• UnEarthed

vegetables will grow on you

By: Lillian Coady

When you think of your favorite food, what first comes to your mind? Is it a warm, buttery chocolate chip cookie? Or maybe you imagine the crunch of a Dorito or the sugary sweetness of a donut? If you thought about a scrumptious something along these lines, I don’t blame you. These foods are yummy. We’d eat thousands at a time if we could! The thing is… we can’t. If you try to eat a thousand donuts, I’ll tell you right now—your stomach will retaliate.


Isn’t it funny that the best-tasting foods are the worst for us? Why can’t the vegetable, a much more healthy sort of food, taste like candy? Why do vegetables taste gross if they’re so good for us?


There are a couple of reasons to explain this. One is that plants are living creatures, just like us. Just like us, they have built-in skills to protect themselves from outside threats. Vegetables are filled with this stuff called toxins (tok-sins), which are very bitter. The bitter stuff helps them defend themselves against bugs and predators—and that includes us. No wonder we think they taste so bitter!

Vegetables have more toxins when they're under more stress. Like us, they’re not in their best shape if they are not taken care of. Vegetables that don’t get enough water, nutrients, or space while they’re growing will taste a little bit worse.


But the vegetables alone are only half of the problem. Humans are the ones complaining that they taste so bad! Why do we still eat them if they don’t want to be messed with?


Humans have decided that the good parts of eating vegetables make it worth going through the bad parts. Besides toxins, vegetables also are filled with micronutrients (my-crow-new-tree-ints). We need micronutrients to keep our brains strong and make us feel better when we’re sick. So, humans push through the bitter vegetable taste because we get micronutrients in the same bite.


You actually get better at this as you get older. Little babies don’t need vegetables as much as older people. They drink milk, which is sweet and creamy. Baby humans like sweet and creamy foods, and that sweet tooth doesn’t go away for a while.


However, just because we don’t crave vegetables doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t benefit from eating them. So how can we eat more vegetables if we’re grossed out by them?


Remember that the vegetable food group is very diverse. No two are completely the same. They provide a diverse set of nutrients to our bodies, as well. Corn, a starch, is full of carbohydrates (carb-oh-hi-drates) that fuel our brain. On the other hand, carrots, a root, are rich in vitamin A, which helps our vision. There’s a vegetable for everyone, and each one has a unique nutritional benefit. The more you try, the more likely you’ll find one that you like and that will benefit your body. You probably already have one!



All in all, we should be eating vegetables when we can! There are other healthy, tasty foods that we can eat, too. Eggs, cereal, and juice are all easy-to-make, yummy things for us to munch on and get energy from. But adding a baked potato, a carrot stick or two, might bring something else to the table—and to our bodies.


Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2847733/

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/108/4/842/5129179

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13668-017-0202-1

https://www.cairn.info/revue-journal-of-innovation-economics-2021-1-page-79.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4644575/




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