Mom knew best when she demanded that we eat our vegetables. Vegetables are powerhouses when it comes to maintaining optimal health. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients – all of which help fight disease, obesity, and aging. Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C, among others.
Fibrous vegetables (E.g., peppers, carrots, leafy greens) are especially helpful in weight management: they are high in water, and extremely low in calories and fat, so they fill you up with very few calories. They are high in fiber too, which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowers the risk for heart disease and aids in proper digestion.
The colors found in vegetables are a result of some of the phytonutrients they contain. Phytonutrients are plant compounds that are thought to have health-protecting qualities. Although vegetables contain a lot of nutrients beyond their attributed colored phytonutrient, eating all of the colors of the rainbow helps to ensure that you’re getting a broad spectrum of health-protecting nutrients in your diet. Refer to Every Color of the Rainbow – Vegetables to get a breakdown of typical vegetables, their colors and the associated phytonutrients and their benefits:
|Color||Phytonutrient||Vegetables||What it Does|
|Yellow / Orange||Bioflavonoids
Broccoli Rabe Brussels Sprouts
Chinese Cabbage Cucumbers
Sugar Snap Peas
|Blue / Purple||Anthocyanins
Purple Belgian Endive
|White / Tan / Brown||Allicin||Cauliflower
Are you well-rounded in the veggies you eat?
Adapted from 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You. Make real, lasting change with this easy to follow, week-by-week guide to healthy change. Get it now at Amazon.com.