By adding vegetables to your plate you are doing wonders for your body and overall diet! By creating a colorful plate you are adding Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, plus many others, to your diet. These vitamins and minerals play a significant role in maintaining cell reproduction, digestive health, and even your eyesight. I believe it is important to understand how food affects your body, whether it's good or bad. The more we understand our relationship with food, the easier it becomes to make healthy decisions.
Many people are not aware of the different roles vitamins play in your body, so I thought I would break it down. The vitamins and minerals listed have many more benefits than the ones listed, but thought I would give you a quick breakdown or this would quickly turn into a text book.
Vitamin A: great for your eyes
Vitamin B: Helps your immune function and energy production, red blood cell production
Vitamin C: Skin elasticity, antioxidant (helps to stop the production of free radicals, which can damage cells), helps your body absorb iron
Vitamin D: Bone health
Vitamin E: Antioxidant
Vitamin K: Helps your blood to clot
Magnesium: Helps with muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation,
Phosphorus: work with calcium to build strong bones and teeth
Potassium: crucial for your heart and helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure
Iron: Helps to build muscle and maintain healthy blood
Vegetables are not only packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals but they are also a great source of fiber! Fiber does wonders for our body and many people do not get the recommended amounts (38g for men and 25 g for women per day). Research has found that fiber helps to lower cholesterol (heart healthy), help to relieve constipation, help protect against some cancers, and also increase our satiety (great for weight control).
So, now that we know why fiber is good, do you know what it actually does in your body? Our bodies are unable to break down dietary fiber. What does that mean? When you consume fiber your body does not have the enzyme that allows you to break the fiber down and absorb it. This allows fiber to pass through your stomach and intestine and have a positive impact on your overall health. There are two different types of fiber and they both have health benefits: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and slows the passage of your stool down through your intestine. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, therefore it holds onto water and can help to relieve your constipation and make your bowels more regular. AKA, fiber is great for regulating your bowels and colon health!
Enough about fiber (although I can go on about it for days) and back to vegetables in your diet! There are so many different ways to incorporate vegetables into your everyday diet. However, when cooking vegetables be mindful of the oils and seasonings you add to them. You do not want to make your vegetables a vehicle to increase your fat and sodium intake. Get creative with them and have fun experimenting. If you are anything like me you will fail creating good vegetable smoothies more times then creating delicious ones- don't get discouraged. I have attached a few of my favorite recipes below. Please feel free to comment below or email me with questions you may have!