How Many Vegetables, really?
How many veggies should I eat? This is a question I have personally wrestled with and went in search of answers to help determine how to achieve better health. Because no matter the diet fad you are reading about, they seemed to have at least on consistent theme and that is to eat more veggies. No matter whether you are plant based, keto, paleo or just the classic mediterranean diet. How much do experts recommend we eat on a daily basis? I have included some of the different recommendations below with a fun fact about people that grow their own gardens.
USDA 5-13 servings daily of Vegetables
Health experts often sight 10 being the optimal number of servings for an adult.
Age and number of servings:
Babies – start with just introducing veggies; try to first introduce veggies then fruits since humans tend to prefer sweet treats more.
Toddlers 2 to 3 years old – 1 serving or 1 cup daily
Young children 4 to 8 years old – 1.5 to 2 servings or cups daily more toward 2 servings as children get on the higher age range.
Tweens 9 to 13 years old – (start to vary by gender needs and size of growth) 2-3 serving or cups daily. Larger stature or high activity level children will need more like 3 servings.
Teens 14 to 18 years old – Larger stature or high activity need 3-4 servings or cups daily. Less active can do 2.5 or 3 servings daily.
Young adults 19 to 30 years old – 5 to 12 servings or cups daily.
Adults 31 to 50 years old – 10 servings or cups daily.
Older Adults 51 years old and older – 6-10 servings based on ability to consume.
One serving in general is equal to one cup. If it is a leafy green veggie, it takes 2 cups to equal a serving size. Vegetable juice is also 1 serving size to 1 cup ratio. Vegetables contain the highest nutrient density of most foods with a higher value of vitamins, nutrients and amino acids. Most common are Potassium, fiber, cellulose, folate, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
The most healthful Veggies that are eaten are:
Spinach – Magnesium, iron, folate, vitamin c and vitamin A.
Kale – Vitamin A, Vitamin C and K.
Broccoli – Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
Peas – Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Vitamin B.
Sweet Potatoes – Potassium, Beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.
Beets – Potassium and folate.
Carrots – Vitamin A and folate.
Tomatoes – Vitamin C and potassium.
Garlic – Vitamins and minerals and diallyl sulfide is an antibiotics.
Onions – Vitamin C, Vitamin b-6, manganese.
Alfalfa sprouts – Saponins
Here are some statistics that I found really interesting about people who eat veggies
People who garden in Community gardens =56% They eat at least 5 servings a day.
People who have home gardens= 37 %
People who have all store bought veggies=25%
Statistics based on the reasearch from one of my favorite health magazines: www.vibrantlife.com (also maybe the oldest health magazine published in the USA.
So more proof that a garden is not only healthy, can make us happy and inspire us to eat more veggies thus upping our healthy vitamins and nutrients. So go eat some veggies and have fun.