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Go greens, the easy way

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Research findings show that all vegetables contain beneficial nutrients that humans need. Photo: Xinhua

How many times in your life have you heard your mother or grandmother say “eat your greens”? More than once, for sure. While being told this multiple times may dissuade you from doing exactly what you are asked to, they actually have a good point.

Generally, we know that vegetables are ‘good’ for our overall well-being but do we understand the reason behind their importance to our health? It is time we learn.

Multiple researches have shown that all vegetables contain beneficial nutrients that humans need in order to have a good health. Some, however, are real troopers as they carry up to ten times more vitamins and fibres. Apart from that, they also supply the necessary nutrients to guard your body against fatal diseases such as cancer.

Common veggies and their medicinal values

1. Carrots

Carrots are one of the easiest vegetables to find in your nearby markets but their nutritional values should not be taken for granted. Their bright orange colour indicates that they are packed with an antioxidant called beta-carotene which could prevent cancer. According to Healthline, having a serving of carrots for a week could reduce the risks of prostate cancer by 5 per cent. Smokers who eat the same amount of carrots also was observed having three times less risks of lung cancer compared to those who don’t.

Nutrients: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and potassium

2. Broccoli

Broccoli belongs to the group of vegetables called cruciferous, just like its sisters: cabbage and cauliflower. It is highly beneficial in fighting cancer, considering the fact that they are high in sulforaphane. A study in animals showed that sulforaphane can block tumor growth. Since it has high fibre content, eating broccoli may aid digestion, maintain low blood sugar and curbs overeating. In other words, it can help keep your weight in order as well.

Nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium

3. Garlic

One of the most popular ingredients in home remedies. Although small in size, it packs a heavy punch. Garlic contains diallyl sulfide, a compound that makes it a natural antibiotic. It also carries a cancer-fighting compound which was proven to have slowed down the rate of cancer cell growth. Apart from that, garlic also regulates blood sugar levels and keeps the cholesterol level low.

Nutrients: Manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and selenium

4. Spinach

Ultimately, dark leafy greens are still the best as they contain an impressive amount of nutrients. A 2015 study revealed that spinach could help lower blood pressure thus diminishing the risks of heart diseases. It also has high level of antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lutein, which have been attributed to a reduced risk of cancer.

Nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

While it is easy to highlight the perks of eating greens, there are some who just could not stand their taste and texture, thus denying themselves from all the goodness that vegetables bring.

How to start loving vegetables

Yes, we are looking at you picky eaters. We understand not everyone is thrilled at the thought of a salad bowl but this does not mean you should completely avoid any other kinds of vegetables. If you cannot stand the taste or the texture of vegetables but would like to adapt a healthier lifestyle, fret not, for there is still hope for you. Let’s face it, when there is a will, there is a way.

Find your ‘gateway vegetable’

Coined by pro-health website Nerd Fitness, the term refers to a specific type of vegetable that you genuinely enjoy. For some people who are repulsed by the thought of eating leafy greens, their vegetable of choice may be mushrooms or cauliflower, for instance. You do not have to hop on the vegan bandwagon, but do not stop yourself from the possibilities of actually becoming a veggie-lover. Even if it means starting with liking only one kind of vegetable.

Increase vegetable intake

Once you found what you love, the rest of the steps should be easier. All you have to do now is making a conscious choice the next time you are ordering or preparing meals for yourself. Try to incorporate your gateway vegetables when you can. Fancy having that Pho for lunch? Don’t skip the bean sprouts that it comes with. It is that easy.

Get creative

More often than not, vegetables are not prepared in the most gastronomically-pleasing ways. They get such bad reps from tasting ‘funny’ so take matters into your own hands and prepare them in ways of your likings. You can also ‘hide’ them in other food so that you will eat them subconsciously. Instead of boiling them, try grilling or roasting them alongside your meat of choice, for instance, and voila, you will be a veggie-lover in no time!

While consuming a generous amount of vegetables decreases the risks for critical illnesses, it is best to stay on the safe side by getting yourself and loved ones protected with AIA’s life insurance solution. It covers 26 conditions of critical illnesses and medical operations in Cambodia and overseas. To inquire further, please contact your nearest AIA Life Planner.

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