As a whole, society has become much more aware of healthy eating habits and the importance of nutrition. However, it seems that people still have a fear of eating their broccoli and spinach, and with so many health issues floating around, it may be one of the few signs we need to be eating more vegetables. Unlike other food groups, it's really difficult to eat too many plants, so why not kick your diet up a notch and incorporate some more veggies into your daily life?
The daily recommended amount of vegetables is two to three cups per day, but according to The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, only 27 percent of Americans eat their daily quota of vegetables. "It's lucky if the average American gets a cup of vegetables each day," says Andrea Cox, the in-house nutritionist at Healthy.co.id. "Vegetables are thought of as not as filling as other foods, and are perceived of being more difficult to cook and eat. People think it is easier to grab a pre-packaged snack or lunch instead of packing vegetables."
Considering vegetables contain essential nutrients that help fight off major diseases, it's important to figure out whether you're getting enough of the food group in your diet. If you're exhibiting the below seven signs, it may be an indicator you need to start adding in some more plants into your diet.
1. You're Breaking Out
"If your skin is ruddy, riddled with acne, or just not glowing, you're missing out on the greens," says Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Cindy Santa Ana. Certain vegetables such as spinach, cucumber, avocados, sweet potatoes and bell peppers can protect against free radicals and toxins that may be harming your skin.
2. You're Always Hungry
"The Standard American Diet of processed foods, refined grains and sugar can lead to micronutrient deficiencies and cause hunger, even if you've just eaten," says Santa Ana. "Vegetables can provide a sense of fullness and some delay emptying in the gut, which makes you feel fuller, longer."
3. You're Having Trouble Staying Regular
"If you find yourself straining, or bowel movements are something else you can't remember, it's time to boost that fiber intake," says Tiffany Newenhouse, RD, CDN over email.
4. You're Relying On Your Multivitamins
Multivitamins are a good addition to a healthy diet, but they're not a substitute for adequate nutrition. "The vitamins are better absorbed from whole fruits than the supplements anyway," says Newenhouse. "If you're on a budget, skip supplements and pick up some fresh or frozen vegetables instead."
5. You Only Shop The Inside Aisles Of The Grocery Store
If you find that you're constantly buying packaged products, which are found in the inner aisles of the supermarket, it's likely you're not buying many vegetables. "In general, it's better to shop on the perimeter of the store where you'll find the fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy," says Newenhouse. "If you stick to these aisles, you'll be choosing something from the farm versus the factory and your body will thank you."
6. You're Fatigued
"Since vegetables provide phytochemicals and antioxidants, along with B-complex vitamins, having a deficiency can lead to brain fog, confusion and mental 'tiredness,' says Santa Ana. Vegetables also contain a variety of nutrients that help give you natural energy, so if you feel like you're always reaching for the coffee, you may just need some veggies instead.
7. You Get Sick Frequently
"Your body's immune system is strengthened by the vitamins and minerals in vegetables," says Cox. "If you don't get enough, you could become sick more frequently." Certain foods such as broccoli and mushrooms help keep your immune system strong, so if you feel like you're always under the weather, you may want to take a look at your diet.
Any one of these symptoms could be a sign of something else, of course, but adding a few more veggies to your plate is always a good thing. And who knows? Maybe it'll solve your health ailments, as well.
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