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Seven Reasons Why Vegetables Should Be In Your Diet

By HealthLife Contributor
Updated: August 23, 2008
Vegetables are one of the best kept secrets to becoming healthier and maintaining a healthy weight. Vegetables are crunchy, colorful, and packed with nutrients and vitamins that are essential on a daily basis. Here are seven reasons why vegetables should be in your diet.

1. Vegetables are colorful and look great on the plate. Eye appeal is so important when we look at a plate of food. We'll determine pretty quickly whether it looks appetizing to us or not. Dark green vegetables, bright red or orange vegetables are all great choices as side dishes or additions to salads. Romaine lettuce and spinach provide vitamin B2, while carrots and sweet potatoes boost the immune system with beta-carotene. Tomatoes and red bell peppers will help the body absorb iron by providing Vitamin C.

2. Vegetables will help you stave off cravings. Do you need something to crunch? To quickly stave off those hunger pangs, keep freshly cut veggies in snack-size bags handy in the refrigerator. That way, it's just as easy to grab one of those as it would be to grab the fat-filled potato chips.

3. Vegetables aren't just for salads. Although vegetables are fantastic in a salad, there are so many other ways to fix them. Get creative! Give your favorite vegetables a coat of high-quality olive oil and roast them in the oven. You'll be surprised by the intense flavor. Stir-fry fresh vegetables and spices together for a delicious side dish or main meal. Serve them over whole grain brown rice or as a side to grilled chicken breast. Don't forget the squash. Zucchini and yellow squash make a mouth-watering side dish when sliced, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with basil, and baked in the oven.
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4. Vegetables have great flavor. Vegetables are packed with great taste. Experiment with ways to make them a focal point of the meal. Try tossing your favorite fresh vegetables with olive oil and lemon juice in place of the cream-based dressings. Spices are the key when preparing vegetables. Try everything from oregano, ginger, garlic, chili powder and basil to awaken your taste buds and you'll enjoy vegetables even more.

5. Vegetables are a great tool for losing and maintaining a healthy weight. Vegetables provide our bodies with much-needed energy and dietary fiber and are very low in fat and calories. We can munch on fresh vegetables pretty much any time and not affect our weight, as the high fiber and water content fills us up faster. Vegetables are also low in sodium, which helps to reduce water gain.

6. Vegetables are naturally high in fiber. The digestive system requires fiber in order to stay toned and work properly. When we include more fiber in our diet, the insides of the digestive system remain clear and as a result, can help us to avoid constipation, irregularity, polyps and possibly colon cancers.

7. Vegetables help fight disease. Vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals which have been shown to help fight cancer and other diseases by stunting the growth of malignant cells in the body. Combined with fruits, vegetables are a powerful tool for preventing illness.

A good rule of thumb: fill half of your plate with vegetables, one fourth of the plate with lean protein and the last fourth with whole grains. Vegetables are a key element in our diet to help us get healthy and remain that way for a lifetime.
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