People have known in much of their lifetimes that it is beneficial to take vegetables in our food. For some, it serves as a mere condiment used to garnish the food and make it look more appealing. Others have often used it to improve the taste of their food. Some others use vegetables as a dietary supplement to provide extra nutrients, vitamins and to act as a bowel cleanser. All the above reasons are correct in various degrees in the use of vegetables. However, there are also some people who cannot stand the addition of vegetables to their normal meals.
These sorts of people miss a lot in terms of the tastiness of any particular type of food and what they could stand to gain from its consumption. There are many various types of vegetables but certain ingredients are common to them and in seeking to understand how they positively impact on our overall health, it is better for us to examine what these features are.
Vegetables contain cellulose, a spongy compound which the human stomach is not even designed to digest. Cellulose is the remarkable substance that mostly makes up the fiber in the diet. That compound is able to improve the sheer bulk of our stools and therefore, ease its way through the alimentary canal and get passed out as faeces. Such fiber in the diet helps to flush out waste effectively from the alimentary tract and gastric irritants. By doing this also, they help the body keep various diseases at bay and fight bloating. Cellulose is a complex material which herbivores like goats, sheep and cows are particularly able to digest. These creatures and other similar ones are known as ruminants. Such animals live almost exclusively on these substances and they almost never fall ill. This ability is also replicated in man; as most vegetables help people fend off chronic diseases and to lose weight.
Vegetables are also constituted of about 85 to 95 per cent water which helps hydrate the skin and reduce wrinkles. Besides, they contain substances called phytonutrients which help to guard against premature aging. They accomplish that by preventing cell damage caused by stress, sunshine, environmental pollution and toxins. Brightly coloured vegetables which could be red or orange will usually give the body an added boost of beta carotene which is protective of the skin from the sun’s damage while giving it a healthy glow. One common example of an orange vegetable is the carrot and a red one is the tomato. The latter contains a substance known as lycopene which has been proved to act virtually as a natural sunscreen.
Vitamin C is not only found in citrus fruits: it can also be found in potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, spinach, avocado pear and bell peppers. This vitamin is particularly important in the formation of collagen, a complex compound without which the body cannot repair itself. That means that when an individual has sustained an injury, the healing of the wound is unduly slow and would result in poor tissue repair. Such a repair is not usually as strong as is desired and the recovery from other ailments like infections and even simple coughs is not satisfactory. Normally, the body’s stores of vitamin C and magnesium are quickly depleted in the course of any stress and the steady intake of various vegetables usually helps to restore their levels.
If vegetables help us to reduce stress in the various ways that have been described above, it is for our ultimate good. That is because stress often makes one tired, moody and unable to function optimally. Some people may then binge on food or alcohol as a result of such emotional instability. Such swings in mood and attitude can negatively affect the person’s overall health in many different ways. Sometimes, the changes in physique are truly stunning; from profound obesity with its attendant associated complications to anorexia and asthenia.
The fiber found in vegetables helps to reduce the cholesterol levels or keep it within normal levels. This helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiac arrest. Its folic acid helps the body to form healthy red blood cells. Vegetables also contain vitamin A which is an important supplement for the maintenance of a healthy vision. Furthermore, they contain potassium, which with magnesium, is of vital importance in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. They are able to perform this great role by relaxing the blood vessels and letting blood flow through them without exerting any extra effort from the heart. Now, it is believed that the regular and adequate intake of vegetables is more important than any other factor in preventing colon cancer. It is said that the improved intestinal emptying, the reduction in the time frame that it takes a particular food substance to navigate the length of the alimentary canal ultimately helps to reduce the degree of tissue swelling along the walls of the intestine that has been found to have a definite relationship to the onset of colon cancer. Such tissue swelling is described as an inflammatory reaction and it is termed as a precursor of that deadly disease. As a consequence, it is better from a logical and nutritional point of view to take more vegetables in order to prevent colon cancer.
Many people do not take enough vegetables. Yet, eating more vegetables is one of the simplest choices you can make today to improve your overall health. Besides slowing down cellular aging, they provide you with certain nutrients that can aid you in coping with stress such as B group of vitamins, folic acid, omega-3 fats, magnesium, potassium and glutathione. The latter is the current rage among drug network marketers that is credited with being able to cure nearly every ailment you dare to name. A diet which is rich in vegetables can protect one from arthritis, dementia, stroke, heart disease in addition to colon cancer and is even now being speculated to be able to slow down the entire process of aging.
A recent study has even found that individuals who consume seven or more portions of vegetables a day have an astonishing 42 per cent lower chance of dying from any cause when compared to those who eat less than one portion.
Finally, magnesium which is also very important for good muscle and nerve functions also plays a significant role in maintaining the immune system. Low levels of magnesium have been implicated in the onset of anxiety disorders and migraine. The absorption of calcium, without which we cannot enjoy an adequate level of bone health, is also aided by magnesium. It should now be clear to everyone that our health cannot be maintained without a healthy daily dose of vegetables. Vegetables are not always leafy greens as the ones named in paragraph four would make very clear.
By Dr. Sylvester Ikhisemojie