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Vegetables For Your Health

Written by Beth Marlin Lichter
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Remember when your mom used to make you eat all the vegetables on your plate? She surely had an inkling that they were chock full of nutrients, but with all the research that has been done in the last few years, it’s no secret that they are absolutely necessary in the diet.
Maybe when you were a kid, mother wasn’t very creative with veggies. They might have come out of a can, or a freezer bag. Vegetables were just a mushy pile of green stuff, pushed over to the edge of the plate, and possibly fed under the table to the dog in wait. What a shame, considering how easy it is to cook fresh vegetables and include them in almost any kind of dish. They can become the centerpiece of a meal, if chosen well, and prepared simply.
Doctors concur that regular consumption of vegetables actually helps to prevent disease. Which ones? How about certain types of cancers, heart disease, stroke, diseases of the digestive tract, high blood pressure, and loss of vision.
For instance, the lycopene in tomatoes is believed to lower the risk of prostate cancer among men.
What kinds of vegetables are best? First of all, freshness counts. Farmers markets that sell produce grown without pesticides, preferably organic, or markets that sell local produce are great places to shop. How long the product takes to get from farm to table, makes a difference. Every day needed for transport or stocking the shelves, depletes the item of desired nutrients. Then it’s a question of what is available on a seasonal basis. But a good rule of thumb is, go for the vibrant colors. Bright green veggies such as spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard and kale, are full of good fiber and nutrients. Carrots, which contain vitamin A help keep the eyes healthy. Don’t buy a package of processed carrots that have been on the shelf for weeks. Try to find loose bulk carrots with the greens attached, and if the green tops are still fresh, you know the carrots are too. Pass on the carrots that feel limp. They came from the ground many moons ago.
Don’t feel like cooking anything up? How about a lovely salad of arugula or spinach with chopped farm-fresh tomatoes, a touch of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. Congratulations…you’ve just helped yourself to a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and digestive aids.

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