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The Importance of Fruits and Veggies!

The Science Behind Everything Your Mom Always Told You!

Posted by nboleto - March 14th, 2014

Remember the good old days of having your parents making you delicious meals of big juicy steaks, garlic mashed potatoes and steamed veggies? It always went meat first and then potatoes second. Then you were conveniently “too full” to eat your vegetables and your mom would cut a deal with you that if you ate three more bites you could be excused from the table. Sound familiar? Well call up your mom right now and thank her for doing so.


Having grown up in a vegetarian household for the good majority of my upbringing, I personally never really experienced this. It was either eat your fruits and vegetables or don’t eat at all. Now being a college student, I appreciate the meals my mom made for me more than ever, but that is neither here nor there. I am here to tell you the great service your mother was doing you when you were young, and why you should carry on this quality she (hopefully) instilled in you.

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One major reason plants are important nutritionally comes from a dietary standpoint. Vegetables are very calorically sparse, meaning that they do not have very many calories per unit of volume. This works twofold because of the structure of the plant itself. Plant biomass cannot be digested or absorbed by the human digestive system, so it essentially occupies more of the stomach capacity. This means that vegetables keep you fuller longer and they have fewer calories than foods from the other food groups. For those of you worried about your daily intake of protein, allow me to let you in on a little secret: many vegetables, including broccoli and many other leafy green veggies, have more grams of protein per 100 calories.


Vegetables are also typically very high in fiber, which your body uses to regulate digestion, so that when you do eat foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, or even foods that are good for you, your body can efficiently use those nutrients and dispose of the wastes.


Basically, you want to build muscle? You need vegetables. You want to burn fat and shed some inches all over? You need vegetables. Veggies are also loaded with vitamins and minerals; these micronutrients aid the body in performing the basic tasks more efficiently, tasks that convert macronutrients into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which provides your body with energy. One of these vitamins, vitamin C, can be made in plants from glucose, making plants a very good source of vitamin C.

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Another aspect of plants, such as kale, is that they are loaded with antioxidants, which the body uses in the prevention of cellular damage, and as a Hermanite, you’re most definitely lifting heavy and tearing muscle fibers. Therefore, antioxidants will help aid you in recovery.


To sum it all up, your mom could not have been more right about the importance of eating your veggies. They will fill you up, keeping you in a healthy, moderate caloric state. They are great sources of protein and carbohydrates, and they do the little things (i.e. fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) better than any other food source there is. Now all you have to do is figure out how you would like them prepared and bon appétit; a delicious, nutritious, and balanced meal!

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MEMBER COMMENTS
Amin_C
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Let's say you have the will power to stop eating your main meal just in time to include your veggies. From a purely digestive stand point, would you still benefit from eating your veggies first? Or should you eat the meat first? And what about fruit? Depends?


I wonder if digestive rates and glycemic index of fruit sugar can be manipulated?

Brolle81
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Always about 1/5 of my "plates" are stuffed with veggies in different form. Broccoli I eat most since its so convenient. My kids always eat their veggies first. All but Sallad and Pepper. 

jcgadfly
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Getting back into the vegetable thing. Used to be if I was faced with a salad, I'd say, "Excuse me, that's the food my food eats". I'm getting better. I actually like 50/50 mix..

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

That's great man.  I eat a lot of broccoli and asparagas.  Love tat stuff!

giannifanizzi
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"Now being a college student, I appreciate the meals my mom made for me more than ever"- Totally describes my first three college years eating at the dining hall! yuck! Whenever I am at home, even back in my high school days, I would eat a home cooked meal and feel super energized, in college, not so much, it feels like a brutal task. So enjoy the home cooked meals! But on a side note, as a child there were many vegetables that I didn't like to eat. But interestingly enough, I learned that taste buds change as you get older. Now I don't mind the vegetables that I did not once like to consume. So if it's been a while since you taken a bite out of a vegetable you did not like, try it again. You just might enjoy it.

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

yeah they change every 7 years I think. PRetty cool huh?But I still don't think I will ever like raw ginger... lol

Powergirl
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YuP! Somedays it is very difficult for me to want to eat them, but one thing I have had success with is eating the thing I dislike the most first, then the next, until my favorite thing on my plate is only left. Veggies aren't as appealing if you eat the most tasty item on your plate first. So by eating them first, they taste good and I'm more likely to eat them because I want to eat my the last item. I'm picky though, so getting a variety is difficult. My parents didn't even make me eat them if I didn't want to, so I'm having to adjust my taste buds to them, so to say. For the longest time, I only liked carrots, corn, and peas. But for the last two years, I have been working on it and I've added more to my plate, but does anyone have suggestions on how to make them more appealing or in my case, edible, as I dislike them incredibly because I never ate them growing up?

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

This is what I used to do whe I was younger... now I don't see food. I just see MACROS.. kind of like the matrix when you look at the screen and see code... lol

Scott_Herman
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Great article Nick!  I need to get more veggies in my diet.  Mostly potatoes and broccoli for me.. Need more beats and asparagus!