Eat your vegetables

Vitamins and nutrients found in vegetables.

Did you have a mother who told you to “eat those vegetables?” Generally when someone is told they have to do something it turns into a confrontation. Remember the days of infancy introducing vegetables for the first time, how committed and excited you were to see the results? You knew how important it was back then that your child received enough vegetables, so why is it any different today? Is it because your child can now communicate and negotiate? Whatever the reason, vegetables are the food group most ignored and under consumed.Eat your vegetables to get proper nutrients

Vegetables are important for a variety of reasons and the more variety you eat, the better. Most people require at least three cups of vegetables per day. We need vegetables because they are the foods that have nutrients and vitamins that other foods don’t provide, and that our bodies need in order to keep all 10 body systems healthy.

Think of yourself or your body as a capsule of vessel that contains 10 systems that rely on the other. These systems are the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, endocrine, integumentary, urinary, immune and reproductive. All 10 systems are relying on you to give them the foods they need to function properly.

Michigan State University Extension says that vegetables provide you with a host of vitamins and nutrients:

Fiber: Reduces heart disease risk, prevents constipation and lowers cholesterol – all vegetables contain fiber.

Potassium: Keeps blood pressure healthy and helps muscles contract – sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, lima beans, kidney beans, tomatoes and spinach all contain potassium

Folate: Helps prevent birth defects and helps the body form red blood cells – spinach, navy beans and avocados contain folate.

Vitamin A: Keeps eyes and skin healthy and protects against infection – eat carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, collard green, broccoli and kale.

Vitamin C: Helps heal cuts, fights infection, keeps teeth and gums healthy, helps absorb iron – spinach, potatoes, tomatoes contain vitamin C.

Eating a variety of vegetables and being sure to focus on dark green and orange vegetables will be a sure way to receive a variety of nutrients. Spinach, broccoli and orange colored vegetables are loaded with the most nutrients. Talk to your communicative child about the importance of vegetables and explain some of these nutrient facts. You can be sneaky and get the blender out and puree those vegetables to hide in your pasta sauces, casseroles and soups if they insist on not eating them. If all else fails, you can always do what your mother did and just tell them to “Eat your vegetables!”

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