Our Healthy Lifestyle

Nutrition Challenge: Eat Three Vegetables a Day for 21 Days

Vegetables are full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that offer important health benefits for the body. Including a variety of vegetables in your diet may help reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent some cancers, lower blood sugar and protect eyesight.

Vegetables offer a range of flavors, colors and textures to keep meals interesting. Consider committing to eating a minimum of three servings of vegetables a day to build a healthy habit that will benefit your health in many ways. Below are some vegetables to include in your diet and the important health benefits they provide, according to Healthline.

Asparagus is high in folate, which may help prevent neural tube birth defects.

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains sulforaphane, a compound that may prevent cancer growth. Eating broccoli may also help reduce the risk of chronic disease by protecting against oxidative stress.

Brussels sprouts contain an antioxidant called kaempferol, which may protect against oxidative damage to cells and prevent chronic disease. They may also help enhance detoxification in the body.

Carrots are especially high in beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A important for eye health — in the body. Their high antioxidant content may help reduce the risk of lung and prostate cancer.

Collard greens are high in calcium, which could reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The regular intake of collard greens has also been associated with a reduced risk of glaucoma and prostate cancer.

Garlic may help lower blood triglyceride levels. Studies show that garlic also may decrease blood sugar levels and may promote heart health.

Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory properties, which may be helpful in treating inflammation-related disorders. Studies show that ginger could reduce nausea and alleviate inflammation.

Green peas contain a good amount of fiber, which helps support digestive health. They also contain plant compounds called saponins, which may have cancer-fighting effects.

Kale is high in vitamins A, C and K as well as antioxidants. Studies show that drinking kale juice could reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.

Kohlrabi is rich in both fiber and vitamin C. Animal studies show that kohlrabi could potentially cause a reduction in blood sugar.

Red cabbage contains a good amount of fiber, vitamin C and anthocyanins. Certain studies show that it may decrease blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart and liver damage.

Spinach is rich in antioxidants that may reduce the risk of chronic disease, as it may reduce risk factors such as high blood pressure.

Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which may decrease the risk of some types of cancer.

White sweet potatoes could also help reduce blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Swiss chard is low in calories but high in many essential vitamins and minerals. Some animal studies show that Swiss chard could protect against the negative effects of diabetes and may decrease blood sugar levels.

Learn more about the benefits of vegetables in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-BeingSM webinar. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and general interest webinars here, where you’ll find past sessions and resources.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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