It’s obvious that vegetables are good for your health. It is important to learn the nutritional value of each vegetable, however, so you can be sure to get the proper amounts of protein, fiber, calories and fat each day.
The Benefits of Vegetables
Vegetables are essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Instead of eating less, you can eat more by adding vegetables to your diet. Most vegetables are low in calories and fat, while providing beneficial vitamins and other nutrients. When adding more vegetables to your diet, be mindful of the way they are prepared. Sautéing or frying vegetables will add a good amount of fat and calories. Try eating vegetables raw. Cooking vegetables eliminates some of the beneficial nutrients and vitamins. If you don’t care for raw vegetables, try them steamed. This cooking method adds no fat and keeps almost all of the nutrients in the vegetables.
Finding high-protein vegetables is important for vegetarians who do not get their protein from meat. One cup of soybeans contains 33 grams of protein. One cup of lima beans contains 38 grams of protein, while kidney beans rank in at a whopping 43 grams of protein per cup. Surprisingly, one bunch of broccoli has a large amount of protein as well with 18 grams of protein per bunch. Similarly, one medium head of cauliflower has 11 grams of protein.
Another important nutrient found in vegetables is fiber. Fiber is important for the body for many reasons. It takes longer to digest and will keep you feeling fuller longer. This can help people trying to avoid overeating. Fiber can also relieve constipation, which in turn can reduce the odds of colon cancer. Other conditions with a reduced incidence due to fiber intake include heart disease, diabetes, gallstones and kidney stones. One bunch of spinach offers 9 grams of fiber, and one cup of soybeans, 11 grams. A bunch of broccoli comes with 18 grams of fiber, medium cabbage, 21 grams. The winners among the high-protein vegetable club that also offer increased levels of fiber too are lima beans at 33 grams of fiber per one cup, and the 45 grams of fiber you get from one cup of kidney beans.
Calories and Fat
As mentioned, most vegetables are low in calories and fat. One sixth of a head of iceberg lettuce has only 10 calories and no grams of fat. Similarly, a third of a cucumber contains only 10 calories and no fat, and the same is true for seven radishes. Half a summer squash will cost you 20 calories but no fat while a whole medium bell pepper comes with 25 calories and no fat. An ear of sweet corn, however, contains 90 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. One potato has 110 calories and no fat. While soybeans have a lot of fiber and protein, they are a vegetable that contains a significant amount of fat. A cup of soybeans has 17 grams of fat, but soybeans do not contain any unhealthy trans fat; still, they should still be eaten in moderation.
It is clear that vegetables are a healthy food to incorporate into your diet. Most vegetables contain very few calories, but are high in fiber. Some vegetables can be protein supplements, like soybeans and kidney beans. With some research, you can eat a well-balanced nutritious meal with well-chosen vegetables.