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The 10 Healthiest Vegetables
Learn the Health Benefits of these Beneficial Vegetables

If you want to improve your health, then we all know that eating more vegetables and fruit is the way to go. But, while all vegetables have some health benefits, some are even better for you than others. When you learn which vegetables are the most healthy, you can add them into your daily diet and reap the rewards to your health. You’ll feel better in so many ways. From improvements in your skin, and hair, to having extra energy and even feeling happier. Vegetables can boost your body inside and out, and are also highly beneficial to your state of mind too. Want to discover what are the healthiest vegetables? Then read on...

1 Spinach Spinach is really versatile and it’s packed full of essential nutrients. Raw spinach leaves are perfect in a salad or added to a sandwich. Cook spinach and it reduces right down, so you’re getting an awful lot of goodness in each mouthful. Add a few handfuls of spinach leaves to dishes such as curry, stew or pasta dishes. It really is one of the healthiest green vegetables you can eat.

Spinach is very high in vitamin A. Just one cup of spinach will give you 56% of your daily requirements of vitamin A, so just two cups of spinach gives you all the vitamin A you need for the whole day. It’s also very low in calories. That single cup of spinach is just 7 calories in total, so if you’re watching your weight, you really don’t have to worry about spinach, you can eat as much of it as you like without gaining weight. In fact, spinach is pretty filling, so you’re likely to lose weight when you add spinach into your daily diet. If you suffer from high blood pressure, spinach will be especially beneficial to you as it can help to lower your blood pressure.

Spinach is high in antioxidants, so it can really help to clear your body of toxins, boosting your immune system and keeping those bugs and viruses at bay. It can also protect you from some more serious illnesses too as the antioxidants in spinach have been linked to a lowered risk of some forms of cancer.
2 Kale Many of us don’t get enough vitamins and minerals in our diet. By eating kale you can begin to readdress the balance. Kale is high in copper, potassium, calcium, B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. That’s a lot of goodness in one vegetable! Kale has been proven to lower blood pressure, lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood stream, that’s the ‘bad cholesterol’, and it also lowers your blood sugar levels. Also, it is rich in antioxidants and so eating kale regularly will have lots of health benefits.

Kale is also packed full of iron which your body needs for proper cell growth and additionally, it can help to keep your liver healthy. We’ve mentioned that kale contains vitamin K, and this vital vitamin is thought to improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The vitamin A in kale can help to improve the condition of your skin, giving you a healthier, more even complexion, and it can also improve your vision. Kale really does have a lot of health benefits!
3 Ginger Ginger has been used all around the world for its health giving properties for many centuries. It can really help combat sickness and nausea, so it is valuable to anyone suffering from morning sickness, or for sickness caused by cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. It is also believed that ginger can help ease muscle pain after exercise so this could be worth a try if you exercise regularly. Ginger is very easy to add to dishes, especially if you buy it in powdered form. While you may think of ginger as an ingredient of sweet dishes, it’s also great in a curry or stir fry. You really can add ginger to so many dishes.

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory so it can help with joint pain, alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, gout and lupus and aid in the prevention of osteoarthritis. There has also been some research into the effects of ginger on diabetes patients. In some cases it seemed to be rather effective at reducing blood sugar levels, however, these studies are still in their infancy and further research needs to be done before we come to any solid conclusions in this area. However, there are so many other great benefits of eating ginger that you certainly should add it into your diet. Some people are not keen on the taste of ginger, but if you add it into a dish with plenty of other strong tasting spices, it will be less noticeable.
4 Broccoli Broccoli can actually help to protect your body against cancer. This is due to the fact that it contains sulforaphane which has been shown to protect against cancer, and experiments on mice have even shown it to reduce the size and amount of breast cancer cells. It’s also great for your heart, reducing dangerous oxidative stress. One cup of broccoli gives you your entire daily recommended requirements of both vitamin C and vitamin K. You may find this surprising regarding vitamin C, and tend to reach for oranges for a vitamin C boost, but broccoli is actually very high in vitamin C, without the calories of oranges, so it’s a better option for anyone who is watching their calorie intake. Broccoli is also a good source of potassium, manganese and folate.

Additionally, broccoli is a decent source of soluble fiber. This fiber can bind with bile acids in your digestive system, and aid with the removal of cholesterol from your body. If you suffer from allergies, then you definitely need to eat more broccoli as it can actually help to reduce allergic reactions due to the inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids it contains.

Broccoli is quick and easy to cook, just boil it or steam it. It works perfectly alongside a roast dinner, but works well with many other dishes too. You can add it to a healthy and nutritious vegetable stir fry, or simply nibble on it raw as a healthy snack to help you curb cravings for junk food.
5 Green Peas Peas go with anything don’t they? You can throw a handful into a bowl of soup, you can serve them up with a meat dish and they go perfectly with fish. Peas taste so good, you almost forget they’re actually good for you! They are not as low in calories as many other vegetables, but it’s worth the extra calories for the health benefits you can get from peas, and we all need a treat now and again don’t we?

