.
Choose firm frozen vegetables without ice. Ice may indicate that vegetables have been re-frozen.
Cut off any damaged areas on fresh vegetables before cooking and / or eating. Throw away vegetables that look rotten.
Be sure to wash all vegetables, even if they grow in your garden!
The amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on your gender and your level of physical activity. The amount each person needs can vary from 2 to 3 cups a day, especially when we are talking about green, red and orange vegetables. But if you are very active physically, you may need more vegetables.
Eat vegetables and be healthy!