Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eating Vegetables Can Help You Lose Weight

Vegetables are the ideal diet food. They are low in calories but packed vitamins, minerals and other powerful, health-promoting compounds. Beyond the well-known nutrients that vegetables provide, they are also loaded with thousands of functional compounds that offer unique disease-fightting, health benefits.

How Much Vegetables Should You Eat?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the USDA, a good rule of thumb is to eat a minimum of 2 to 3 servings of vegetables daily, assuming that you are also eating 2 to 3 servings of fruits. In effect, your total fruit and vegetable intake should total at least 5 servings.

Of course, on a low-calorie diet, you will eat more vegetables in place of other starchy and high fat foods. In some cases, you might consume as much as 9 or more servings of vegetables, which, although bulky and filling, would provide relatively few calories. With most vegetables providing under 35 calories per serving, you could easily eat 9 servings for under 350 calories.

According to a number of government studies, most Americans are not meeting the recommended 2 to 3 servings of vegetables or combined 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Rather than consuming these nutrient-dense foods, we are consuming calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods, which are contributing to the growing obesity epidemic in this country. 

Obviously, if you want to lose weight, it makes good sense to eat more vegetables and less of the more starchy, high-calorie foods that have become the mainstay of the American diet.

Benefits of Eating Vegetables to Lose Weight:
  • Vegetables are low in calories. That means you can eat more for less calories. 
  • Vegetables are high in fiber, which helps to fill you up and reduce your total energy intake.
  • Vegetables are highly nutritious. No other group of food provide the concentration of vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients for so few calories.
  • You can mix and match to create a wide variety of meals and snacks everyday; vegetables come in a wide array of colors, textures and flavors to tease your taste buds.
  • Vegetables can be prepared quickly and with little effort, so, even if you don't want to spend much time in the kitchen you can still enjoy a tasty and nutritious meal without ruining your diet. Just wash and eat them raw or steam lightly for a quick bite.
  • Vegetables are so versatile, you can toss them in almost any dish to make a casserole, soup, salad, sandwich or even dessert.
  • You can take vegetables anywhere, anytime and in any climate without too much worry about hazardous temperatures, as most vegetables keep well at a wide range of temperatures. (Of course, you still need to pay attention to basic sanitation rules.)
Vegetables to Choose From:
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Red bell pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Okra
  • Edamame
  • Sweet peas
A diet that consists of an abundance of vegetables will provide you with lots of fiber, fill you up and reduce hunger so that you are less likely to overeat. As a result, you stand a better chance of losing weight than you would on the typical American diet that is loaded with refined carbohydrates and fatty meats, and other low-nutrient, high-calorie foods.