Expand your palate and welcome a whole new realm of flavour and health benefits when you explore the incredible, exciting world of your local farmer’s market.
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 vegetable 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 anticancer 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 per cent. That’s 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 angiogenesis (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! And if you want to increase the heat, reach for chili peppers — the capsaicin in these peppers helps fight inflammation and can also aid digestion
Healthy on the Outsid
Another fantastic side effect of eating more veggies is a clear, radiant complexion. If you want to preserve the elasticity of your skin, eat slow-cooked tomatoes! Their lycopene helps increase your skin’s natural SPF and also contributes to the production of collagen. But don’t stop at veggies: herbs like rosemary and thyme are packed with antioxidants that help prevent skin cancer and keep cells free from damage caused by the sun and aging. Finally, the anti-inflammatory properties of vegetables contribute to clear skin, as inflammation is now known to be one of the root causes of acne. Keep in mind that there are many more vegetables that contribute to skin health, collagen production, and general well-being. These are just a few
When your mother told you that vegetables were good for you, she was right. If your goal isn’t just to have a great set of abs but also great skin, flexible joints, and a healthy metabolism, you will definitely want to keep these nutritional powerhouses in your diet. Vegetables are high in water and fibre, as well as hundreds of phytonutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. They add variety to your meals, help to fill you up if you are trying to lose weight, and they are relatively cheap, as far as ingredients go. There are many, many thousands of great recipes on the Internet, as well as nutritional info sites like whfoods.com that list many of the benefits of individual vegetables. Try looking up your favourite vegetable or a new variety that you want to experiment with, and be inspired by all of its good qualities you learn. Find a recipe that you can adapt to your needs and start building a repertoire of side dishes worthy of a woman who is focused on eating well, looking great, and being physically fit inside and out.