Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. When you eat them, variety is just as important as the quantity you eat. This is because no single vegetable provides all the health benefits you need. However, eating a variety of vegetables gives you access to different health benefits and nutrients. So, you must eat as many different vegetables as you can every day! I think mixed vegetables can help you eat a variety of vegetables, in one meal. And this can help improve your health quickly.
What quantity of vegetables is enough for you to stay healthy?
WHO recommends that a person eats at least 400 g of vegetables a day. And this equates to five, 80 g portions of vegetables per day! Not only that but it is also recommended that half of your meal plate be fruits and vegetables! But how many of us can achieve this in our daily meals? Yes, your assumption is right. Only a few people can do it. Most of us don’t even think about what we eat. As long as it’s tasty, we are good! That’s why I am discussing the health benefits of eating mixed vegetables. Why? Because mixed vegetables can help you improve your dietary vegetable intake. And also, they help you eat a variety of vegetables in one meal!
In 2015 only 55% of the world population had enough vegetables in their diet! And most of these were from developed nations. This means a smaller percentage was from Sub Saharan Africa. And this region is the most affected in terms of hidden hunger, worldwide. What about you, do you eat adequate dietary vegetables? Well, how much vegetables are adequate anyway?
What are mixed vegetables?
Mixed vegetables are ready to eat or ready to cook vegetables made by mixing different vegetables. The different vegetables can be cut, chopped, sliced or cubed before being cooked/eaten. The vegetables are mixed before consumption, eaten raw, cooked or refrigerated for later use. Most food markets and stores now sell packed and frozen mixed vegetables.
Typically mixed vegetables contain cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, peas, cabbage, green beans, sweet corn, lentils, cherry tomatoes e.t.c. All types of mixed vegetables contain a mixture of different vegetables. Also, mixed vegetables can either be commercial or be prepare at home.
Preparing the vegetables at home has more benefits. This is because can choose what you want to add. You can also improve the variety of the vegetables you eat. It also allows you to make use of healthy vegetables of low economic importance. These can be nutrient-rich vegetables that are not sold commercially. This can improve your diet quality.
Health benefits of mixed vegetables
Benefits in general
You reap the benefits of dietary diversity
When you eat mixed vegetables, you get the nutrients from each vegetable. This means you can also enjoy the health benefits of each vegetable. In other words, mixed vegetables can provide you with dietary diversity. Also, they can help you achieve a healthy rainbow plate. Which means more colour on your plate. And this results in a healthier diet.
Note: A rainbow plate is a meal that has as many colours as a rainbow. This means each colour signifies a different food. As a result, this gives you dietary diversity and more health benefits. In Ayurveda, you have about six different tastes that should be in your meal for optimum health. And these ensure that you get all the healing components from food. Therefore, such a rainbow plate can help you do that!
Accessing different healthy phytochemicals and nutraceuticals
Eating mixed vegetables regularly allows gives access to different healthful phytochemicals in one meal. This is better than eating one type of vegetable in each meal. Because then you would only get the nutrients or phytochemicals from a single vegetable. And with individual vegetables, you can spend many days without eating other vegetables due to rotation. And mixed vegetables help you harness the power of variety in each meal.
Also read: Reasons why vegetables are good for you!
More benefits in one meal
Mixed vegetables are made from a mixture of different vegetables. Each vegetable has its benefits. So, if the correct quantities are eaten, you can harness the benefits from each. For example:
- Cauliflower is rich in antioxidants and low in dietary sugars.
- Cabbage is low in calories, relieves constipation and is good for diabetes.
- Green peas are good for weight loss due to dietary fibre. And they are also good for diabetics.
High quantities and wide varieties of vegetables are better for health
It is recommended that you eat high quantities and wide varieties of vegetables. This type of diet improves your health. I remember a YouTube video from a university in the USA. One panellist explained that all healing foods are plant-based. This means plant foods contain phytochemicals that help heal your body. So, vegetables are one of the best healing foods you can get. And think about it, mixed vegetables can help you eat high quantities of different vegetables in one meal! The benefits should be phenomenal.
Benefits of high vegetable consumption (including mixed vegetables)
There is no need to keep repeating that eating vegetables is good for health.
High intake of vegetables is healthy. So is the consumption of a wide range of vegetables. High consumption of different vegetables provides even better benefits. This is associated with reduced risks of diet linked non-communicable diseases.
Mixed vegetables help you achieve dietary diversity. And this helps you reduce risks of:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Type 2 diabetes
- Some cancers
- Dementia and cognitive decline
- Unhealthy ageing
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Variety means more healing power from mixed vegetables
Mixed vegetables improve your chances of consuming healing compounds.
Because each vegetable provides you with different micronutrients and phytochemicals. Also, each vegetable contains unique healing compounds. So, more vegetables in your meal just mean more healing power.
In each mixed vegetable meal, you have different vegetables. And when you eat these meals you access nutrients from different vegetables. This means if you eat correctly you benefit from nutrients and phytochemicals provided by each constituent vegetable. As a result, mixed vegetables make it easier for you to balance your diet. Therefore, regular consumers are unlikely to suffer from nutrient deficiencies.
Benefits of eating dark leafed, cruciferous, root and coloured vegetables
Each type of vegetable in mixed vegetable offers different benefits.
Dark leafed vegetables
Eating dark green leafy vegetables is associated with reduced disease risks. This includes reduced risks of cancer, diabetes and depression. And making these parts of your mixed vegetables makes each meal healthier.
Cruciferous vegetables in mixed vegetables include cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables have a high digestibility, more fibre and phytochemicals. This makes them more healthy.
