Not only do vegetables provide nutrients and vitamins that can be hard to get from other sources, but they have a lot of additional benefits that most people don’t even realize. With so many different options available at the grocery store these days, there are a ton of vegetables available that can add variety and nutrition to your diet. Regardless of what you prefer, here are five benefits you can get from vegetables.
1. Vegetables Can Be a Good Source of Protein
Meat isn’t the only type of protein, which is relieving for vegetarians, people following medical diets, and people who just don’t eat that much meat. There are a wide variety of protein-rich veggies out there.
Most of the vegetables on top of the list are beans, including soybeans, lima beans, and pinto beans. Other contenders include spinach, brussels sprouts, avocado, and sweet corn. For even more variety, consider bok choy.
2. Vegetables Are Full of Trace Nutrients
If you’re deficient in calcium, potassium, or vitamin D, it’s easy to diagnose and treat the problem, though deficiencies in nutrients like selenium or iodine are harder to spot. While you don’t need high amounts of micronutrients, skipping them can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from immune problems to hair loss. Luckily, these lesser-known nutrients are found in a variety of vegetables.
3. Eating Vegetables Can Improve Your Mental Health
It isn’t all about the body: sometimes vegetables can provide mental health benefits as well. A 2020 study showed that people who eat a variety of vegetables and fruits tend to have reduced depression and anxiety, as well as an improved sense of optimism in life. Particularly represented in this study were leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, and kale.
There is also another study showing that eating these vegetables raw (or barely cooked) can increase the benefit. This is especially true for carrots and cucumbers.
4. Vegetables Improve Your Gut Health
Due to the antioxidants and high amounts of fiber found in vegetables, increasing your consumption and expanding the variety of vegetables consumed can improve your gut health. A healthy gut does not only result in proper digestion, but also improves mental health, immunity, and prevention of many chronic diseases.
As it turns out, salads have more perks than you think. Leafy greens such as kale and Swiss chard are, again, key players in maintaining a healthy gut and body. The more of a variety, the better.
5. Vegetables Are Good for Your Heart
There’s a lot of evidence out there that proves vegetables can improve your heart’s health, along with decades of studies detailing the positive impact of vegetables on the cardiovascular system. Every year we learn more about how these are linked and what vegetables actually do.
One of the most recent studies found that those who increased the proportion of vegetables in their diet had reduced markers of nearly all indicators of heart disease.