The Value in Vegetables
“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon” ~Doug Larson
Gone are the days of the food pyramid where grains were recommended as the mainstay of a healthy diet. Now, primarily vegetables, should be the cornerstone of a nutritious lifestyle. It is recommended that every meal contain 50% fruits and vegetables with the majority being vegetables.
The benefits of a diet with ample vegetables are endless. A decrease in blood pressure and a decreased risk of developing diabetes are the most important but a diet high in vegetables can also help to avoid constipation. Furthermore, a diet rich in vegetables can benefit your eyes by working to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration which are the major causes of vision loss in those over the age of 65. Vegetables can aid in weight loss as they help to fill one up on fewer calories. The fiber found in plant based foods keeps you full, helps to detox the body, lowers cholesterol and feeds healthy gut bacteria. Sprouts, beans and peas are high in fiber. This fiber can also calm irritable bowel and encourage regularity.
Adding broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlarabi, mustard greens, radishes and turnips to your meals can help protect against certain cancers. Eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes contain antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to help our minds as we age. Other vegetables are thought to specifically help with memory. Carrots, celery, parsley and parsnips help the body make Vitamin A which can help improve and maintain memory. Also, in relation to our brains, many research studies have shown that eating between 4-5 servings of vegetables daily was associated with a 30% lower risk of ischemic stroke (the most common form of stroke).
Unfortunately, the value of vegetables is tempered by their cost and limited availability during our short growing season in Minnesota. One solution to help attain vegetables during the spring and summer months: farmers’ markets. Minneapolis is host to a multitude of farmers markets every week from May-October. Most Minneapolis farmers’ markets accept SNAP/EBT. EBT cards can be used for tokens that are accepted at the vegetable stalls. Farmers Market Nutrition Program and WIC can also be used to purchase Minnesota grown produce. Below is a list of several Minneapolis farmers’ markets and their house/days of operation.
6am-1pm every day
312 East Lyndale Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Opens April 27th, 2019
Nicollet Mall Market
Thursdays from 6am-6pm
Nicollet Mall between 6th and 9th streets
Opens May 2nd
Hennepin Country Government Center Market
300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis
Opens May 7th
Kingfield Farmers Market
4310 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409
Nokomis Farmers Market
5167 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417
Northeast Farmers Market
629 NE 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55413
While attending these farmers markets this spring and summer look for in-season produce. This produce is picked when it has the best flavor and generally is priced well. Asparagus is an early season vegetable. It is available in late spring and early summer. Asparagus is a filling vegetable meaning that larger quantities can be consumed for less calories. Carrots are available in early season in Minnesota and can help protect our skin from the harm caused by the sun. Romaine lettuce is also available in early summer. Its benefits include its high content of minerals.
Our Great Slim Down program partners with you to educate and help you get healthy and fit! For more information visit hennepinhealthcare.org/the-great-slimdown
Lindsey has been at Hennepin County Medical Center since 2008. She provides primary care to Russian and Bosnian patients and also the The Great Slim Down Program at the Internal Medicine Clinic. Schedule an appointment with Lindsey at 612-873-6963.