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4 Reasons to Eat More Vegetables

June 10, 2024

Some people love vegetables, while others struggle to add any green to their dinner plate.

If you need some motivation to eat your vegetables, here are four expert-backed reasons why they should be a staple at every meal.

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1. Heart health.

Looking to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol? Look no further.

“Vegetables are loaded with nutrients that help with all of these conditions,” says Amy Habeck, RD, registered dietitian with Hartford HealthCare. “For example, the fiber helps to reduce cholesterol absorption. Potassium, magnesium and other minerals can help control blood pressure.”

Not sure which vegetables to choose? Try a high-fiber option like:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Bok choy

Beets are another great choice, which naturally help the blood vessels dilate and can help control blood pressure. But be careful how you make them – some preparation methods are high in sugar or sodium.

> Related: 6 Low Carb Vegetables to Add to Your Diet

2. Digestive health.

You can thank fiber for this one too – vegetables are great for gut health.

“Getting plenty of fiber in your diet can reduce constipation. This helps with both bloating and general gut health,” says Habeck.

And water is just as important.

“The high water content in vegetables also plays a role,” Habeck adds. “This helps soften stool and prevents constipation.”

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3. Cognitive function.

Want to protect yourself from both Alzheimer’s and dementia? Some studies have found that vegetables can help.

“The fiber found in vegetables can slow down the blood sugar increase that happens when you eat. That increase can negatively impact the ability to think and concentrate.”

Getting plenty of vegetables in your diet can help with:

  • Focus
  • Attention span
  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Clear thinking

4. Weight loss.

Tired of putting down the fork before you feel full? Vegetables offer a simple solution.

“Vegetables promote satiety, meaning they help you feel full sooner and for longer,” says Habeck.

Try choosing a non-starchy, high-fiber vegetable such as:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots

“These are also low in calories, promoting satiety while lowering overall calorie intake,” says Habeck. “And these vegetables also promote bowel regularity, which may reduce bloating and discomfort.”

Here’s how to get more vegetables in every meal.

If you’re sold on eating more vegetables, but not sure how to do it, Habeck has a few tips.

“Try to include one to two cups of non-starchy vegetables with each meal. This will also help you reach your daily fiber goals – 25 grams for women , or 38 grams for men,” she says.

Here’s how it’s done.

  • Breakfast. To get more vegetables in your breakfast, try adding sliced or mashed avocado and a few slices of tomato on whole grain toast. If that isn’t for you, sauté mixed vegetables with egg whites for an easy veggie scramble.
  • Lunch. Create a healthy veggie wrap with spinach, tomato, cucumber, peppers and shredded carrots. Raw vegetables with hummus or a low-fat veggie dip offer another great option .
  • Dinner. Aim to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. This could include a side of steamed, roasted, sautéed or baked vegetables, or a garden salad. For fewer dishes to wash, Habeck recommends experimenting with sheet pan meals consisting of roasted vegetables and a lean protein.
  • Snacks. Habeck’s best advice? Keep plenty of sliced vegetables on hand, so a healthy snack never sounds like too much work. Plan snacks around vegetables, or just have them by themselves for a crunch and delicious treat.

And one bonus tip for making it to the end:

“Taking a walk or exercising for just 20-30 minutes each day can help you get the best results,” says Habeck. “Movement helps reduce blood sugar and promote heart health.”

Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week to improve your heart health, mood and blood sugar.

Am I eligible for weight loss surgery?

Take this health risk assessment to learn what it takes to qualify for Hartford HealthCare’s Surgical Weight Loss Program and what it could mean for your health.

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