We all know veggies are good for your health, but some of us don’t know what are the best vegetables for us or in what parts of our bodies they help with, or the kind of vitamins and minerals they have.
So, this list is a compilation of some of the healthiest vegetables that you can find, and how they’ll improve your health.
Spinach has easily one of the most impressive nutrient profiles we’ve ever seen on a vegetable! One cup (30 grams) of this leafy green contains only 7 calories and has 56% of your daily Vitamin A needs, plus 100% of your daily Vitamin K requirements. One study in 2015 found that dark green leafy vegetables like spinach are also good for preventing heart disease and may reduce your blood pressure. On top of that, it also has a lot of antioxidants, which help against cancer and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Carrots are the queens of Vitamin A, capable of providing up to 428% of your needs in just one cup (128 grams). These orange vegetables are also high in Vitamin K, C, and Potassium and they also contain some of the same antioxidants that Spinach has, but in even bigger quantity, which means that it helps prevent cancer even more. A study found out that for each serving of carrots per week, male participant’s risk of prostate cancer decreased by 5%. Another study showed that if smokers eat carrots at least once a week, they decrease the chances of having lung cancer by three times in comparison to smokers who didn’t! That is quite a result for just one vegetable.
Broccoli is rich in a compound called glucosinolate, as well as sulforaphane, a by-product of glucosinolate, which is really good because it’s known that sulforaphane has a protective effect against cancer. In an animal study, it was able to reduce the size and number of breast cancer cells while also blocking tumor growth in mice.
Broccoli also protects the heart from disease-causing oxidative stress by significantly lowering the levels of oxidants. And even with all that, it’s still a vegetable loaded with nutrients, with a cup (91 grams) of it providing 116% of your daily vitamin K needs, 135% of the daily vitamin C requirement, and a great amount of manganese and potassium.
Garlic has long been around as medicinal plant, dating way back to China and even Egypt. Allicin is the main compound in Garlic and is responsible for the great variety of health benefits that it has. Allicin might be useful to prevent cancer: One test tube has shown that allicin induced cell death in human liver cancer cells. Some studies have demonstrated that garlic can regulate the sugar in the blood, as well as helping your heart be healthy. In an animal study done with diabetic rats, they were given either garlic oil or diallyl trisulfide, which is a component of garlic. The results showed that it decreased blood sugar and improved sensitivity, proving that this vegetable really does help to control sugar.
Kale is quite an amazing leafy green vegetable, having health-promoting qualities. It provides only 7 calories per cup of raw leaves, and the daily requirements for vitamin A, C and K. It also contains plenty of vitamin B, potassium and calcium. Because of the high amounts of antioxidants that kale contains, it’s really beneficial for the health of the cardiovascular system, mainly the heart. One study also reported that kale is beneficial for people with high cholesterol, with people that drank 150 mililiters of kale juice per day for 12 weeks got a 10% decrease in bad fat, and a 27% increase in good fat. Another study has shown that kale juice reduces blood cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.
6. Green Peas
Peas are a very starchy vegetable, with up to 134 calories provided per cooked cup (160 grams). That means that it has a good amount of carbs, and it may impact blood sugar levels when eaten in large amounts. But even with this problem, they are still very nutritious. One cup of cooked green peas has 9 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, vitamins A, C and K, and some B vitamins.Because they are a good source of protein, many vegetarians and vegans use it to boost their daily protein intake. And with the fibers that it has, it also promotes good bacteria in your gut, and a healthy digestive tract.
7. Brussel Sprouts
Brussel Sprouts are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which contains health-promoting compounds, just like Broccoli does. They also contain an antioxidant called Kaempferol that is very powerful at preventing cell damage. An animal study has demonstrated that it protects against free radicals, which contributes to chronic disease. It helps against colorectal cancer, with one study showing that eating brussel sprouts led to an increase of up to 30% in some enzymes that control detoxification. Along with all these benefits, brussel sprouts are also very nutrient dense, containing 87% of your required daily intake of vitamin C, 137% of vitamin K, 12% of vitamin A, and 12% of Folate.
This vegetable is rich in several minerals and vitamins, with just half a cup of it providing a third of your daily folate needs, while also providing quite a bit of Vitamin K and some of the B vitamins. Asparagus also protects your skin from sun damage and helps with weight loss. But that’s not the only thing Asparagus has going for it, because it also helps your liver by protecting it against toxicity and supporting its metabolic functions. And on top of that, it also protects against free radicals as well.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes has antioxidants that help decrease the risk of lung and breast cancer. And yes, it’s the same kind that is found in both Spinach and Carrots, so it’s in good company. A serving of sweet potato also contains a lot of potassium, up to 12% of your daily needs, 10% of the daily requirement of magnesium, and up to 66% of vitamin A. Along with that, a cup of baked sweet potato contains up to 50% of your daily vitamin C needs. One specific type of Sweet Potato, called Caiapo has shown to have an anti-diabetic effect in a study.
10. Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard is very low on calories but high in many minerals and vitamins. One cup of it contains only 7 calories, yet 1 gram of fiber and protein, nearly three times the daily requirement of vitamin K, and 44% of the recommended amount of Vitamin A. Swiss Chard is also really well known for it’s potential to prevent problems caused by diabetes mellitus, with it reversing the effects of the disease in one study by decreasing blood sugar levels and also preventing cell damage.
Onions are packed full of vitamin C and vitamin B6, B9, and potassium. They are also a good source for antioxidants, especially Anthocyanins which are only found in onions. Some of the other ones, like Quercetin, Sulfur-Compounds and Thiosulfinates are also thought to reduce the growth of harmful microorganisms, lower your blood pressure, improve your heart health, and even protect against cancer. One study found that consuming onions may help against osteoporosis, because of its protective effect against bone deterioration, and it may increase bone mass and bone density as well.
Ginger has been historically used as a natural remedy to motion sickness, with several studies confirming later that it significantly reduces nausea compared to just a placebo effect. One of ginger main properties is being anti-inflammatory, which in some studies have shown that it helped patients with osteoarthritis by reducing the pain levels that they experienced on their knees, along with reducing the effects of other symptoms. Ginger can also be helpful against gout or lupus. And not only that, some studies have shown that it can aid in diabetes treatment as well.
Beets are packed with fiber, vitamin B9, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C. This vegetable and its juice also have been associated with a lot of health benefits, including things like improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise capacity. They also contain plant compounds like betanin which is believed to have a lot of health benefits and Inorganic nitrate which helps your blood pressure go down, which in consequence, can help you have increased stamina, boost oxygen use, and lead to better exercise performance.
14. Collard Greens
Collard Greens is a very nutrient vegetable, with one cup (190 grams) of it containing 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 27% of your daily calcium requirements, easily of the best plant sources of calcium available. This means that it also helps to protect your bones against diseases like osteoporosis. But that is not the only disease that it helps against, because a study has shown that it also decreases the risk of glaucoma by 57%. If you consume it frequently, it also helps prevent prostate cancer as well.
15. Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers are a good source of fibers, and contain 169% of your required daily intake of vitamin C, along with also containing vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin K1, Potassium, Folate, vitamin E and vitamin A. It also has shown to be a good vegetable for your heart health, bone health, blood pressure and the formation of blood cells. It’s also rich in antioxidants, specially Capsanthin, which helps to protect you against cancer. Some of the other antioxidants also help prevent blindness and heart disease.