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Why vegetables are vital for your child’s good health (and which are the healthiest)

Food – one of life’s pleasures, though often a battleground between parents and their children. The world is a wonderful place when it comes to food, and there are so many delicious and unique dishes that you could probably eat a different meal each day for the rest of your life.

Whether it be seafood, meat, salads, beans or anything else, there are tastes, aromas and flavours bursting out from the food on plates being served at home or in restaurants.

So why, oh why, do our children just want to eat things that are beige?!

Vegetables

The importance of vegetables

Sometimes as parents, we just give in. Our children win the war of attrition and we end up making the same 3 dishes on repeat because we know that it will make for a peaceful mealtime. And rarely do those dishes include many vegetables. But we must resist!

One of the healthiest things that we can eat are vegetables. They are packed with minerals, vitamins and fibre with some of them being exceptionally good to eat.

A healthy diet is very important and one that contains a range of different vegetables is going to help you and your child when it comes to the necessary maintenance of your system, as well as fighting off some of the chronic diseases that can affect people everywhere.

The benefits of eating vegetables

If you eat a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables, it can help to protect you from different types of cancer, as well as helping to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack. They can also help you when it comes to reducing your daily calorie intake. If you want to find some great recipes for vegetables, then pop over to the Corrie cooks website, which is packed full of information and tasty suggestions. One of our favourite sites for children’s food is Annabel Karmel’s website – also worth a look.

In this article we will take a look at some of the most important health benefits of vegetables and also the best way to prepare them, so that you can retain their natural goodness and nutrients.

Reduces Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or Hypertension to give it its proper name, is something that can lead to various health issues such as kidney disease, strokes or heart attacks. Eating a regular diet of fruit and vegetables can help you maintain a low blood pressure, with the fibre, minerals and vitamins from them being very effective in this fight. Recommended vegetables include leafy greens such as turnip greens, spinach and romaine lettuce.

Helping keep bones healthy

Many vegetables are a good source of calcium, along with other important nutrients for your bones such as Vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Some foods can form acid such as fish, eggs and meat, while plant foods will actually work the opposite way and have an alkalizing effect. This is known to help with keeping bones healthy and strong.

Helps decrease risk of Type 2 diabetes

It has been discovered that you can lower the risk of type-2 diabetes by eating more plant foods. Recent studies have shown that this is due to the antioxidant action of vegetables, which can lead to a reduction in insulin resistance, as well as inflammation. Suggested foods include a variety of fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts and legumes.

Improves our gut health

The microbiome in our gut is a very important part of our health, as it regulates our general health, as well as our body weight, nervous system, metabolism and immune system. A good balance and diversity of bacteria is vital to a healthy gut. Vegetables are a great source of prebiotics, as are things such as high fiber foods.

The healthiest vegetables

All vegetables are healthy and provide our bodies with a lot of goodness, though there are some vegetables that are healthier than others. Here we will take a look at some of the healthiest and how they help.

Spinach

This leafy vegetable is a powerful source of iron, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants. It’s the perfect vegetable for diets that are looking to stay meat free. The antioxidants that are found in spinach are said to help benefit the heart and can reduce blood pressure. Spinach can go with a variety of different foods and be boiled, as well as eaten raw in salads. Find some children’s spinach recipes here.

Broccoli

This is one of the most popular cruciferous vegetables, along with kale, cauliflower and cabbage. Broccoli contains that full daily dose for Vitamin K, as well as double the daily dose of Vitamin C. It’s a food that can be cooked in a variety of ways, but for the best health benefits, is suggested to steam cook it. Discover children’s broccoli recipes.

Kale

This is another leafy vegetable that is very popular and has healthy amounts of Vitamins A, C and K, and can be very beneficial with people that are suffering from high levels of cholesterol. Research and studies have shown that drinking just 150 ml of kale juice on a daily basis can significantly reduce bad cholesterol, as well as increasing good cholesterol in the body. Lots of people add kale to a variety of salads, as well as to pasta dishes and even sandwiches. Find children’s Kale recipes.

Sweet Potatoes

Not all potatoes are bad for you, with sweet potatoes being a great source of Vitamin A, as well as containing good levels of potassium and beta-carotene (which can help with the health of your eyes). They can also help with some people who have diabetes, as they are high in fiber, but low in glycemic, which can help when it comes to regulating blood sugar. Most people will bake sweet potatoes, usually with the skin still on.

Preparation Tips

A great way to cook your vegetables quickly, efficiently and without losing nutrients is with an Instant Pot:

 

Cooking vegetables with your Instant Pot

The great thing about the Instant Pot, is that it is a combination of different types of cooker, such as a stream, pressure and rice cooker. It can dramatically reduce the time needed to cook delicious foods, and is also beneficial in that it uses much less energy.

The Instant Pot is perfect for those who enjoy eating vegetables, as it can steam them while keeping all of the important nutrients locked into the vegetables, something that other forms of cooking won’t be able to do. This means that you and your family can be enjoying deliciously prepared meals that are full of goodness and great for your health.

Vegetables have been part of our diets for as long as humanity has existed. There are so many different ways of preparing and cooking them, and they can be eaten alone, or with a selection of other food such as meat, seafood and many other options.