As a child, you may have been told to eat your vegetables because they’re good you. Ever wonder why vegetables are so highly rated?
People who eat vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are more likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer and obesity.
In their most natural form vegetables provide nutrients that are important for the health and maintenance of your body.
One important vegetable fact is that most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and contain no cholesterol. Good news for those of you trying to lose or manage your weight.
Vegetables are grouped as dark green leafy and yellow vegetables and other.
Dark green leafy vegetables include beet tops, parsley, watercress, lettuce, cabbage, spinach or kale, and yellow vegetables are carrot or pumpkin.
Other types of vegetables, simply grouped as other, include cucumber, celery, christophine, eggplant, chive, ochro.
Our local vegetables are rich in potassium, dietary fibre, folate (folic acid), Vitamins A and C.
Let’s look more in-depth at the nutrients found in our local vegetables.
Potassium, a main nutrient, may help maintain health blood pressure.
Vegetable sources of potassium include beet greens, callaloo spinach and pumpkin.
Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, may lower risk of heart disease and can reduce your risk of some types of cancer.
Fiber is important for proper bowel function; it helps reduce constipation.
Another plus is that vegetable fiber provides a feeling of fullness, causing you to eat less. Vegetables are also rich in folate or folic acid. This is a great option for women of child-bearing age, as it helps form red blood cells.
Eating vegetables also keeps your eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections.
Vegetables are a great source of vitamin C; it helps with the healing of cuts and wounds and keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also aids in iron absorption.
An overall healthy diet rich in vegetables may help keep your body healthy. Vegetables may lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
Many vegetables are 85% to 95% water, which helps hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Eating vegetables doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless. Carrots, which are commonly used in Grenada, are versatile and provides numerous health benefits. It can be used raw as a snack or an addition to fresh vegetable juice, or cooked soups and stews.
A delicious carrot cutlet or carrot and christophene casserole are unique dishes you can try.
If you’re not too sure about carrots; try pumpkins. It can be included in your meals in many creative ways including desserts, soups, smoothies or salads.
Don’t stick to the traditional pumpkin soup or side-dish; try a pumpkin casserole or pumpkin ice-cream.
If you’re not a big fan of vegetables, these tips can help.
Eat vegetables for breakfast, eat as a salad at every meal or eat as a snack. You can prepare vegetables differently to add excitement and variety to your meals.
For those of you who don’t like eating cooked vegetables; consider drinking your veggies in juices or smoothies. A small amount of vegetables every day is better than none at all.
(Submitted by the Grenada Food & Nutrition Council)