Choose your vegetables with care
The most important thing you do each day is choose your vegetables at every meal. This decision is critical because vegetables should make up the largest part of our diet. If they don’t, we are just not going to be as healthy as possible. This is not a matter of opinion. It is a fact backed up by many studies on diet and health. When people eat more vegetables they are healthier, happier and live longer. They have fewer chronic diseases in their old age.
Any vegetables are better than readily available alternatives like candy, white bread and other highly processed foods. But some vegetables provide a lot more nutrition than others. And some are more potent anti-inflammatory foods than others. We can only eat so much food and so many vegetables each day. We should choose the best whenever there is a choice.
How to choose your vegetables
There are some loose guidelines to help choose your vegetables every day. It is up to each of us to learn these guidelines. It is up to us to put them into practice. Our health is our responsibility, not our doctor’s or our government’s. Choose your vegetables carefully to stay healthier. Stay healthier to stay out of the doctor’s office, out of the hospital and away from the pharmacy.
*Guideline #1. Choose fresh over canned or frozen. Fresh vegetables are unprocessed vegetables. Fresh vegetables do not have added excess salt, preservatives, colors or other unnecessary ingredients. They have not been exposed to chemicals leached from plastic can linings. They still have at least most of their nutrients. And they are much more likely to be grown locally.
*Guideline #2. Choose more brightly colored vegetables. Purple potatoes have more antioxidants than white potatoes. Red onions give us more anti-inflammatory compounds than yellow onions. Red cabbage is better for us than green cabbage. Dark green vegetables supply more nutrients than paler choices.
*Guideline #3. Variety is important when you choose your vegetables. It is better to eat several smaller portions of different vegetables than to eat large amounts of only a few. Nutrients are synergistic in our bodies. The more variety, the bigger the health boost.
Eat the right vegetables for whole food health
Vegetables are the foundation of a healthy whole food diet. Choose your vegetables wisely to make this foundation even stronger. Remember: a stronger foundation makes a stronger house.
Other foods are needed for health. Fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds are all important pieces of the total health puzzle. These whole foods supply fiber, healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and a host of other nutrients. They should be eaten every day, too. But they will always play supporting roles to vegetables’ lead.