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Healthy Vegetables Deliver Good Health: Top Ten Benefits of Vegetables

Heidi Boudro -- Mom was right when she said eat your vegetables. Here's a Top Ten countdown.

What benefits can you expect from the many tastes and textures of healthy vegetables? The benefits of vegetables start with low calories and high fiber and include the prevention of diabetes and cancer.

1. Counting calories?

Vegetables are low in calories but high in nutrition. For this reason, most diets recommend eating plenty of vegetables.

2. Gut problems?

Vegetables are high-fiber foods. Fiber prevents all types of gut problems, especially constipation. Fiber has even been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.

3. Hungry?

Starchy vegetables include potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and winter squash. These complex carbohydrates are high in vitamins and minerals. They're filling and satisfying. As a bonus, they prevent sugar cravings.

4. Overheated?

Cool off with refreshing vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, avocados, and tomatoes.

5. Low energy?

Beans and lentils are high in protein. Brown rice and beans make a "complete protein" and are a staple of nutritious cuisines around the world.

6. Sniffling?

Garlic and onions are antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Onions have been used to treat the common cold. Onions also contain antihistamine substances that fight allergic reactions.

7. Toxic?

Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower (and other cruciferous vegetables) help the body produce the enzymes to detoxify itself of carcinogens and other toxins. Diets for detoxification are always high in vegetables and vegetable juices.

8. Wear and tear?

Phytochemicals ("plant chemicals") in vegetables act as antioxidants that defend the body from the byproducts of metabolism and toxic exposure.

9. Blood sugar problems?

The famous Mediterranean diet (high in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains) improves insulin sensitivity. That is, the body improves its ability to use its insulin to control blood sugar. This greatly lowers the risk of diabetes.

10. Preventing cancer?

A diet high in vegetables has been shown to lower the risk of lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and others. One recent study demonstrated that raw cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, in just a few servings per month, dramatically reduce the risk of bladder cancer.

With all these and more benefits of vegetables, can you resist adding an extra vegetable to tonight's dinner?

Heidi Boudro is the editor of Getting Started With Healthy Eating, a Web site at dedicated to ideas, techniques, and information for beginning and maintaining healthy eating with whole foods. More information can be found there about Healthy Vegetables.

© 2010 Heidi Boudro

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