Vegetables are ironically America’s least eaten, but most recommended healthy food group. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, along with MyPlate guidance, recommend adults following a 2,000-calorie diet consume 2½ cups of vegetables per day at a minimum. Unfortunately, a staggering 90 percent of us don’t hit this recommendation. One serving equates to two cups of raw leafy greens or just one cup of all other fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables.
Nutrition experts suspect that two primary reasons vegetables might be under-consumed are because of taste and convenience. When considering all produce, vegetables tend to have a bitter taste compared to the sweetness of fruits. Vegetables also usually are not eaten alone but instead enjoyed after cooking or preparing them, which increases the amount of time from the refrigerator, pantry, or freezer, to the plate. Furthermore, vegetables are less commonplace in the restaurant setting: they are seldom found on fast-food menus and aren’t a top priority for casual dining offerings. This creates a small, but meaningful, barrier to achieving optimal vegetable intake.
So why should you make a point of overcoming these minor obstacles to eat more vegetables? Research indicates that various vegetables offer advanced protection against chronic disease, so it is critical for you to have these in your diet. This disease-protecting effect is amplified when we choose a variety of vegetables every day that include a diverse assortment of colors and types. This has been demonstrated repeatedly through a mix of systematic reviews, meta-analyses, observational studies, and interventional studies.
Read on for some major chronic diseases which might be prevented, delayed, or controlled through adequate vegetable intake, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.
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