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A Simple Way to Eat More Vegetables

Dr. Kristie Leong

Are you getting five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day? Most people are not. Only one in ten Americans eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetable daily - and veggies are more likely to be under-consumed than fruit. Needless to say, the plates of most Americans could use some more “green stuff”.

Why is it so hard to eat more vegetables? Fewer Americans are cooking meals at home, and it’s difficult to find a good vegetable selection at most restaurants - and at fast food restaurants it's almost impossible. Most restaurants focus on “meat” - and aren't geared towards people who eat a plant-based diet.

Is there an easy way to eat more veggies? The answer could lie with eating raw veggies in a form most people can relate to - a salad. According to a new study, salad eaters consume forty percent more vegetables than people who eat salads infrequently. By eating a salad, a health conscious person can eat a multitude of raw vegetables in one setting - and reap the many health benefits.

The researchers in this study also made another discovery. People who eat salads get more benefits when they top their salad with a dressing that contains a small amount of fat. The fat in salad dressing increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fat-free dressings have fewer calories, but this comes at the price of less nutrient absorption.

To eat more vegetables, make it a goal to eat at least one salad a day. Choose a rainbow of vegetables in all colors - orange, green, red, and purple. Orange and red veggies are good sources of caroteinoids and lycopenes that are important for heart health and good vision, while purple vegetables contain anthocyanins that are strong antioxidants and help to protect the health of the brain. Don't forget to top it off with a salad dressing that contains “good fat” such as olive oil to help with nutrient absorption.

Don’t have time to prepare a salad? Many grocery stores have a salad bar, which makes it easy to eat more veggies - without ever pulling a knife out of the kitchen drawer to chop. Look for one that has an organic salad bar. Many natural food markets such as Whole Foods have a well-stocked, organic bar filled with greenery. Eating a salad is a simple way to get more veggies without heating up the kitchen.


References:
Medical News Today. "It’s Time to Ramp Up Veggie Intake: New Study Finds Salad Eaters Consume 40% More Vegetables"

Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2010-2018. Dr. Kristie Leong is a family practice physician and medical writer. Published with permission.