New Lily

Three Vegetables You Need to be Eating

Don't judge these great veggies by any pre-concieved notions you might have...

Don’t judge these great veggies by any pre-concieved notions you might have…

Kale, Yams, and Beets…if you aren’t eating these veggies on a regular basis, you should be. According to Alan Tyson, physical therapist, athletic trainer, and certified strength and conditioning specialist, if you are an athlete or just want to perform at your best, these veggies should be on your A-List.

We all know that eating vegetables is a good thing to do.  But not all vegetables are created equal.  The more colorful the veggie, the more significant the nutritional potency (Vitamin C and E, carotenoids, polyphenols, etc.).  When we eat a variety of green, yellow, and red vegetables we receive the maximum benefit that vegetables have to offer. Vegetables’ potent qualities are reflected in studies of populations with primary plant-based diets. Over time, people in these cultures are far less likely to be obese; they enjoy a longer lifespan; and they have a decreased risk of developing a number of chronic diseases. The general admonishment to “eat more veggies” is perfectly legitimate, but if you’re looking for a more concrete recommendation, the following are the reasons Alan Tyson says we should really get to know these three great veggies:

Try some kale chips!

Try some kale chips!

This goes for all dark green leafy veggies, but we give kale top billing to emphasize that its growing popularity is well-deserved. Kale is a nutrition powerhouse, packed with fiber and copper—one nutrient that is hard to get in a normal diet—and an excellent source of manganese, iron, vitamins C, A, and K, and myriad phytonutrients.If you’re wondering what to do with this prehistoric-looking green, you could sauté or steam it like spinach. Even easier, cut out the rib, chop the green, and use it in a salad. Many athletes replace traditional potato or tortilla chips with kale chips because they like truly are just as tasty!!!


Yams with a little butter and salt and pepper are a delicious snack.

Yams with a little butter and salt and pepper are a delicious snack.


Seconds after Usain Bolt broke the world record in the 100 meter dash at the 2008 Beijing Olympics,
his father Wellesley famously revealed his son’s performance enhancing secret: “It is definitely the Trelawny Yam,” the elder Bolt told reporters.

While the world’s fastest man has a clear preference for his hometown’s namesake tuber, the rest of us have more options. Yams come in a number of varieties with flesh ranging from white to purple, and skin that may be white, pink, brown, or black. They are all excellent sources of vitamin C,manganese, fiber, and vitamin B6, among other vitamins. Yams are also rich in potassium, a mineral helps keep blood pressure within normal limits and can prevent muscle cramping. Plus, as Bolt knows, yams are a gr
eat source of complex carbohydrates for lasting energy.  I always thought yams and sweet potatoes were the same thing, but they aren’t identical.  Don’t worry, though, sweet potatoes are also a great source of complex carbs, vitamins A, B5, and many of the other nutrients as yams.
The secret is out! Athletes everywhere are gulping down beetroot juice, and beet extracts are increasingly showing up in pre-workout supplements. Don’t write this off as just another fad, because a growing body of research supports the potential benefits of nitrate rich beets and beet extracts for athletic performance.  In the body, nitrates are converted into nitrite, which then generates nitric oxide, a short lived gas that expands blood vessels for greater blood flow, improving oxygen and nutrient delivery to working muscles. If guzzling beetroot juice sounds a bit out of your comfort zone, start incorporating beets into your
diet for a regular source of nitrates. They’re sweet and add a visually appealing crimson pop to your dishes. Beets also contain both folate and betaine, both of which help lower levels of inflammation in the body. Toss raw, shredded beets into a salad, or better yet, roast them to bring out their sweet flavor and tender texture.
Interestingly, at a recent doctor’s appointment I asked Dr. Tommy Megremis, who is also a nutrition counselor as well as an M.D., about his recommendations for a cancer fighting diet.  He recommended a diet with a good balance of fats and protein (more fats such as nuts, olive or coconut oil, and avocado, etc.)  Like Tyson, he also believes vegetables are essential.  There are so many things we can add to veggies to enhance the flavor.  Instead of relying on the same-old-same-old, try adding curry, turmeric, cumin, or fresh basil and garlic to your vegetables to promote taste. A few weeks ago my husband I tried an Indian restaurant and we sampled a few vegetarian dishes.  I was surprised by how much flavor was in a dish that was comprised of all vegetables.
Next time you are shopping for groceries, buy a few beets, some yams, and some kale.  Here are a few recipes to help you out: Baked Kale Chips, Roasted Yams and Honey and Cinnamon, Quinoa and Beet Salad.


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