The Benefits of Eating Vegetables: Part 3

Have you read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series?

Do you remember reading about green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables? No? Click here to catch up.

What about red and orange vegetables? Starchy vegetables? Get the scoop on those ones here.

Already know everything? Go ahead and read about Legumes, Allium vegetables, and root vegetables below.

Legumes

This second to last group of vegetables is also categorized as legumes. They are the seeds that grow inside a pod, like lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, and peanuts.

Legumes are high in protein (in fact, they have the highest amount of protein of all plants), iron, fiber, folate, and magnesium as well as B vitamins, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Soak the Beans

One way to reduce or neutralize the phytic acid content in legumes is to soak, sprout, or ferment them. 

However, some people, particularly people who follow the primal or Paleo lifestyle, have eliminated legumes from their diet. They contain "anti-nutrients," phytic acid which impairs the body's ability to absorb iron, zinc, and calcium.

People who replace meat with beans and other legumes run the risk of developing mineral deficiencies. Meat has enough of these minerals that the body can absorb them even with the presence of phytic acid, so the only people who risk this are vegetarians or people who can't afford much meat. 

Undercooked beans also contain a lectin, a protein that is toxic to humans. Legume lectins resist digestion and affect the intestinal tracts of some people. As well as lectin, legumes contain saponins, one of the proteins believed to increase leaky gut. This isn't completely proved except by people who have eliminated legumes and found relief from their symptoms.

Because they resist digestion, they can cause bloating and gas (I grew up listening to the refrain "beans, beans, the musical fruit"). According to Authority Nutrition, they also improve colon health, even reducing the risk of colon cancer.

Because they are highly satiating and are relatively inexpensive, they both encourage weight loss and are a budget-friendly food choice. They also have been linked to several health benefits including repairing insulin resistance, reducing risk of heart disease, reducing blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol.

Allium Vegetables

Allium vegetables include onions, leeks, garlic, scallions, shallots, and chives. They have been used for centuries in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. They are "antimicrobial, antithrombotic, antitumor, hypolipidaemic, antiarthritic and hypoglycemic agents."[1] They may also be anti-cancerous. They help lower blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol. Alliums have anti-inflammatory properties, so they help combat conditions like arthritis. Leeks also contain inulin, which increases calcium absorption. Paired with high-calcium foods, they help fend off osteoporosis.

Root Vegetables

Beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, ginger, and yams are all examples of root vegetables. They contain high levels of iron, folate, and other minerals that they absorb from the dirt they grow in. They store very well, they're high in complex carbohydrates, making them a great energy source that helps you feel full longer as well as regulate blood sugar.

The others have been touched on already, but beets are extremely beneficial. It improves the absorption of oxygen, promotes healthy pregnancy, and purify the blood. They contain betaine, a natural anti-depressant. They are high in natural sugars that release slowly into the blood stream.

Sources: 

1 | 2 | 3  | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26

Return to Home Page