So many people do not like vegetables, most often from being force fed them as a child and bad experiences of being presented with soggy platefuls of them.
But vegetables are critical to a good diet and missing out on them can result in many health problems, such as constipation, skin problems, and an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Why are vegetables good for you?RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
They are nutrient dense foods high in fibre and water. Vegetables overall can be split into two groups by colour being: green and orange.
Green vegetables are in low starch and high in minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium, Vitamins C and folic acid. They get their colour from the pigment chlorophyll.
To absorb the above nutrients, particularly the vitamin C and folic acid, it’s important not to over cook them. So ideally steam and eat them al dente. While many of the leaves can be eaten raw in salads or within smoothies.
Vegetables in this group are:
Brassicas: Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, watercress.
Beans: French beans, garden peas and mange toute.
Orange vegetables are generally high in starch and sweet tasting. They contain beta carotenes which are fat soluble antioxidant vitamins and need fat to absorb them.
These vegetables taste sweet and should be cooked until soft with a healthy oil added to them such as olive or coconut.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash which can be made into soups, roasted or boiled and mashed .
Red are less starchy – bell peppers/sweet peppers and tomatoes but still need oil to absorb them due to their high beta carotene content.
Other helpful vegetables
Onions, garlic and chicory which have a prebiotic effect which means they feed the good bacteria in the digestive system to help keep the colon regular and boost the immune system.
– Potassium supports a healthy heart and flushes out excess sodium to help control blood pressure.
– Magnesium helps relax muscles which helps reduce headaches and aids sleep/energy balance. Stress and sugar deplete magnesium!
– Calcium aids strong bones and it is thought that a cupful of broccoli may contain more calcium than a glass of milk.
– Folic acid supports the nervous system and is important for a healthy pregnancy and heart health.
– Vitamin C supports immune health, skin health and stress hormones.
– Betacarotenes support skin health especially against acne and sunburn. It converts to Vitamin A which supports eye health and internal linings for lungs and digestion. So conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome may benefit from more.
– Fibre helps reduces hunger, manages cholesterol levels and helps promote regular bowels.
– Water helps reduce constipation and also increases fullness.
You should aim to eat 3 to 4 portions of vegetables daily.
1 portion being 80g in weight or 1 cupful.
Smoothie with kale, celery, cucumber sweetened with coconut water.
Large green salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing or Butternut Squash Soup. Recommend Glorious Brand!
Stir fry with broccoli, spinach, peppers and mange tout or roasted sweet potato with tomatoes, courgettes and red onions cooked in coconut oil or olive oil.