Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, it’s no secret that a diet plentiful in vegetables confers many health benefits. Increasing vegetable consumption and eating a diet containing copious amounts of colorful produce reduces the risk of heart disease (including heart attack and stroke), stroke, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer.
Compared to folks who only eat one serving of vegetables per day, research shows that folks who consume three or more servings per day have lower incidence of stroke, lower stroke mortality, lower ischemic heart disease mortality, lower cardiovascular disease mortality, and lower all-cause mortality.
What’s more, an increasing body of research shows that increasing vegetable consumption helps prevent weight gain and promotes fat loss. In fact, in a study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes, researchers found that greater consumption of vegetables during weight loss efforts correlated to more weight and fat lost.
In a recent study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, Harvard researchers examined the diets of over 133,000 men and women over the course of 24 years, split into 4-year intervals.5 They found that vegetable consumption was inversely associated with weight gain. Specifically, each additional serving of vegetables resulted in a drop of 0.25 pounds, and also of note, they found that each additional serving of cruciferous (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) and green leafy vegetables as associated with a loss of over 1.25 pounds.
What’s more, researchers have found that reduced-calorie diets including five servings of vegetables per day can lead to sustained weight loss, with associated reductions in cardiovascular disease risk factors. Further, consuming a higher proportion of calories as vegetables may support greater weight loss.