Veggies and Their Role in Weight Loss
People who want to shed those extra pounds immediately know what foods are right for them. They run to veggies to lose weight. And that’s actually the right thing to do!
Vegetables are great if you want to lose that extra baggage. Most of them are low in calories and fat. However, they are high in fiber. These three factors are important when it comes to losing weight.
In addition, these veggies are also great sources for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These help us look and feel better. They also protect us from harmful diseases.
Veggies Keep You Feeling Full Longer
The fiber and water content in most vegetables fill you up more than other kinds of food. The feeling of being satisfied without actually eating a lot is the key to a successful diet. This is where the vegetables come in. Dark and leafy greens, like spinach and arugula, are said to be the most effective.
Low in Calories
Calories are units of energy. We need just the right amount of calories in our bodies in order for us to live and function properly. According to certain studies, men should have a limit of 1,500 calories per day. Women should consume even fewer calories at 1,200 per day.
Too much calorie consumption can lead to overweight, obesity, and other medical complications.
Veggies have a very low energy density. This means they contain fewer calories compared to their weight.
Of all the vegetables available, nonstarchy variants are the best for weight loss. Some examples are spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, and cucumber. There’s also celery, artichokes, beets, eggplant, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and green beans.
Low in Fat
It’s a definite no brainer that if you are trying to lose weight, you should avoid food that have a high fat content. And it’s also a no-brainer that this is where vegetables come in.
That’s right, contrary to what many Americans believe, vegetables do have fat. However, their fat content is not a high one.
Most, if not all, veggies are low in fat. Some examples of these veggies are romaine lettuce, beet greens, watercress, Swiss chard, and broccoli. There’s also turnips, rutabaga, green beans, sweet potatoes, and asparagus. Finally, we also have artichokes, bean sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflowers, and okras.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 35 percent of the calories you eat every day.
Low in Sodium
This means many vegetables don’t cause water retention. No water retention means no instances of bloating, and no unnecessary water weight.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends having a daily sodium intake of less than 2,300 milligrams. To lessen sodium in the food you take, just don’t season your vegetables with salt. You can also opt to choose the vegetables with the least amount of natural sodium. See the list below as a guide.
- High Sodium
First, these are vegetables that have more than 140 milligrams per serving. Examples include Swiss chard and spinach.
- Low Sodium
These are vegetables with a sodium content of less than 140 milligrams in a serving. These include celery, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, artichokes, sweet potatoes, and radishes.
- Very Low Sodium
Vegetable servings with 35 milligrams or less of sodium are labeled to be very low in sodium. Some examples are leafy greens like lettuce, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. In addition, there’s also tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms, and cauliflower.
- Sodium Free
Lastly, these are vegetables with 5 milligrams of sodium or less for every serving. These include corn, green beans, summer squash, potatoes, asparagus, cucumber, and avocado.
High in Fiber
Fiber is a very important part in maintaining a healthy and well-functioning body. What it does is it acts like a sponge and grabs unhealthy foreign objects in our digestive tract and whisk them away. It also keeps our colon running the way it should. Fiber also promotes good digestion and lowers cholesterol levels. These are helpful in losing weight.
Some examples of vegetables with high fiber content are artichokes (10.3 grams), spinach (8 grams), cooked carrots (5.22 grams), peas (5.6 grams), broccoli (5.1 grams), Brussels sprouts (3 grams), and parsnips (2.7 grams). These measurements are taken based on a half-cup serving of each vegetable.
The recommended daily fiber intake is 25-30 grams.
High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are very important for the overall well-being of the body, not just for weight loss. These antioxidants protect our body from harmful free radicals that bring about bacteria and diseases.
An increase in oxidative stress in the body can lead to inflammation. So what these antioxidants do is they fight against the free radicals that cause inflammation. The more you eat vegetables high in antioxidants, the more your body’s defense will work. This therefore lowers inflammation, which is one of the causes of belly fat.
Examples of vegetables with high antioxidant content are kale, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, Brussels sprouts, beets, red bell peppers, and eggplant.
How to Add Veggies into Your Diet
Now if you’re not someone who eats their vegetables, here’s a few tips you can incorporate a few into your daily diet.
- Add some of the vegetables above into your scrambled eggs. Go ahead and make your own omelette.
- If you want to mask the bitter taste of vegetables, toss them into a blender and whip up a healthy smoothie! This is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to the concept of taking in vegetables.
- Do you love pasta? Well, why not use something you love to make you love something you hate! Sound confusing? It’s not, really. You can throw in some slices of vegetables into your favorite pasta dish to enhance its flavor. In addition, another idea is you can make your own pasta using vegetables! Spaghetti squash, anyone?
- There are some vegetables that are a great snack alternative. You can easily chop some up and use dip to make them taste better. Great examples are carrots, bell peppers, and celery.
- You can also add certain leafy vegetables into your lunch sandwich. These give an added texture and flavor to your otherwise boring lunch.
- You can also add some vegetables into much-loved desserts too. There are carrot-spinach brownies, carrot chocolate cakes, and also zucchini bread.