The Nutritional Value of Vegetables
Vegetables are a versatile food that can be steamed, Gemüsesalat roasted, stir-fried or mixed into soups and salads. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber and are an essential part of a balanced diet.
Vegetable, in botanical terms, refers to the edible parts of plants such as leaves, stems, roots, tubers and bulbs. Besides their nutritional value, vegetables are also a source of flavor, color and texture.
Often confused with fruits, vegetables are generally low in calories and have high water content. They are also a good source of minerals, especially calcium and iron. They are rich in dietary fiber and contain numerous phytochemicals, which work to protect and repair cells, lower cholesterol and keep vision healthy.
Fruits are drupes (fruits that have a skin, flesh and a seed) from the family of nightshade vegetables. They’re usually sweeter than other vegetables and are used similarly to a vegetable in desserts, pies and baked goods.
While some drupes like peaches, cherries and plums are edible, they’re not considered vegetables in botanical terms. They are, however, considered a fruit in culinary terms because they’re used as ingredients in baked goods.
Carrots, on the other hand, are a type of root vegetable and not a fruit in any way. They have the same nutritional value as other green and root vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, broccoli and potatoes.
There are many different types of vegetables, from the leafy greens to the cruciferous veggies that are more densely packed with nutrients. Vegetables are a vital source of nutrients, such as vitamin C, B6, potassium and folate. Vegetables also reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
They’re high in fiber and protein, which are a great addition for vegetarians, people on medical diets or those who don’t eat meat. They’re also a great source of antioxidants, and help to keep blood sugar levels balanced.
A number of studies have shown that eating a lot of vegetables can help to prevent and control heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It has been found that adults who ate at least three cups of vegetables a day had about a twenty percent lower risk of having these diseases than those who did not.
The health benefits of vegetables are so varied that it is hard to list them all. But here are some of the most common:
Better weight control: Whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current size, vegetables have plenty of satiating properties that can help you reach your goal. They’re a good source of fiber which slows down the digestion process, keeps you fuller longer and helps to balance blood sugar levels.
Improves blood pressure: The high amount of potassium in vegetables, such as spinach and carrots, can lower your blood pressure. This, in turn, can reduce the chance of developing kidney stones or other serious health problems that may arise from a high-sodium diet.
Keeps eyesight healthy: Vegetables are a source of vitamins A and C, as well as two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, among other eye issues.