House Call: Vary your vegetables

House Call: Vary your veggies
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 8:43 PM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. In Part II of our five part Nutrition Month series, Olivia Kinkade, a member of the clinical nutrition department at UHC, joins us to talk about focusing on varying your vegetables.

What foods are in the Vegetable Group?

Foods in the Vegetable Group are any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

Based on their nutrient content, vegetables are organized into five subgroups: dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables.

Why is it important to eat vegetables?

Eating vegetables provides health benefits — people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Vegetables provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.

Vegetable Nutrients:

· Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. (Sauces or seasonings may add fat and calories.)

· Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

· Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Vegetable sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, kidney beans, acorn squash, kohlrabi, and yucca.

· Dietary fiber from vegetables, as a part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease.

· Vitamin A helps to keep eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.

· Vitamin C helps to heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin C also helps your body to absorb iron more easily.

How many vegetables are needed and what counts as a cup of vegetables?

The amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on your age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity. For women, the amount can also depend on whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. For general recommendations by age, see the table in this video. In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy salad greens can be considered as 1 cup from the Vegetable Group.

Make sure to watch all five videos in this special series on the food groups and good nutrition.

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