Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.We all know that vegetables are good for you. But are you aware that each veggie has something special to offer? The recommendation is to eat a variety since they each individually shine in one area of vitamins or nutrients. Some vegetables pack a bigger nutritional punch than others or provide an especially convenient way to get essential nutrients. Read on and see if your favourite vegetable made the list of most nutritious veggies.
- Onions contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar.
- Onions scavenge free radicals, thereby reducing your risk of developing gastric ulcers.
- High amounts of quercetin, a plant-based phytochemical found in the outermost layers of onions, gives them an anti-inflammatory effect that preliminary research shows may improve conditions such as arthritis, asthma and heart disease.
- People who consume a lot of onions and other allium vegetables such as scallions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives have a lower risk of stomach, colon and prostate cancers.
Serving tip : Add sweet red onions to salads and salsas or grill them. Use the pungent flavor of yellow onions to jazz up any main or side dish.
- Sweet potatoes contain iron and support a healthy immune system.
- Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral.
- It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity.
- Good source of vitamin D which plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
Serving tip : Chop sweet potatoes into soups, stew and chili, or make fries. You can also Slice them in wedges, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and herbs, and roast in the oven until tender on the inside and browned on the outside.
- Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.
- Because of its high potassium content, spinach is recommended to those with high blood pressure to negate the effects of sodium in the body.
- Spinach is high in vitamin A, which is necessary for sebum production to keep hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.
- Spinach is high in fiber and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract.
Serving tip : Add frozen spinach to homemade soup as it cooks or frozen or canned soup as it reheats, Collins suggests. Boiling spinach in a pot of water can cut the amount of folate and vitamin C in half, Collins cautions. Instead, cook by steaming, stir-frying or sauteing.
- As an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, tomatoes can help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer.
- The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and choline content in tomatoes all support heart health.Tomatoes also contain folic acid, which helps to keep homocysteine levels in check, thereby reducing a risk factor for heart disease.
- Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene, powerful antioxidants that have been shown to protect the eyes against light-induced damage associated with the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- The folic acid in tomatoes may help with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body, which can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain.
Serving tip : “Since lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient, eat tomatoes heated and served with a small amount of olive oil (a source of monounsaturated fat) for best absorption”.
- These tasty fungi have a huge potential as a food source of vitamin D when exposed to UV light for just 5 minutes. ( At the grocery store, buy mushrooms labeled as grown in ultraviolet light ).
- Mushrooms are a good source of iron, thus helpful for anemic patients by improving low levels of iron in their blood, resulting in fatigue, headaches, reduced neural function, and digestive issues.
- Mushrooms are a rich source of calcium, which is an essential nutrient in the formation and strength of bones.
- Ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant present in mushrooms, is very effective in providing protection from free radicals as well as boosting the immune system
Serving tip : Make a mini pizza by using a Portobello mushroom as the crust topped with tomato sauce, diced vegetables and low-fat cheese. Bake in the oven.
- Peas are low fat but high everything else. A cup of peas has less than 100 calories but lots of protein, fiber and micro-nutrients.
- They are rich sources of many minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese etc. which enhances the immune system of your body.
- The antioxidants which are present in it such as flavonoids, catechin, epicatechin, carotenoid, alpha carotene etc. are helpful in preventing the aging process of your skin and tends to provide a natural glow to the skin.
- Vitamin K present in peas helps you in the prevention of serious diseases like Alzheimer’s and arthritis.
Serving tip : Steam peas and serve them with new potatoes or toss them into salads or any dishes. You can even try them as a pizza topping!
RED BELL PEPPERS
- Red bell peppers are a great source of vitamin B6 and folate. Both these vitamins and minerals can help prevent anemia.
- Red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision.
- The combined effects of vitamin A and C create a great antioxidant capacity, and with lycopene in the mix, the red bell pepper becomes a top notch superfood.
