1. Vitamins and Antioxidants
One of the main health benefits of vegetables is their high nutrient content. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that contribute to growth and the maintenance of good health. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that many vegetables are high in potassium, which is important for healthy blood pressure. Various vitamins, such as C and A, help keep eyes, skin, teeth and gums healthy, fight infection and promote wound healing. Perhaps most importantly, vegetables are rich in a particular group of nutrients called antioxidants, which fight cellular damage and help prevent heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, atherosclerosis, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease, says the Linus Pauling Institute.
2. They create a youthful glow
Want younger-looking skin? Vegetables prevent unwanted signs of aging and keep skin young and supple thanks to phytonutrients, vitamin C and high water content. Many vegetables are 85% to 95% water, which helps hydrate the skin and reduce wrinkles. And phytonutrients, found in all vegetables, can guard against premature aging by preventing cell damage from stress, the sun, pollution and other environmental toxins. Vitamin C aids in collagen formation, according to studies.
Another substantial benefit of vegetables is dietary fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient found only in plant foods. As part of a healthy diet, fiber helps scour bad cholesterol out of your arteries, thus lowering your risk of heart disease, says the USDA. Fiber also keeps your digestive system running smoothly, helps control your blood sugar levels and may help prevent cancer.
4. Diet-friendly Characteristics
Vegetables are also a boon to dieters. Because they are generally low in fat and calories, you can eat a lot of them without gaining weight. If you substitute vegetables for other, higher-calorie foods in your diet, you’ll slash your calorie and fat intake, making weight management easier. The fiber in vegetables also helps you manage your weight. Fiber makes you feel fuller for a longer period, helping you eat less overall and aiding with weight loss or maintenance.
5. They protect your bones
Most people think of dairy foods as the bone protectors, thanks to their high calcium and vitamin D content. But some vegetables also have these same nutrients in addition to bone-building vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and prebiotic fiber.