Everyone associates eating healthy with vegetables. Why? Many people dread the idea of eating vegetables because they're bland or they don't like them. They just eat them because they know they're good for them.
For me, vegetables were an acquired taste and I still dread some of them. Once I started cooking them myself, however, I found some of them weren't as bad as I previously thought, they just needed to be prepared properly.
So without further ado, here are four reasons why you should eat vegetables (in no particular order).
1. Their cost to volume ratio is the most cost effective way to eat healthy.
Eating healthy costs more. It's an unfortunate fact of the corporate food system. Pre-packaged foods last longer, are cheaper to mass produce, and they are easier to find. If you want to eat healthy, the bulk of your diet will be meat and vegetables. Meat, especially quality meat that sustains the environment and came from healthy, well-treated animals without hormones and antibiotics, can be pretty pricey.
That leaves a lot of vegetable to make up the bulk of your diet. If you read our page on why you should eat healthy, you'll know that it takes less whole food to satiate your body than processed food. Because our brains and bodies recognize the food and nutrition of whole foods, we get the signal that we are full and satiated once we've eaten a normal portion.
When we eat processed foods, our brains don't recognize the ingredients as food, and we continue to receive the signal to eat because even though our stomachs are full, our brain and body are starving. We end up snacking and eating more than is necessary to fuel that hungry feeling, even when we're so full, we feel like we might burst.
Our bodies take longer to digest whole, real foods than processed foods, so they stay in our stomach longer, making us feel full longer.
When the bulk of our diets are made up of vegetables, fruit, and meat, we end up eating less, feeling full faster, and getting more for our money, nutritionally speaking.
Getting vegetables when they are in season from farmer's markets is usually the way to get vegetables at their least expensive. Using the ads in your newspaper is a great way to know ahead of time what vegetables are on sale each week.
Getting organic vegetables is more expensive than regular vegetables, but eating non-organic vegetables is still a better option than eating pre-packaged foods. You can soak them in vinegar water or vegetable wash to get rid of most of the wax and pesticides on the outside.
2. Vegetables contain vitamins and minerals necessary to fuel your body's systems.
According to the National Institute of Health, the body needs 23 different vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, D, etc. We can get almost all of these from vegetables. The rest we get from meat (or supplements, if you're a vegetarian) or by exposure to the sun.
These vitamins and minerals are essential to the body. They boost our immune system, make us happier, stabilise our moods, help our brains remember things, keep our joints healthy and moving without pain, help us recover from injuries, and help us sleep better.
Basically, without them, our bodies become sluggish, pain-ridden, and incapable of performing our daily tasks. We need them for our physical and mental health.
3. They taste really good!
Trying to include more vegetables into your diet sounds like you're just going to be eating more salad, but that's not true. I mean, you could, it's a great way to include the vegetables, but you don't have to just eat salad. Roasting vegetables in oil and garlic is really tasty. They are wonderful in soup. They gain a whole new flavor when grilled. They can be puréed into sauces for meat or even other vegetables.
Google is your best friend when looking for new ways to prepare vegetables. Other people have already gone to all the trouble to create recipes, all you have to do is copy them.
Spices are your next best friend. Seriously. Aside from their own health benefits, they change your dish from boring to exotic. Even just freshly ground pepper and sea salt is enough the begin with.
4. Reduces risk of disease.
Diets high in fruits and vegetables are scientifically proven to reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, and high blood pressure. And while there has only been minimal testing in this, diets high in vegetables and fruits have also been known to reduce the risk of cancer.
I have read dozens and dozens of stories of people who have completed programs like the Whole30 and changed their lives by taking their health into their own hands.
These are only 4 reasons of dozens. It changes your skin, your mental awareness, your mood, and so many other things you would never suspect are related to your diet.