Peas have a high fiber content so they’re really good for keeping your digestive system in good health. Eat peas and you’ll also get all the benefits of extra vitamins A, C and K, along with folate, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. What’s more, peas contain a plant compound called saponins which have been shown to help fight cancer. So serve up a portion of peas, one of the healthiest green vegetables next time you’re preparing a meal.
6 Carrots Cooked carrots are delicious, but carrots are also one of the healthiest raw vegetables you can eat. They are so great to snack on, just slice them up into sticks and you can graze on them when you’re feeling hungry throughout the day. Or serve them up at a dinner party with some healthy dips. Carrots are great for juicing too, a tall glass of carrot and orange juice every morning will certainly set you up for the day!

While it may be a myth that eating carrots will help you to see in the dark, as with most myths, there is a speck of truth in it. Carrots are very rich in vitamin A and that’s very good for protecting and improving your eyesight. Our sight can degenerate as we age, so eating carrots becomes even more important the older we get. The antioxidant beta-carotene that is present in carrots is thought to have some cancer prevention properties.
7 Swiss Chard Another of the healthiest vegetables to eat is Swiss chard. Swiss chard is so pretty to look at, with its stems all different colors, but it’s also really good for you too! When you eat Swiss chard you’ll benefit from the magnesium, iron and potassium it contains. It’s also a great source of fiber and it’s full of vitamins too such as K, A and C.

However, do be aware that Swiss chard does contain oxalates, so if you tend to suffer from kidney stones, you really should steer clear of this vegetable and get your nutrients from some of the other items on our list of healthiest vegetables.

What’s so great about Swiss chard is that it’s also a good source of calcium. If you’re avoiding cheese because it’s high in fat and high in calories, or if you’re a vegan, then eating Swiss chard is a great way to get that calcium your body needs to make sure your bones and teeth are strong and healthy. Due to the high content of vitamin K and potassium, Swiss chard could also help your cognitive abilities. If you’re studying for exams, an extra portion of Swiss chard could really help your concentration levels!
8 Brussels Sprouts While they may not be the most glamorous of vegetables, Brussels sprouts are some of the most healthiest vegetables. When you eat Brussels sprouts, you’re taking in a generous helping of an antioxidant called kaempferol which is known to be very good at protecting your cells from damage. If you’re detoxing, then Brussels sprouts are also very beneficial. A sprout smoothie may not sound too good, but it’s a quick and easy way to get the benefits of sprouts if you don’t really like the taste too much.

If your memories of Brussels sprouts are of them being overcooked and soggy, then do give them another chance. Lightly cooked they retain a crunch, and the strong cabbage like flavor is lessened. It really is worth developing a taste for Brussels sprouts. When you eat sprouts you’re benefiting from a decent amount of vitamins K, A and C as well as manganese, folate and potassium. They’re good for alleviating constipation and it’s thought that the vitamin K content can be beneficial for preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
9 Garlic Garlic may keep away the vampires, but it also brings lots of health benefits too! This is a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, in ancient Egypt and China. Garlic is particularly good for keeping your heart healthy. This is mainly due to the fact that garlic contains an important health giving compound known as allicin.

Garlic is also great for getting rid of the common cold. Studies show that cold symptoms can be reduced quite dramatically if you eat garlic, and not only that, if you eat garlic on a regular basis, you’ll be less likely to catch a cold in the first place. So just by adding garlic into your diet you could be cutting down on those sick days!

Garlic can be used in so many recipes. Just about any savoury recipe can have a little crushed garlic added to it. Or why not make your own garlic butter to serve up on warm bread alongside your meal? It’s one of the healthiest vegetables to eat and it’s one of the most versatile too.
10 Asparagus Asparagus is such a tasty vegetable and the great thing is, it’s also one of the healthiest vegetables to eat! When asparagus is in season make sure you get to the shops and pick some up. You can steam it, lightly boil it, or roast it. It’s lovely roasted, sprinkled with a little orange juice. You’ll get loads of health benefits when you eat asparagus as it’s really full of vitamins and minerals. Eating asparagus gives you plenty of vitamins K, E, C, A and B6. You’ll also get a good dose of minerals such as iron, copper and calcium. That’s not all, asparagus is also a great source of protein, folate and fiber!

Asparagus is great if you’re trying to lose weight as the fiber it contains will help you to feel fuller for longer. If you eat asparagus for lunch you’re less likely to snack between lunch and your evening meal. Have asparagus as a starter, and you’re likely to eat a smaller portion of your main dish. Asparagus contains an important amino acid called aspragine. This is a natural diuretic and it really helps to get rid of excess salt and fluids from your body. This can prevent you from developing urinary tract infections.

