Why eat more vegetables?
Every healthy whole food diet should include plenty of vegetables. Vegetables contain a wide range of anti-inflammatory compounds. The natural soluble and insoluble fiber in all vegetables promotes health in many ways. A wide variety of vegetables supplies a wide variety of important vitamins, minerals and other micro-nutrients.
These factors combine to produce a healthy synergy. The total health benefit of eating more, and more variety, of vegetables is greater than expected. People eating the most vegetables tend to have stronger immune systems, get fewer infections, have lower levels of inflammation and lower rates of cancer. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases are also much lower among vegetable eaters.
Eating enough vegetables can be difficult. Many people just are not used to eating large portions of vegetables at every meal. Vegetables often don’t taste “good” to people eating diets high in processed foods such as white bread, fast-food burgers and fries, frozen meals, potato chips and soda. Changing these habits and tastes is hard work and takes time.
One easy solution is to add more vegetables to common recipes. When I make meatloaf, there is onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bell pepper, parsnip and more in every bite. It is easier to eat more vegetables when the vegetables are part of something else. Use this same strategy when making tuna salad, deviled eggs and other recipes. The meal tastes better and is much healthier.
Another way to eat more vegetables is increasing the size of vegetable portions. Reduce the size of meat and fish portions to maintain meal size. Modern western diets contain more protein than needed for good health. Also, most vegetables contain some protein. Eating a wide variety of vegetables every day increases the amount of complete protein in our diet.
Several vegetarian meals every week help us eat more vegetables. Eggplant Parmesan, eggplant rollatini, polenta and vegetable stir fries supply plenty of nutrition and plenty of veggies. Theses meals have an important place in every healthy whole food diet.
Stew and soup entrees make it easy to eat more vegetables. Use lots of vegetables and go light on the animal protein. Or just make them vegan. The meat is not missed in these hearty dishes.