Everyone knows that vegetables are necessary for a healthy and balanced diet. But just how many vegetables do you need to consume every day to meet the health criteria? The answer to that question can vary depending on several factors. Your age, gender, and how much physical activity you do can effect how many vegetables you need to eat. However, no matter what age you are, vegetables should be a big part of your daily diet. Vegetables provide needed nutrients, health benefits, and can even be consumed different ways so that you can choose the easiest way for you to eat your vegetables.
Vegetables are packed with goodness. They are full of nutrients and very low in calories. That means you could eat a large amount of vegetables, get full, stay healthy, and even lose weight. Vegetables are naturally cholesterol free! No artery clogging vegetables out there, unless they have been altered such as fried or a sauce added on. Vegetables are full of fiber which helps you to stay full and promotes a healthy colon. Vegetables also contain many of your needed vitamins to be the healthiest you can be. Eating a variety of vegetables in a day may reduce your need to take a multi-vitamin. Pregnant women are encouraged to eat vegetables high in folic acid which helps the fetus during developmental stages.
Not only are vegetables nutritious but they have amazing health benefits as well. Just by eating your vegetables you are helping reduce the risk to your body of having a heart attack, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a stroke. Adding vegetables to your meals can help you get full and reduce your caloric intake therefore reducing body weight. For those people who have already been diagnosed with a disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure, adding vegetables to your diet may even help control the disease, depending on other factors.
Now to the portions. Again, how many vegetables you need can vary on your age. These portions are all recommended by the USDA. A toddler aged 2-3 should consume a cup of vegetables in a day. Children 4-8 years old should eat one and a half cups daily. Children ages 9-18 should eat two and a half cups daily, or more if they are active. Adults from ages 19-50 should consume two and a half cups daily for women and three cups daily for men. Again, if you are active you should add in more to your diet. After the age of 50 the intake of vegetables goes down to two cups daily for men and women. Use a measuring cup to be sure you are consuming enough vegetables daily.
Consuming vegetables can be difficult for some people. Some don't like the taste, while others can't get past the textures. Adding sauces or butter will usually just add calories or fat that will take away from the benefits of actually eating the vegetable. One method that has been steady gaining popularity is juicing. Many people will blend a medley of vegetables together to create a super food juice. In this juice you can combine any sort of vegetables you would like to get your daily recommended amount. Juicing is also great for children who don't like to eat their vegetables. You can disguise them and the taste by presenting it as a juice.
Eating at least your recommended amount of vegetables per day can only benefit you and your body in the long run. Whether method you decide is best for you, give it a try!