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What are the Top 5 Healthiest Vegetables?
You likely heard it from your mom first: always eat your vegetables! It’s the standard healthy eating tip. According to the USDA, adults should be eating anywhere between five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Eating more vegetables reduces the risk for a multitude of health issues and illnesses including heart disease, cancer and stroke. To put it simply, more vegetables in the diet leads to a longer life. Most vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. But which ones should you start out with? There’s so many vegetables out there with the label of “Super Food”, it could be hard to figure out. So, while you’re getting some of your fruit fix with our bars, slide down the veggie aisle with us. Here’s the five healthiest vegetables you can add to your plate!
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
Pass over the iceberg lettuce and get yourself some spinach! Almost all dark leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants and vitamins, but spinach is one of the best. It’s great for skin, hair and bone health. Looks like Popeye had the right idea! One cup of raw spinach contains only 7 calories, most of which is from protein and carbs. Spinach is also high in fiber and vitamins A and K.
It has several health benefits that make it an excellent choice to heap on your plate. Spinach is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress accelerates aging and therefore increases the risk of cancer and diabetes. Anything rich in antioxidants can combat this, making spinach a great choice. It has also shown to improve eye health and moderates blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure is essential in decreasing heart disease risk.
Next time you’re thinking about adding some dark leafy greens, grab some spinach. It can be eaten raw or cooked and can be used in tons of different recipes. That means you’ll have no choose but to add it into your diet.
It’s known as one of the most important super foods you can eat. Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family which also includes Brussels sprouts and kale, among others. Broccoli has tons of nutrients and is low calorie. One serving of these little green trees amounts to 31 calories and it’s fat free. This veggie can help with digestion, cardiovascular health, and cancer prevention. It’s also another great source of antioxidants! Studies have shown it can help prevent chronic diseases, as well as improve skin and bone health.
While it’s a super healthy veggie, broccoli is not well known for being a popular dinner option. However, that might mean you haven’t found the right recipe for yourself yet. Broccoli, much like any other vegetable, is incredibly versatile. It can be sauteed, roasted or even eaten raw. Find your favorite recipe and get cooking.
Another vegetable that’s high in nutrients and low in calories. Much like broccoli, asparagus can help improve the digestive track and a good source of antioxidants. It’s high in fiber which helps with weight loss goals. With so much fiber, it’s another one of those foods that keep you feeling full for longer. One specialty it has all its own is that asparagus helps maintain urinary tract health. It’s also great for a brain boost. Studies have shown that it can help prevent cognitive decline. That’s because it is a source of folate, which helps maintain cognitive function.
When you use it in your cooking, you’ll want to keep as much of its antioxidants as possible. Roast, grill, or stir-fry your asparagus for the best healthy cooking methods. There are tons of ways to make them and they go especially well as a side dish for any proteins.
Another incredibly antioxidant rich veggie, Brussels sprouts are a type of cabbage. They’re usually the least favorite veggie of children everywhere, but there’s plenty of reasons to add a serving to your plate. Brussels sprouts are nutrient dense and high in vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clots and bone health. They’re also high in fiber which helps keep you full and maintains gut health.
Some studies have shown that they help fight cancer. This is because, like all the cruciferous vegetables, they help protect from DNA damage and inactivate carcinogens. Brussels sprouts are also helpful in preventing diabetes. They reduce the hyperglycemic effect and therefore maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Studies found that they even have anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce the risk of many different illnesses and diseases.
Brussels sprouts are another great vegetable to add to your diet and is incredibly versatile. They can be baked, roasted, sauteed, or boiled. Simply baking Brussels sprouts with a little olive oil and a touch of salt makes for a healthy side dish.
This root vegetable is another antioxidant rich food. It’s so healthy it has been linked to the longevity of the Okinawan’s in Japan. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals and high in fiber, which make them great for gut health. They’re also really good for your eye sight because they contain beta-carotene, the antioxidant responsible for their orange color. Beta-carotene isn’t only beneficial for your eyesight. It metabolizes into Vitamin A in our bodies which boosts the immune system.
These large, starchy, sweet vegetables are a great way to take care of any sweet tooth. Cooking sweet potatoes releases maltose which is less sweet than table sugar. It provides the subtle sweetness to them and can be increased or decreased depending on the cooking method. Best of all, they don’t raise the blood sugar, which makes them good for diabetics.
Sweet potatoes are very versatile and can be baked, fried or turned into chips much like their distantly related white potatoes. That makes them easy to add to your plate and reap the benefits.
Adding more veggies to your diet is the perfect way to make healthier choices. When you’re trying to lose weight, you want to increase the whole foods in your diet. That is especially true of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables are low carb ways to make you feel full for longer. Once you start adding these veggies to your meals, you’ll want to explore even more. Make a great mixed green salad or experiment with Brussels sprouts. Chop up a sweet potato with some eggs and make a hash. If you aren’t a fan of some vegetables, there’s always a recipe that will change your mind. Adding them to your diet is the first step in the right direction. We think you’ll enjoy at least one of these awesome veggies and soon enough you’ll be loading up on every single super food you can find.