Most nutrition advice we have read, suggests that we should be making healthy choices. We understand that when reaching for a crunchy snack, eating vegetables will be healthier for you than having potato chips. However, if we know what healthy food is why don’t we choose to eat it over eating something unhealthy?
Knowing how to eat healthy and regularly exercising are only half the battle. It’s not just about only knowing the information- it’s about applying it. So yes, it requires a little more work such as preparing food for a few days at a time. Setting yourself up for success will help you make the healthy choices. We often forget that the food you put into your body is what is fueling you. Ever hear the phrase “you truly are what you eat?” Your body’s energy level will increase if you eat the “veggies” v. “chips” because you are fueling yourself with the nutrients you need.
What nutrients do these vegetables provide?
- Green beans: Vitamin C, Folic acid, iron, and Potassium
- Cabbage: Vitamin C, Folic acid, Calcium, Potassium, and Fiber
- Carrots: Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Potassium
- Yellow Corn: Beta-Carotene and Lutein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and folic acid
- Eggplant: fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamin B1
- Leeks: Fiber, Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and contain the cancer-fighting phytochemical diallyl sulfide
- Peas: Protein, B vitamins, Vitamins C, Vitamin A, Manganese, Iron, Potassium, and Lutein
- Peppers: beta-carotene; Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Potassium
- Sweet Potatoes: Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Iron, Fiber, Potassium, and Beta-carotene
What do these nutrients do for your body?
- Vitamin A: fat-soluble, important for normal vision, the immune system and reproduction. It helps heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs to work properly
- Vitamin B1: also called thiamine or thiamin, is one of 8 B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body uses to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B-complex vitamins, also help the body metabolize fats and protein.
- Vitamin B6: also called pyridoxine, is a water-soluble nutrient that is part of the B vitamin family. B vitamins, including vitamin B6, help support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are necessary for key metabolic processes.
- Vitamin C: is required for growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body. It is essential for life and in healing wounds and maintaining the integrity of gums, bones, and teeth. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin.
- Beta-carotene: is the main safe dietary source of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development, immune system function, and vision
- Calcium: is a mineral that is needed by the body for strong bones, normal pulse rate, blood clotting, and the transmission of nerve impulses.
- Fiber: Is the portion of plant food that cannot be digested by the body. Since it is not digested, it does not contribute any calories to the diet
- Folic Acid is a type of B vitamin. Folic acid helps your body produce and maintain new cells, and also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer.
- Iron: is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
- Manganese: benefit to healthy bone structure, bone metabolism, and helping to create essential enzymes for building bones. It also acts as a co-enzyme to assist metabolic activity in the human body. Manganese also helps the formation of connective tissues, absorption of calcium, proper functioning of the thyroid gland and sex hormones, regulation of blood sugar level, and metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
- Potassium: is a mineral that, helps muscles contract, helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells, and helps maintain normal blood pressure by blunting the effect of sodium. Potassium also may reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones and bone loss as we age.
The food you eat can change your mood and makes you feel better both inside and out. Your mind is stronger then your taste buds. Think about your goals and your health when making nutritional choices and apply this knowledge to your meal planning.
“Knowing is not enough; We must apply. Willing is not enough; We must do.” –Bruce Lee
By Corynne Pereira