The Healthiest Vegetables to Eat

Vegetables are a healthy diet necessity – vegetables packed with nutrients, including essential vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants, among others. What’s less often mentioned, though, is that some vegetables have more health benefits than others. These health food stars stand out among their produce siblings, packing a truly potent punch and ensuring those who want to be healthy get more bang for their buck.

So, what are the healthiest vegetables to eat? Below, we’ll answer that question by outlining five of the most potent vegetables and why you should be eating them.

A General Guideline

The darker and richer the color of the vegetable the more nutrition they provide. So, dark greens, purples, oranges, reds are more nutritious than white and light-colored varieties.

#1 – Carrots

You’ve probably heard that carrots can help with eyesight, and that’s true! This is because they have high concentrations of the chemicals lutein and lycopene.

They’re also replete with vitamin A, which contributes to healthy eyesight too. A single cup of carrots will give you more than four times the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A.

Carrots get their orange coloration from beta-carotene, an important antioxidant. Antioxidants are involved in reducing the number of free radicals in a person’s bloodstream. Too many free radicals result in oxidative stress, which has been linked to various types of cancer. One study showed that carrots reduced the risk of prostate cancer in participants, while another indicated that it may help prevent lung cancer.

As a side note, baby carrots are great at replacing other foods you might be tempted to binge on, such as chips or candy, so they can also help your health through building better habits! Besides eating them raw, you can also use them in soups or casseroles and, of course, salads.

# 2 – Spinach

Spinach could be considered super food, its no coincidence that Popeye was always eating it when he needed a boost of energy.

What makes it so healthy? For one, it contains a lot of antioxidants, especially beta-carotene and lutein, which help protect the body from a wide range of diseases.

Spinach also has the perfect combination of ingredients for promoting bone health – some of these include vitamin K, calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium.

It’s also great for heart health: vitamin C in spinach can help thicken arterial walls, which reduces the risk of a heart attack. The nitrates contained in spinach help fight off heart disease and stroke, too, by replenishing your body’s level of nitric oxide.

#3 – Kale

Kale not only makes an excellet salad, Kale is loaded with vitamin K, which is important mostly for bone health and proper blood clotting but also a plethora of other functions. With just a single cup of kale, you’ll get 10 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin K, so look no further to boost your body’s reserves of this essential mineral.

Kale also helps bring your body’s levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol into balance. HDL, the “good” cholesterol, is raised by eating kale, while LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, is lowered.

Aside from antioxidants like vitamin A and C – which kale is packed with, by the way – kale has chemicals which may help stave off cancer. One of these powerful caner fighters is sulforaphane, which has been demonstrated to inhibit cancer’s growth.

Adding kale to your diet is a great way to “make up for” nutrients that may otherwise be missing from your diet. Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are all included in this leafy green vegetable.

Another benefit of kale is that it’s particularly versatile: it can be used in sandwiches, salads, and soups, or even used to make healthful smoothies. “Kale smoothie” may sound gross, but give it a try! You’ll be surprised by how tasty they can be, especially when combined with fruits like blueberries.

#4 – Asparagus

Asparagus makes a great side dish and soup to accompnany almost any meal, and it’s especially tasty when sauteed or roasted.

This leafy green is packed with folate, also known as vitamin B9. Folate is believed to help lower high blood pressure. Asparagus also contains a healthy dose of potassium – around 12 % of the daily recommended amount per cup – which is another essential ingredient in the fight against high blood pressure.

Asparagus is also high in antioxidants, which help ward off cancer and reduce chronic inflammation. Flavonoids, a type of plant chemical which has antioxidant properties, can be found in this green vegetable, too.

The flavonoids contained in asparagus not only reduce inflammation but have been shown to have antiviral properties and help lower blood pressure.

Overall, asparagus contains a variety of ingredients that, taken together, make it an astonishingly healthy vegetable.

#5 – Lentils

Lentils are a type of legume that works great as a stand-alone side dish or in soups or salads. They pack a wide variety of health benefits into a small, tasty package.

Lentils are high in protein, making them an excellent choice for everyone but especially vegetarians. Being high in fiber, they’re also an excellent option for improving overall digestive health.

They’re a good source of magnesium – 1 cup of lentils contains about one-fifth of the daily recommended amount. Magnesium is especially great at helping reduce high levels of stress and helping people fall asleep at night.

Conclusion

Overall, these vegetables are some of the healthiest there are, in many cases, meeting or exceeding your recommended daily requirements for certain nutrients. Add them into your diet at least a few times a week or, even better, once per day. A single serving of at least one of these vegetables each day can put you on the road to better bodily health. Depending on your personal nutritional needs, you may benefit more from one or the other.

Happy eating!