Serving tip : “Raw bell peppers are a crunchy treat that you can toss in a salad. You can also stuff them with cooked, lean ground beef and rice pulav before baking, or roast them over a stovetop flame and serve over steamed green beans or as a taco filling.
- Broccoli is rich in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production, thus keeping your skin healthy whereas vitamin A protects your skin cell membranes and prevents ultraviolet radiation damage.
- Vitamins A and C stimulate the production of sebum, an oil based secretion that acts as a natural moisturizer and conditioner for scalp and hair whereas calcium strengthens the hair follicles.
- Broccoli is a good source of nutrients like fiber, vitamin c, vitamin a, beta carotene etc.
- There is high amount of potassium in broccoli that provides health to the nervous system and also helps proper functioning of brain.
Serving tip : Nobody enjoys broccoli when it’s overcooked and mushy or undercooked and tough. Steam broccoli to achieve a perfect texture and bright green hue. Soften broccoli’s bitter flavor by serving it stir-fried or with peanut sauce or dressing.
- Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours.The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
- If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer.
- Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas).
Serving tip : “Bake beets as you would a potato (keep the skin on. You can also roast them or grate and add to a salad.
- The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc in potatoes all contribute to the building and maintenance of bone structure and strength.
- Potatoes contain significant amounts of fiber, which helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.
- Because of their fiber content, potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
- Potatoes are a great source of vitamin B6, which plays a vital role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily utilized for energy within the body.
Serving tip : Be sure to eat the skin, It’s packed with fiber and nutrients.” Roasting potatoes or serving a traditional baked potato with just a dab of low-fat sour cream.
- Eating cauliflower is like winning the antioxidant and phytonutrient lottery. It’s packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, cinnamic acid, and much more.
- Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development.
- Sulforaphane in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables has been found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function.
- Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth.
Serving tip : Instead of serving ordinary mashed potatoes, steam cauliflower and mash it with potatoes. It gives you a more nutritious bang for your calorie buck.
- The soluble fiber in cucumbers dissolves into a gel-like texture in your gut, helping to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer and is one reason why fiber-rich foods may help with weight control.
- Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an important role in brain health. In addition to improving your memory and protecting your nerve cells from age-related decline.
- Cucumbers contain multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 (biotin). B vitamins are known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress.
- Cucumbers contain potassium, which is associated with lower blood pressure levels. A proper balance of potassium both inside and outside your cells is crucial for your body to function properly.
Serving tip : Add a slice of cucumber to refresh a glass of water or toss chopped cucumber in a salad.
- Celery reduces inflammation, If you are suffering from joint pains, lung infections, asthma, or acne, eating more celery will bring much-needed relief.
- The minerals in celery, especially magnesium, and the essential oil in it, soothe the nervous system. If you enjoy a celery-based snack in the evening, you may sleep better.
- It regulates the body’s alkaline balance, thus protecting you from problems caused by an overly acidic diet.
- One large stalk of celery delivers 5 percent of your daily need for Vitamin A, a group of nutrients that protects the eyes and prevents age-related degeneration of vision.
Serving tip : Use celery as a base for soups and stews, chill it in the fridge as a snack or simply sauté it in a little olive oil. To preserve maximum nutrient potential, chop celery just before adding it to a salad or cooked dish.
- Carrots are good for your eyes. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.
- The fiber present in carrots helps clean out the colon and hasten waste movement.
- Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which, being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.
- The high level of beta-carotene in carrots acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism. It help slows down the aging of cells.
Serving tip : Whip up spiced carrot sticks by soaking carrot sticks in hot water spiced with cayenne pepper, coriander seeds and salt. Allow to cool, drain and serve.
Which type to buy – fresh or frozen?
Remember that both forms of vegetables ( frozen or fresh ) provide nutrition, That’s because the nutrients are captured straight from harvesting whereas there is some time lag with fresh picked vegetables from farm to plate.
What are your favorite vegetables? And what is your favorite way to eat them? Leave a comment below and let us know.