Everyone knows vegetables are good for you. Everyone knows we should eat them everyday. How many did you eat today?
The more I read, the more convinced I am that not only are they good for you, they are critical for maximizing health. Eating a lot of vegetables is good, eating a wide variety is even better.
Vegetables contain different vitamins, nutrients and phytonutrients which are important for overall health. Overall, vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrients. That is a win-win! According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “eating more fruits and vegetables adds nutrients to diets, reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and helps manage body weight when consumed in place of more energy-dense foods”.
Remember President Bush and his statements on broccoli? Take a trip down memory lane here!
According to the USDA, potatoes and tomatoes are the most consumed vegetables and primarily in the form of french fries and pizza.
Newsflash – French fries deep fried in vegetable oil and ketchup loaded with sugar are not healthy. Personally I think it is crazy those food items are even in the same category as vegetables.
In a 2015 study, the CDC reported that less the 9% of adult Americans ate the recommended 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. That means 92% of us, don’t or are unable to choose health in terms of vegetable consumption. This 2-3 cup recommendation is established for people who engage in less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. For those of us who are more active, we should be eating even more vegetables.
Do you think the CDC was counting potatoes in the form of french fries or tomatoes in the form of ketchup or sauce on pizza as part of our vegetable consumption? That would make a bad situation even worse!
At any given time in my house you can find onions, potatoes (white, red, yellow), sweet potato, carrots, peppers (all colors), broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, romaine and red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, celery, garlic, corn, butternut squash, zucchini and mushrooms.
Overall, I always thought I ate a lot of vegetables and a decent variety compared to the average American. I mean I have green, yellow, red, orange, purple, brown and yellow in terms of colors in my diet. But essentially, I eat around 20 different vegetables over the course of a typical month.
I was trying to look up how many different vegetables existed but gave up when one source stated there were 4000 varieties of tomatoes alone!
I am going on a quest to increase the variety of vegetables in my diet. There are so many to choose from, most packing a healthy punch of nutrition.
Arugula, bok choy, collard greens, dill, endive, fiddlehead, grape leaves, hijki, ivory gourd, jicama, kale, leak, mustard greens, nori, okra, parsnip, radicchio, swiss chard, turnip greens, urad bean, velvet bean, water chestnuts, and yao choy.
As part of my Whole30 experiment I have been eating vegetables with every meal, every day. I think this is the easiest way to increase overall consumption. On a typical day, I stir fry up mushroom and spinach with my eggs for breakfast, eat a big salad as part of lunch and have roasted butternut squash, onions and tomatoes with dinner. Thanks to Number 9, I just discovered cauliflower rice and it is awesome. Toss in some jalapeno and OMG!
If increasing your vegetable intake seems impossible, check out my post on some suggestions on how to solve impossible problems! Eating some with every meal is a good start!
I enjoy so many vegetables and don’t really have a favorite. I can’t say I love them all but am usually willing to try anything! I am going to double the variety of vegetables in my monthly diet to 40 over the next few months.
Don’t be like former President Bush – choose health by eating your broccoli and your bok choy!