In addition to being packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, veggies are low in calories and high in belly-filling fiber. When they displace other foods, you can drastically lower your intake of calories and carbs without sacrificing fullness. For example, trading one cup of cooked rice with a cup of riced cauliflower saves about 175 calories and 40 grams of carbs.
But even if your overall calorie intake stays the same, more veggies in your diet could still help you slim down: When researchers compared people that consumed the same number of calories, they found those who ate more plant foods had a lower BMI and smaller waist measurements, as well as less inflammation, compared to those who ate less produce.
The high amount of fiber in veggies is a big benefit: A classic German study found that every gram of fiber we eat essentially cancels out about seven calories. A fiber-rich diet has also been tied to less belly fat, and it helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, to keep hunger at bay and your energy levels steady.
Other benefits of eating more produce include protection against nearly every chronic disease and a healthier gut microbiome, which is tied to your immunity and mood. There are even beauty perks: Scientists at the University of Nottingham in the UK found that eating more produce daily gives skin a healthy glow. Another study from St. Andrews University found that people who upped their produce intake by roughly three portions a day for six weeks were rated as more attractive than those who ate less produce.