With the rise of processed foods and fast food consumption, the nutritional value of vegetables is lost on many. But those of us who subscribe to a healthy lifestyle would never eliminate them from our meals because they form a vital part of our diets and are a primary source for many nutrients that are required by the body to properly function.
Let’s dive deeper into some essential nutrients that are present in vegetables and what health benefits we derive from their consumption.
Vitamins are natural substances that are found in plants; they are essential for staying healthy. An ideal diet includes a fixed percentage of vitamin consumption on a daily basis. Vitamin A is commonly found in carrots, spinach, and broccoli, and is responsible for stimulating the growth of new cells.
Vitamin B releases energy that powers and improves the functions of our nervous system. It’s readily available in all green vegetables.
Vitamin C is essential for repairing tissues and, hence, strengthens the immune system. It’s commonly found in potatoes, cabbage, turnips, cauliflowers, tomatoes, beans, capsicum, lettuce, and spring onions.
These are naturally occurring plant compounds that are readily available in vegetables. Phytonutrients work in a multitude of ways to enhance the functions of our body and improve our health by reducing the risk of several diseases.
Some of the main phytonutrients in vegetables are pro-vitamin A, lycopene, glucosinolates, phenolic acids, and saponins. These reduce the risks of certain types of cancer, improve the functions of our lungs, keep the skin looking healthy and fresh, reduce complications associated with diabetes, as well as the risk of developing heart diseases.
Other than that, phytonutrients improve the body’s immunity and are also responsible for the maintenance of healthy bones.
Minerals such as calcium, potassium, and iron contain inherent properties that improve the circulation of blood in our body. Calcium keeps the bones, teeth, nails, and hair healthy and is found in parsley, celery and leeks.
Potassium is useful in preventing fluctuations in blood pressure levels and is found in all vegetables. Moreover, iron is responsible for regulating the oxygen in our blood cells and is found in large amounts in broccoli and silverbeet.
This essential nutrient keeps the digestive system of our bodies healthy. It reduces the risk of heart diseases and helps us maintain a healthy body weight as well. New research has shown that fiber also reduces the reabsorption of cholesterol and improves digestion of fat. While all vegetables contain fibers, some have it in very high quantities; these include Brussels sprouts, peas, green beans, cabbage, silver corn, cauliflower, and parsnips.
If you’re planning to include the consumption of these nutrients in your everyday diet, check out Eats By The Beach for some tasty, healthy food recipes. Check out our online food blog and try our signature Southwest Quinoa Salad With Spicy Lime Vinaigrette, sweet and sour braised red cabbage and Italian Amaretti Peaches recipe for a nutritious treat!