Today is National Eat Your Vegetables. June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, and National Eat Your Vegetables Day reminds everyone that vegetables are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
As part of the main meal or as a snack, vegetables can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Each vegetable has its own nutritional content though generally, they contain a little protein or fat and varying proportions of vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6, provitamins, dietary minerals and carbohydrates. They also contain a variety of other phytochemicals, some of which have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticarcinogenic properties. Many vegetables also contain fiber which is important for gastrointestinal function. Another benefit is the essential nutrients that vegetables contain that are necessary for healthy hair and skin.
When eating a diet consisting of the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, it may help lower the risk of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. These diets may also help to decrease bone loss and protect against some cancers. The potassium provided may help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
It is recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to consume 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day. This recommendation may vary, however, depending on age and gender. For most vegetables, one serving is equivalent of 1/2 to 1 cup and can be eaten either raw or cooked. Make sure you consume your recommended daily allowance of vegetables.