Vegetables need to be a huge chunk of your diet. It’s the green variety that gives you vitamins and minerals vital for every part and function of your body. But, there are a few veggies that excel in terms of nourishment and health benefits.
The below-listed veggies are extremely rich in nutrients. Some are even considered as some of the best sources of certain vitamins. Here are the veggies that take the crown of being super healthy.
No surprises here. Spinach is without a doubt one of the healthiest vegetables on earth. This super versatile leafy green is packed with vitamins A, K, and E, iron, antioxidants, folate, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, and it’s low in calories. A cup of spinach is just 7 calories! Numerous studies suggest eating spinach regularly improves eye health, stabilizes blood pressure, strengthens bones and muscles, and reduces the risk of cancer.1 Nutritionists recommend eating a cup of fresh spinach daily.
Kale juices and salads have taken the fitness industry by a storm. And for good reason! Kale is loaded with vitamins A, K, and C. A cup of raw kale meets more than 200% of vitamin A and more than 600% of vitamin K of the daily recommended amount. It’s also rich in fiber, iron, calcium, and antioxidants. One study found out drinking kale juice for 12 weeks increased HDL “good” cholesterol levels by 27% and decreased LDL “bad” cholesterol level by 10%. It also maintains blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Besides kale juice, steamed kale and kale chips make healthy options.
Being a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables (just like kale), broccoli is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins K and C. One study found out eating broccoli can detoxify your body from carcinogenic and toxic chemicals present in the air because it contains phytochemical sulforaphane. Also, broccoli reduces the risk of developing heart issues. Try to include raw broccoli in your diet since it has a higher nutritional profile when compared to cooked broccoli.
4. Brussels Sprouts
It might be the most hated veggie in the world, but the truth is, brussels sprouts are one of the healthiest veggies in the world. A cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 200% of the daily required value (DRV) for vitamin K1. The green goodness contains kaempferol, a compound that prevents cell damage and reduces the risk of developing cancer. It is also beneficial for heart health and helps to get rid of toxins from the body. Steamed brussels sprouts or adding a few pieces of cooked brussels sprouts in a salad are healthy choices.
Most of us are aware that vitamin K-packed carrots (428% of DRV in a cup) are great for the eyes. But did you know carrots can also reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer? That’s not all. Another study revealed carrots reduces lung damage associated with smoking. It suggested smokers who didn’t eat carrots increased the risk of developing lung cancer by three times compared to smokers who ate carrots.2 It is also found to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
Size doesn’t matter – when it comes to green peas. These tiny veggies are super healthy for you. It is rich in fiber, vitamins A, C and K, iron, calcium, and manganese. One study claims peas contain a compound spermidine that helps to keep the body younger, resulting in a lower risk of old-age diseases like Alzheimer’s. Green peas have also been found to prevent bone damage and maintain blood sugar levels.
7. Collard Greens
Super rich in calcium, vitamins A, C, and K, and manganese, collard greens are extremely healthy. It contains glutathione, a compound that helps the liver to detoxify fat and strengthens the immune system. Because of its nutritional profile, it improves bone health, prevents digestive issues, and protects the heart. You could eat it raw, sautéed or boiled.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Packed with fiber, potassium, and manganese, sweet potatoes are amazingly healthy and delicious. It’s rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Sweet potatoes meet 438% of the DRV for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. This particular compound reduces the risk of lung cancer and breast cancer. Also, sweet potatoes regulate blood sugar levels. Boiled or steamed sweet potatoes are healthy choices.
9. Swiss Chard
Scoring high in vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, magnesium, and iron, Swiss chards are packed with a lot of goodness. Numerous studies prove Swiss chards help to regulate blood sugar level, improves bone health, increases blood circulation, and regulates blood pressure.3
Tomatoes are extremely nutrient dense. It’s rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E, manganese, and phosphorus. Tomatoes contain an antioxidant known as lycopene. One study revealed a diet rich in lycopene reduced risks of several types of cancer, including bladder, lung, and stomach cancers. Tomatoes are also beneficial for the heart, eyes, and your digestion.
time to be one. Studies reveal garlic stabilizes blood sugar levels, decreases triglycerides, increases HDL cholesterol levels, and protects the heart. Thanks to a powerful compound allicin present in garlic. Add garlic to your dishes or if you’re up for it, eat it raw.
Ginger has been a remedy for several health issues. It’s popularly used around the world for treating colds and motion sickness. But there’s more to ginger than comforting your stomach. Research claims ginger is anti-inflammatory in nature, making it useful to treat lupus and osteoarthritis. Another study proved that ginger can stablize blood sugar level as well.4
Vegetables should be the most important part of your meals. Make sure to eat at least one of these super healthy veggies daily. A balanced diet should ideally include a mix of these veggies and your local produce. Cheers to healthy eating!
|↑1||Jovanovski, Elena, Laura Bosco, Kashif Khan, Fei Au-Yeung, Hoang Ho, Andreea Zurbau, Alexandra L. Jenkins, and Vladimir Vuksan. “Effect of spinach, a high dietary nitrate source, on arterial stiffness and related hemodynamic measures: a randomized, controlled trial in healthy adults.” Clinical nutrition research 4, no. 3 (2015): 160-167|
|↑2||Pisani, Paola, Franco Berrino, Maurizio Macaluso, Ugo Pastorino, Paolo Crosignani, and Alberto Baldasseroni. “Carrots, green vegetables and lung cancer: a case-control study.” International journal of epidemiology 15, no. 4 (1986): 463-468|
|↑3||Ozsoy-Sacan, Ozlem, Omür KARABULUT-BULAN, Sehnaz Bolkent, Refiye Yanardag, and Yasemin Ozgey. “Effects of chard (Beta vulgaris L. var cicla) on the liver of the diabetic rats: a morphological and biochemical study.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 68, no. 8 (2004): 1640-1648|
|↑4||Khandouzi, Nafiseh, Farzad Shidfar, Asadollah Rajab, Tayebeh Rahideh, Payam Hosseini, and Mohsen Mir Taheri. “The effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin a1c, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein aI and malondialdehyde in type 2 diabetic patients.” Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR 14, no. 1 (2015): 131|