Posted on Dec 08, 2023, 4 p.m.
Vegetables are good for you, and this is well supported by many studies (except for those with certain allergies/intolerances and health conditions). However, much like all things, not everything is created equally, vegetables are no exception to this, and some are better than others. We’ve collected a short list of some of the vegetables that are the most nutritious to pile on your plate.
Spinach is high in iron, potassium, magnesium, and carotenoids, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K; it contains many vitamins and minerals essential to blood clotting, bone metabolism, and a healthy immune system to go along with anti-aging antioxidants to help fight inflammation. Spinach is also relatively tasteless which makes it easy to add to soups, salads, and smoothies, plus it is low in calories at about 6 calories per cup.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous veggie that is high in vitamins C and K, calcium, fiber, potassium, and folic acid. It also contains phytonutrients that have immune-enhancing, anti-aging, and cancer-fighting properties. Cauliflower can be consumed raw or cooked making it a good choice to add to salads, rice, or just a snack.
Asparagus may be one of the healthiest veggies, aside from being low in calories at about 4 calories per stalk it is rich in fiber, potassium, folic acid, amino acid asparagine, as well as vitamins A, B6, and K. Asparagus has a natural diuretic effect to help rid the body of excess water, bloat, and sodium.
Carrots are great for your eyes thanks to their vitamin A and carotenoid content. Along with making a great crunchy snack, they are full of vitamins B, C, and K, as well as potassium, and insoluble fiber that help protect against cancer.
Broccoli is another cruciferous veggie that is high in vitamins and nutrients that aid in heart health, fighting cancer, and rebalancing blood sugar. Broccoli is also low in calories and high in fiber content so it will help to keep you feeling satisfied. Broccoli also contains about 2.6 grams of protein per 100-gram serving according to the USDA.
Microgreens are not just a garnish as they contain 4-40 times more nutrients by weight than their fully grown counterparts as well as a larger variety of polyphenols that help to prevent the buildup of free radicals and decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Sweet potatoes may be the candy of veggies, as a plus they are full of vital nutrients, fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, as well as vitamins B6 and C. Sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes and can help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Brussels sprouts are great for fighting inflammation and aiding in methylation, which is the body’s biochemical pathway that down-regulates inflammation and keeps the detox pathways functioning properly. Brussels sprouts also help to boost heart health, rebalance blood sugar, and ward off cancer.
Garlic and onions are packed full of anti-aging antioxidants and sulfur compounds that can help reduce the risk of ovarian, mouth, and colon cancers. One study found the combination reduced the risk of breast cancer, and other studies suggest they can help to relieve gut issues as they promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system.
Kale may have a reason for being trendy as it contains glucosinolates that are broken down into biologically active compounds during digestion that can help protect cells from DNA damage, help inactivate carcinogens, reduce inflammation, and stimulate cell death to reduce the risk of cancer. Kale is high in calcium, copper, and potassium, as well as vitamins B and K making it great for the brain, heart, and bone health.
Mustard greens, turnips, and collards are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate among others. They also contain glucosinolates that have been found to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties which can help to inactivate carcinogens and prevent tumor formation and metastasis.
Seaweed/ Sea vegetables aren’t very popular but contain a variety of beneficial minerals and health-boosting trace elements; they are also abundant in vitamins B, C, and K along with being one of the most effective ways to get iodine needed for thyroid hormone production. Nori, dulse, kombu, kelp, and Irish moss are also anti-inflammatory and help to balance blood sugar levels.
Beats make an excellent source of fiber at 3.5 grams per cup which will help to slow digestion and keep you feeling full for longer while helping to prevent blood sugar spikes. The fiber will also help to lower LDL cholesterol by preventing it from being absorbed in the digestive tract. Beats are rich in folate which is essential for fetal development, and they have been found to help lower blood pressure.
Bell peppers can help you to eat the rainbow as they come in a variety of colors which are low in calories while being rich in anti-aging antioxidants, folic acid, fiber, and potassium, as well as vitamins A and C. Green bell peppers also contain lutein that helps to protect vision. These colorful veggies are great raw or cooked making them great food choices for snacks.
Green peas contain a few more carbs than other non-starchy vegetables but they are still good for you. They are full of vitamins A, C, and K as well as fiber, folate, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin. Green peas also contain about 6 grams of protein per 100 grams.
The expression “Eat the Rainbow” is a good rule of thumb for consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables good foodstuff, which has been shown time and time again to be the easiest way to improve overall well-being, maintain and assist in weight management, and to help ward off conditions like heart disease, high cholesterol, and cancer. Food can be used as medicine, what a wonderful thing, provided it is healthy food.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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T.W. at WHN