A new year is upon us, and what better time to kick-start new healthy habits. We all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, but from time to time it's beneficial to remind ourselves just how good. So let’s go over a few of the benefits of having plants take over your plate.
Combat disease: Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants which help to eliminate harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals are believed to contribute to a host of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The same antioxidants that clear up free radicals also help boost the immune system - an important thing during cold and flu season. Plants are also naturally free of cholesterol, so a diet with a lower intake of animal fat, and a higher intake of fruits and vegetables will cut down on your intake of bad cholesterol.
Weight Control: A plate full of veggies can help you stick to a weight-loss or weight-maintenance diet, since they are filling and in most instances have surprisingly few calories. You can pile them up without piling it on.
More Energy: Plant foods are great for boosting energy! Whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables won’t bog down your insides because they are easier to digest. So if you don’t want to feel sluggish in the afternoon, have a colourful salad for lunch instead of a smoked meat sandwich.
Be Regular: This topic may not be at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions, but that sure doesn’t make it any less important. High fiber plant foods like beans, berries and leafy greens can also do wonders for your intestinal health. They help in reducing constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Fiber will assist in the elimination of toxic waste from the body as well. It is recommended that on average you should get anywhere from 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day. A medium banana has around 3 grams of fiber which will provide about 10% of your daily fiber requirement.
For your next meal try making a new fruit or vegetable the star of the show!