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The ABC's of Veggies

by The traineo Team

“I'm just going to grab a quick snack from the kitchen”: a familiar phrase that conjures up a variety of images, including those of a handful of nuts, a slice of fruit and a bowl of cereal. Unfortunately, vegetables are not typically considered to be part of this group of common snacks. I suggest that, because of the many benefits of vegetables, we strive to have plenty of veggies around at all times, and make them a major part of daily diet and snack breaks.

We all know that the Daily Food Guide suggests that the average American eat five to twelve servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Most of us, if we do reach this suggested daily range, do so by eating fruit. We do so out of convenience. Because both fruits and veggies are good for us, we are indifferent between the two, and so choose the more readily available of the two. Fruit comes in ready-made portions, is inexpensive, and so convenient that it's even sold in corner stores.

Vegetables, though available in all supermarkets and are part of the menu of just about every restaurant, are not quite as easy to come by and are normally more expensive than are fruits. Although they're slightly harder to come by than are fruits, vegetables should be just as integral a part of our daily diets.

Here are only some of the great things that vegetables can do for you:
  1. Protect against Heart Disease: Eating vegetables not only helps prevent against heart disease, but has also been shown to slow down the Disease's effects on those who have already been diagnosed with Heart Disease. Beans and peas are often cited as the best veggies to accomplish this task.
  2. Help prevent against Cancer: Broccoli and cauliflower, known as a group as “cruciferous vegetables” contain several cancer-fighting agents. In addition, they contain enzymes that can slow and sometimes even stop the effects of growing cancer cells.
  3. Reduce Blood Pressure: Some vegetables (celery in particular) contain compounds which work by relaxing, and so allowing to dilate, the arteries that control blood pressure.
  4. Promote Weight Loss: Vegetables are low in both calories and fat, but like all high fiber snacks, will fill you up and keep you from getting hungry between meals.
  5. Slow down the Effects of Aging: It's been found that blue and purple vegetables in particular might slow down the physical effects of aging.
  6. Improve your Vision: Carrots contain a nutrient called Beta-Carotene which protects the eyes from the natural effects of aging on them. Also, it's thought that vegetables help in preventing cataracts.

The list could definitely keep going. It may take you one more minute to prepare a plate of carrots and celery than it would to scoop a bowl of ice cream, but from the looks of its benefits, the vegetable option is certainly worth the extra time. Next time you walk into a grocery store, head straight for the produce aisle and toss some carrots, celery, tomato and cucumber into your cart. Your body will thank you for years.