When we consume vegetables and fruits on a daily basis it provides our bodies with the nutrition it needs, such as vitamins, minerals, and much needed balance. Without these nutrients our bodies would not function as optimally as they could. For example, fatigue, susceptibility to illness, and a lack of ability to focus are some of the side effects of not meeting our daily ‘food pyramid’ requirements as most of us learn in elementary education. Likewise, attempting to deprive yourself of certain much-needed food groups or nutrients for weight loss is also dangerous . In fact, it can be quite counterproductive.
A study published in the PLOS journal of medicine identified over a 24-year period how nearly 120,000 individuals between the ages of 30 and 40 benefited from weight loss and better management through the consumption of fiber-based vegetables and fruits. That is, as fiber not only aids in the natural human-excretion process, but also aids the metabolism as well in terms of processing nutrients. Additionally, fiber-based foods such as soy-products and citrus fruits proved through research to be helpful in managing hunger and successfully obtaining weight-loss, as they leave you feeling full for longer periods of time. It’s worth noting that some fruits and vegetables have more calories, sodium, or sugar (glucose) than others and should be consumed with discretion.
Starchy vegetables, just like starchy foods such as rice and bread, can cause weight-gain, as well as unwanted fat, sodium, and even sugars. Some foods to keep in mind that have these effects are corn, potatoes, and even peas. Again, this does not mean to stop consuming these fruits and vegetables when attempting to pursue weight loss and management. In fact, research shows less than 10% of Americans consume the daily requirements for fruits and vegetables. Interestingly enough, vegetables like potatoes are full of much-needed nutrients for the body such as Potassium and even Vitamin K!
A common challenge is that most fruits and vegetables consumed by Americans are frozen, not fresh, and are therefore depleted once through the process of defrosting. Again, said foods are then depleted of valuable nutrients dependent upon the process of cooking, such as frying or baking. Some might argue that this is a cultural dynamic, as many Americans live a fast-paced, unavailable life and otherwise struggle to find time, nor learn or properly understand how to acquire and prepare fresh fruits and vegetables–or why they’re so important. It is worthwhile and will undoubtedly be beneficial to your health to research and find affordable fresh fruits and vegetables through places such as a local market or farm when possible. Your body will thank you!
Image credit: Roman Iegoshyn