September 21, 2012

Why Should I Eat That?

The past few posts have been in some way connected to healthy eating, directly and indirectly, and today’s is no different. When thinking about being healthy, we must consider eating vegetables—yep, the dreaded vegetable. The poor veggies have such a bad reputation; people just hate them. This is unfortunate because vegetables are incredibly healthy and are known to benefit more than just our hearts and stomachs. So, in tribute to the veggies, let’s look at three beneficial and delicious vegetables. This is not a top three list; rather, a list of vegetables we should all consider adding to our regular diets for our health.

  1. Leafy greens—these poor guys are often referred to as “grass” or “rabbit food.” But the leafy green is so incredibly good for us…and tasty, too. The leafy green, such as spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, and others, is particularly good for our brains because it helps us to remember and process information. How do they do this? Well, according to WebMD, they are stock full of vitamins A and C and folate, which all contribute to cognitive development in different ways. Leafy greens can be eaten raw or cooked although many prefer raw because when they’re cooked, they take on a sometimes undesirable texture. However, for some leafy greens, like spinach in particular, the cooked version actually contributes more health benefits than the raw. These can be pretty easy to eat because most of the leafy greens can be part of a salad, cooked in with pastas and soups, or even used as topping such as the case for cabbage when it’s in sauerkraut form. So, the next time someone asks if you want greens, go for it. Your brain will thank you.
  2. Carrots—what a delicious little snack carrots are. They’re like the veggie that’s not really a veggie. They are sweet without being sugary, yet have a crispness only found in vegetables. And they’re really easy to eat. We slice them, cut them into chunks, shred them, and just eat them in strips. Plus, they can be cooked, eaten raw, or made into a delicious juice. Unlike other vegetables, carrots make a tasty juice without needing blending with other fruits and veggies although adding carrots to a fruit and veggie blend is always a good idea. From these easy vegetables, we gain nutrients galore to support our eyes, skin, and hair not to mention the support they provide our cardiovascular system. Healthzine Online supports that through beta-carotenes and vitamin C carrots help the way we look and feel. With all these benefits, how come you’re not eating carrots right now?
  3. Sweet potato—everybody loves a good regular potato. It can be fried, baked, roasted, mashed, boiled, microwaved, anything. You name it, the potato can do it. We have it raw and cooked and as chips. But it doesn’t really provide us with as much in the way of health. It’s tuber cousin the sweet potato, on the other hand, can do all the regular white potato does plus give fiber, iron, and manganese as well as vitamins A and C. It, too, can be fried, baked, roasted, mashed, boiled, microwaved, and oh so much more. Plus, as the Mayo Clinic points out, it’s fat free and low in calories. It tastes delicious, provides healthy nutrients, and is an easy replacement for the beloved potato. What a veggie!

I really could make this post a million words long with my excitement for the vegetable. This food group has such a bad rep, yet it provides so much in terms of health benefits for our entire bodies, inside and out. I think those out there who do not like veggies just haven’t had them cooked properly because a good vegetable is unbeatable. It’s worth finding the veggies you like and the ways you like to eat them because few foods match the nutritional marvel of the vegetable.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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