Why do we have to eat vegetables?

Your kids probably moan: why do we have to eat vegetables every time you serve up a nice plate of Brussels sprouts and green cabbage, but are there any legitimate reasons why we need to eat vegetables when there is plenty of meat available?

The main reason why we need to eat a varied selection of vegetables is because they are a source of essential vitamins and minerals. If we only ever ate meat in our diet, we would soon become deficient in some important nutrients and would be quite ill as a result.

To put it simply, the human body was designed to eat primarily vegetables. All the nutrients our body needs can be found in a varied selection of vegetables. Vegetables are rich in nutrients and if we eat vegetables every day, our body will take on board everything it needs to stay healthy.

Some of the vitamins the human body requires can be stored, but many others cannot, and it is these vitamins that must come from our diet, so by eating a good selection of vegetables every day, we can be sure we are consuming the right mix of nutrients. Vegetables as a group contain the full quota of vitamins we need daily, which is what makes them such an important food source.

If you need another good reason to offer the kids when they ask: why do we have to eat vegetables, try reminding them that vegetables are also full of fibre. Fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system and it also helps to lower blood cholesterol, which is a major cause of heart disease.

As well as vitamins and fiber, vegetables are also packed full of phytonutrients. These are the substances that give vegetables their wonderful colors, but they are also closely linked to the prevention of certain serious diseases such as cancer. No other food group contains as many phytonutrients as vegetables, and some of them cannot be found in any other type of food.

As well as being an excellent source of vitamins and other essential nutrients, vegetables are also very low in calories. Unlike other foods such as dairy products and meat, vegetables can be treated as an eat-all-you-like food source since nobody ever got fat from eating too many turnips and onions. Compared to other foods, the calorific content of an average portion of vegetables is extremely low, so you never need worry about killing your diet when you gobble down a plate of steamed vegetables. However, should you decide to deep fry any of your vegetables that statement will not apply!

But the best thing about vegetables is their sheer versatility. Even if you cannot stand some types of vegetables, there are bound to be others that you DO like. This makes it very easy to include a varied selection of different vegetables in your daily diet. It also makes it easy to persuade the kids to try vegetables they might not have come across before.

So when your kids say: why do we have to eat vegetables instead of pizza as you serve up some delicious steamed broccoli and cauliflower, just remind them that vegetables are good for them and one day they will thank you for making sure they are healthy!

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