Carotenoid rich yellow, red and orange vegetables
Mixed vegetables also contain carotenoid-rich vegetables like carrots, beets, onions and pumpkin. Red and yellow-pigmented vegetables may also be included. Some mixed vegetable meals may contain fruiting vegetables. And all these vegetables have powerful antioxidant properties. This helps in protecting them from oxidative stress, inflammation and tissue damage. And they are associated with reduced cancer risks.
Root and bulb vegetables in mixed vegetables
Root and bulb vegetables like onions, beetroot, radishes and carrots help reduce type 2 diabetes risks.
All these vegetables can be included in your mixed vegetable diet. And to experience all the benefits of mixed vegetables, you need to eat adequate quantities. You can also vary how you prepare and eat these vegetables. And if you love experimenting, the sky is your limit. Some people love to ferment vegetables before consumption. This makes the vegetables healthier; as fermented vegetables are good for your gut health.
More health benefits for eating mixed vegetables
Low calorific value and intake
Vegetables prepared with no or with little added fat have low calorific values. This is also the same case with those prepared with little or no added sugars. Vegetables prepared in this manner are good for weight loss and diabetes diets. This is because they have a low glycemic index and calorific values. Also, vegetables have a high dietary fibre content. As a result, they have little effect on post-meal blood sugar and insulin levels. Mixed vegetables eaten with no sugar and cooking oil have a low contribution to excess calories in the body.
High fibre mixed vegetables have a higher satiety level thus protecting you from overeating. So, mixed vegetables are good for you because they reduce your total calorific intake. That is if you correctly eat them regularly.
Excellent sources of vitamins
Mixed vegetables are also an excellent vitamin and mineral source. Some are rich carotenoids that have vitamin A activity and antioxidant activities. In addition, carotenoids also have anti-inflammatory properties. Which means they reduce the risks of inflammation in the body. However, vegetables are also good sources of B vitamins, vitamin C, minerals like potassium and other micronutrients.
Improving diet quality with nutrients and phytochemicals
Mixed vegetables can help you improve your diet quality. Why? Because they give you access to nutrients and healing compounds from different vegetables in each meal.
Thus the benefits of having mixed vegetables in your diet go beyond basic nutrition. And as I said earlier mixed vegetables give you a colourful plate. This is because each vegetable contains different phytochemicals. These give the vegetables their colours, but also they give them unique healthful properties. For example, yellow and orange vegetables contain carotenoids. Whilst red and purple are rich in anthocyanins. All of which, contain powerful health benefits.
Rich source of beneficial compounds
Most vegetables contain beneficial compounds. These include polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonoids. And these are linked to reduced risks of diet linked chronic diseases. These diseases include cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart diseases and early death.
Anthocyanins give vegetables their purple and red colours. They are known to reduce total cholesterol in the body. Anthocyanins also reduce the risks of unhealthy LDL cholesterol in the body. Thus they are heart-healthy compounds. Which also makes purple and red coloured plant foods heart-healthy foods!
Anthocyanins in red/purple vegetables help lower glucose metabolism. Which helps in lowering diabetes risks.
Lutein is also a powerful carotenoid found in yellow coloured fruits and vegetables. It is associated with an improved visual performance. And it also helps reduce age-related blindness. As well as reduce age-related visual problems and cognition (body balance and movement).
Benefits of mixing different vegetables
Greater vegetable variety is associated with a low risk of coronary heart disease. This can only mean there is “something” in different vegetables. This “something” has healing and protective effects against coronary heart disease. Regularly eating a wide variety of vegetables also have beneficial effects on stroke and cardiovascular disease.
American Dietary Guidelines are specific on eating a variety of vegetables. They recommend consumption of dark green leafy, red, orange and white vegetables. They also recommend eating legumes and other vegetables.
And we all know that mixed vegetables are a varied vegetable mix. Which means they bring this variety to your family’s doorstep. You don’t need to keep struggling about which vegetable to eat to bring variety. Because variety is already there in your meal.
To be realistic, meal planning is not easy, neither is it for everyone!
I mean, let’s be honest with each other. Think about it, it’s difficult to plan meals daily whilst maintaining variety in your meals. That’s why most people end up eating the first thing they see. And it’s more difficult to prepare 7 to 8 dishes per meal just to bring variety! That is unless you have a personal chef, who cares about your nutrition. The time just isn’t there for most people. But these mixed vegetables, take you one step further towards variety.
It is, however, important to note that variety alone is also not enough! So, what is enough now? Well, with diet, nothing is enough, staying and eating healthy is an everyday struggle!
Embrace variety and quantity
But, the best thing is that you have to embrace variety, and also eat adequate quantities of the vegetables. And this is the only way to achieve optimum health benefits. This means that for the best benefits you must eat on or above recommended servings. That is 5 portions or 400 g of vegetables every day.
What happens when meals become habitual and boring?
Mixed vegetables help you achieve your dietary vegetable intake. However, you may also have problems with mixed vegetable intake. If you are not creative, your meals become habitual and unattractive. This becomes a cause for disliking, resulting in reduced vegetable consumption. So you have to be creative with your mixed vegetables. You can try different combinations and treatments. There are fermented, blanched, raw and air fried mixed vegetables etc. All of this helps bring diet and meal variety. Also, be creative with your meals to prevent, boring meals. For example, make personal vegetable combinations? Don’t fully depend on commercial prepackaged mixed vegetables!
Mixed vegetables can be a lifesaver in your diet. And they can bring in that vegetable intake or variety you need. They are also good for those who are time-pressed. Because they are a healthy food you can prepare in advance and store for later. If all this can’t convince you to try mixed vegetables, I don’t know what else does!