Sadly, the vast majority of Americans aren’t getting enough fruits or vegetables in their diets. However, even fruits get more love than vegetables, despite the fact greens are perhaps the most crucial components in a healthy diet. Not consuming enough vegetables can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies, especially if you’re not taking any supplements or making other healthy eating decisions. Most people can honestly admit to themselves that they’ve not been eating enough greens just by recalling the last time they had a salad.
If you recently set the goal of eating better, you might be wondering just how many servings of greens you need each day. The USDA’s daily nutritional guidelines recommend five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Yet, only a health conscience minority of the population are actually meeting that suggestion. You can confirm that you’re in dire need of more greens if you’ve been having any of the following seven problems:
1. You Frequently Feel Fatigued
If you’re not getting greens you could be deficient in folate, which could cause you to feel tired all the time. This deficiency could also lead to anemia, which might be contributing to your lack of energy. One of the best ways to boost vitamin B-2 and B-6 levels is by consuming a nutritional powder made from celery. Likewise, celery juice is rich in vitamin K, folate, potassium, vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Other greens that are good for correcting fatigue include lentils, lima beans, and asparagus.
2. You Get Sick Often
If you notice that you tend to get the flu every time it comes around or you’re always dealing with some sort of sinus infection or congestion, your immune problems could definitely be stemming from a lack of greens in your diet. Aside from greens like spinach and broccoli, you may also want to consume more citrus fruits, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, nuts, and seeds to further boost your immune system. Likewise, consuming shellfish like crabs, clams, lobster, and mussels can help boost your zinc levels, which has also been linked to enhance immune function.
3. You Bruise Easily
If you’ve noticed that you’re bruising easily, that could be a sign that you’re not getting sufficient vitamin C in your diet, which of course comes from not eating enough fruits or vegetables. The best greens to eat to correct this problem include broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts. However, keep in mind that steaming vegetables usually preserves more of the nutrition in these greens than boiling or baking them.
4. You Have Trouble Remembering Things
Everyone forgets things occasionally but as you age your diet plays a more pivotal role in how well you’re able to recall information. Greens contain lutein, a crucial nutrient that is connected to enhanced memory and learning. If you’re not getting enough lutein in your diet, that could be causing or contributing to your foggy mental state. Consuming foods that are high in vitamin E is another way to enhance your memory.
5. Everyday Stress is Becoming More Difficult to Deal With
If you’ve noticed that your anxiety and stress levels have been heightened lately, even though you’re not dealing with any kind of major emergency, your reduced tolerance for stress could be caused by a lack of greens in your diet. There’s a link between stress and inflammation, so if you’ve noticed that you’re more prone to swelling or pain lately, that could also be caused by insufficient vegetable consumption.
6. You Get Cramps
Muscle cramps are a tell-tale sign that you’re not eating properly. These usually happen during the hotter months when you’re being more active and sweating a lot, as that’s when your body really has to dip into its nutritional reserves. Although bananas are usually the most recommended solution for this problem due to the amount of potassium they contain, eating leafy green vegetables is another way to get this essential mineral.
7. You’re Gaining Weight in a Bad Way
Not eating enough vegetables has been linked to obesity in countless studies. If you’re not eating fruits and vegetables, then the other foods you’re eating are probably only contributing to your weight gain instead of helping to slow or reverse it. Switching to a fully vegetarian diet is one of the fastest ways to accelerate healthy weight loss and promote the development of lean muscle mass that will boost your metabolism even further.
Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies
The easiest way to make sure you’re getting an acceptable minimum amount of greens each day is to follow the rule of one serving per meal. Preparing your veggies in separate containers can also help you expedite the process throwing in an extra serving here and there. You could also start drinking two green shakes per day to give your diet a simple yet delicious veggie boost.