People know that they should eat their vegetables. In fact, it’s safe to say that most people can’t remember a time without someone telling them to do so. Rightly so, considering vegetables offer fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and many other nutrients. With so many vegetables to choose from, though, it can be difficult to know exactly which ones are the best to consume.
Nutritionists say that the best dietary strategy is to consume a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. Consuming a lot of plant-based foods can enhance your overall health, reducing the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, and cancer. The reason that more people don’t consume an assortment of colorful produce items is because it can be difficult to know how to prepare them. That’s what the Internet (and our recipe section) is for!
Vegetables are very healthy and there are many that stand out from the rest of the pack, in regards to nutrients and health benefits. To help you make healthier decisions, we’ve highlighted some of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat below. If they aren’t already on your grocery list, it’s time to add them!
Asparagus happens to be one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, but it does make your pee smell. That’s a small price to pay for how many nutrients these green spears offer. Asparagus is rich in fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A, K, and B6, in addition to the amino acid asparagine. Together with potassium, asparagine gives asparagus a natural diuretic effect, helping the body get rid of excess water to avoid bloating.
Sticking with the green theme, green peas are starchy veggies that are rich in complex carbohydrates. One cup of peas contains about nine grams of fiber, nine grams of protein, and vitamins and minerals like thiamine, folate, riboflavin, and vitamins A, C, and K. Due to their high fiber content, peas help support the digestive system by improving gut microbiome. Peas also contain saponins, which are plant compounds that exhibit potent anti-cancer properties.
Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, and you can think of them as nature’s candy. They are more nutritionally dense than regular potatoes, and they have a lower glycemic index. That means that they may help to maintain normal blood sugar levels, helping you avoid spikes and crashes. Sweet potatoes are also rich in a variety of nutrients, including vitamins C & B6, beta-carotene, and potassium.
Collard, Turnip, And Mustard Greens
Collard, turnip, and mustard greens are some of the best sources of vitamins A, K, C and E. They are also rich in folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and beneficial compounds known as glucosinolates. These compounds exhibit powerful antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Their job is to assist with inactivating carcinogens and preventing metastasis and tumor formation. It’s possible to enjoy all of these in their raw form, but many people prefer cooking them to avoid a bitter flavor profile.
According to historians, garlic has been used as a medicinal plant for millennia. The primary active compound in garlic is allicin, which has a proven ability to help regulate blood sugar and boost heart health. One review of 33 studies found that garlic was able to lower cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control. A three-month study monitored 90 people, half of whom took 1,600 milligrams of garlic powder per day, while the other half took a placebo. The results showed that the group that took garlic powder experienced significant reductions in blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
Beets are excellent sources of fiber, offering 3.5 grams per cup. As mentioned earlier, fiber aids the digestive system and keeps you full for longer. This can decrease the risk of overeating or excess snacking between meals. Fiber may also help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by preventing its absorption in the digestive tract. Additionally, beets may help lower blood pressure and aid fetal development, due to the folate content. Don’t be afraid to try golden beets or candy cane beets as well!
Brussels sprouts are naturally rich in kaempferol, an antioxidant that is particularly effective at preventing cell damage. Kaempferol exhibits anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties, which may help protect against disease. Brussels sprouts are sulfuric, meaning they aid in methylation, the body’s biochemical superhighway that down-regulates inflammation. This process helps to open detox pathways for optimal bodily functions. Brussels sprouts may also boost heart health, support regular bowel movements, and regulate blood sugar.