Generally speaking, a herbaceous plant or plant part which is regularly eaten as unsweetened or salted food by humans is considered to be a vegetable. Their health benefits are manifold -- they are brimming and overflowing with fibre, and also a whole range of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and many other protective ingredients, and are also low in calories.
- Dark green and orange vegetables help protect against cancer of the throat and lungs. These vegetables contain beta-carotene, a pigment which is converted into vitamin A by the body. Foods high in beta-carotene can help prevent cancer. This group of vegetables includes carrots, winter squash, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes etc.
- Many vegetables like amla and lemon are also high in vitamin C, and can help prevent cancer of the throat and stomach. Other vegetables rich in vitamin C include peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, water chestnuts, tomatoes and greens. Vegetables high in vitamin C boost up the immune system of the body.
- Some vegetables are very good sources of the mineral iron. Iron is needed to build blood and provide energy. Too little iron in the diet can cause anaemia. Iron is highest in spinach, peas, lima beans, black-eyed peas, beet roots and whole potatoes.
- Dark green vegetables, such as spinach, mustard greens, and cabbage, are high in calcium too. Calcium is needed for healthy bones and teeth.
- There are thousands of known plant pigments, including flavonoids, carotenoids and anthocyanins. Flavonoids are phenolic compounds which occur in all fruits and vegetables. Capsicum, pumpkin, brinjal, red carrot, tomatoes, sweet potato, black carrot, cherries, greens of the winter season, mint , amla, tinda, red grapes, green beans, red and yellow onions, apples, broccoli and tea are major sources. Flavonoids have known antioxidant activities. Anthocyanins are found in black carrots, drumsticks, banana flower, berries, mulberry, pomegranate, and cherries, they may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by inhibiting cholesterol formation.
- Other benefits of vegetable: Dietary intake of potassium is mainly derived from fruits and vegetables. Potassium has an important role in energy metabolism, deficiency results in muscular weakness and mental confusion and is reflected in heart malfunction.
Tips For Getting the Most From Vegetables
- Try to get more calories from veggies than from carbs and proteins. If you need 2,000 calories a day to maintain your weight and health, aim for at least 4½ cups of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Choose a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Include dark-green, leafy vegetables; yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables; purple and deep red fruits, tomatoes; and citrus fruits.
- The easiest way to get a balanced mix of veggies is to aim for multi-coloured
dishes -- each colour in vegetables and fruits represents a different health giving nutrient.
- Health benefits of Vegetables