We all grew up being told how important it is to eat your vegetables. As a child, you were never allowed to leave the dinner table without finishing your peas and carrots, and sugary treats were doled out only on the weekends, if at all.
Fast forward to adulthood. Nowadays, if you follow some of the trendier fitness models on Instagram who promote a diet of pancakes and Pop Tarts, you might be tempted to throw out the broccoli. If these women can have a six-pack with nary a vegetables in sight, why can’t you?
Don’t be fooled. It’s time to remind yourself that, even though mom and dad are no longer nagging you to clean your plate, the same colourful vegetables you once loathed can help you stay in the pink of health, and looking and feeling better than you ever have before.
Reach for the red
There are numerous research articles documenting the disease fighting benefits of a diet rich in vegetables. They’re packed with phytonutrients such as antioxidants that could help combat many cancers and cardiovascular diseases. They also score high in a vast range of vitamins and minerals that bolster the immune system and encourage healthy cell regeneration. For example, the chemical that gives tomatoes their red pigment, lycopene, has potent anti-cancer properties. But what many people don’t realize is that research has found cooking tomatoes for 30 minutes can increase their lycopene content by up to 164 percent. That is a pretty staggering boost! They’re also incredibly tasty when stewed, and, if you are watching your weight, they are very low in calories.
The power of Purple
Another great cancer-fighting vegetable is the eggplant. The skin of eggplant is rich in nasunin, an agent that inhibits angiogenisis (the growth of new blood vessels), which can prevent cancerous cells from creating their own blood supply and therefore slow their growth. Eggplants are also a rich source of dietary fibre; adding them to your diet can optimize gut health by keeping your digestive system regular. Since your gastrointestinal tract is home to the majority of your body’s immune cells, your well-being and energy levels are inextricably tied to your digestion.
Another vegetable powerhouse is the bell pepper. The yellow, orange, and red varieties are loaded with carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which promotes healthy cell growth and reduces the risk of cancer. Furthermore, only one cup of these delicious vegetables satisfies your daily requirement of vitamins A and C, at only 45 calories. If you want to increase the heat, reach for chilli peppers – the capsaicin In these peppers helps fight inflammation and can also aid digestion.
Need another reason to eat your veggies? Another fantastic side effect is a clear, radiant complexion. If you want to preserve the elasticity of your skin, eat slow-cooked tomatoes! Their lycopene helps increase the skins natural SPF. Reducing the fine lines and wrinkles caused by the sun!
Make sure you check out these two recipes featuring the ingredients we talked about above.