Increase your vegetable intake for a healthier life

So now you know that if you eat lots of veggies, you’re doing the best you can for your health. Vegetables are low in calories, so they’re great for dieters, they’re low in fat and they’re full of fiber so they’ll keep you feeling full.

Easy ways to get more vegetables in your meals

Sometimes eating vegetables can seem like hard work. For one thing, they can go off quickly. You buy them with good intentions, then you forget about them and suddenly there’s a bad smell in the fridge. Oops! The vegetables have gone off. You’re not getting any nutrients or other health giving benefits by throwing vegetables in the bin, and of course it’s a waste of money too. Additionally, vegetables may seem a little time consuming to prepare. Many of us have very busy lives and don’t have a lot of time to spend preparing vegetables. However, there are no excuses as you can easily get around all these problems.

If you’re short of time, or tend to waste vegetables, then canned and frozen vegetables are the way to go. Many people shun frozen and canned vegetables, presuming that they simply don’t have the same nutrient content as fresh produce, but this just isn’t the case. You’ll still get plenty of goodness from canned or frozen vegetables and they best thing is, they last a very long time. Stock up your cupboards and freezer with a variety of vegetables and you’ll always have something ready to heat up and have as a tasty and healthy side dish. Bags of frozen mixed vegetables are very useful. You can simply use what you need, then return them to the freezer ready for next time. They’re great as a side dish, but you can also throw a few handfuls into many dishes you cook. From chilli to stew, from curry to shepherds pie, they’ll all benefit from some added vegetables. Pick some of the suggestions from our list of healthiest vegetables and try to eat several portions every day.

Encouraging kids to eat their vegetables

We all know that kids can be fussy eaters, and unfortunately it seems to be the healthiest green vegetables that they are most inclined to turn their noses up at. A diet rich in vegetables is so important for the healthy development of a growing child, and if they become accustomed to eating vegetables at an early stage of their life, you’re giving them a good habit for life that will ensure their good health right into adulthood. They can then pass on this habit to their own children in the future. But how do you get a child to eat vegetables?

Get them involved in growing their own

Children tend to love getting dirty in the garden, and so growing vegetables is a great hobby that you can share with your kids. Many vegetables can be grown easily in pots, you don’t need a huge garden. You can share the excitement as the first shoots start to poke out of the soil, then when it comes to harvest time, the kids will be much more likely to try food they have grown themselves.

Cook together

The same concept applies to cooking. You can chop the healthiest raw vegetables together to eat as snacks, and get them involved in the preparation process. Let them eat a little of the healthiest vegetables as you cook. If you make it sound like a bit of raw veg is a treat, they’re likely to see it as such.

Hide the veggies!

If all else fails, you really do need to get those vegetables into your children or their health could suffer. Hiding vegetables in meals is actually pretty easy. Liquidised carrots and green beans, for example, can be easily stirred into ground beef dishes. Another good trick is to make your mashed potato with half potato and half cauliflower, you simply can’t tell that the cauliflower is in there. You’re adding in lots of nutrients, and it’s lower in calories too.

How much fruit and vegetables should you eat?

There probably isn’t such a thing as eating too many vegetables, but there certainly are problems when you don’t get enough fruit and vegetables in your diet. So how do you know if you’re eating enough vegetables? The World Health Organization suggests that we should eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. However, these guidelines were put down over 25 years ago, and nowadays, in a world with more toxins and higher stress levels, it may be better to eat a couple more portions per day.

What constitutes a portion of fruit or vegetables?

A glass of fruit juice is one portion. So that’s a great way to get a head start on your quota with a glass of juice for breakfast. However, you can’t simply drink five glasses of juice and declare your job done. You need a variety of different fruits and vegetables for it to count, and you can only count juice once per day, regardless of how much you drink. A portion is around 80g, so use this as a guideline. When it comes to salad, a portion is actually quite a large bowl full, so make sure when you’re having salad, to have plenty of it.

Some foods to beware of

Adding extra fruit and vegetables into your diet is great, but you can fall foul of some problems if you don’t read labels carefully. Tinned fruit can be good for you, and it’s a very quick and easy dessert to prepare, however, be sure to choose fruit canned with natural juice or spring water. Tinned fruit in syrup is packed full of extra sugar and isn’t very good for you. A lovely fresh salad is delicious, especially in the summer months, but watch out for the dressings. Many store bought salad dressings are packed full of fat and calories and you can quickly turn a healthy meal into a very unhealthy one simply with a splash or two of dressing. Healthy dressings are available in the stores, but do read the labels carefully. Even those advertised as being a lighter option might still not be all that good for you. The best option is to make your own salad dressing. When you’re eating the most healthiest vegetables, there’s no point ruining them with a bad dressing. When you make your own salad dressing, you’ll know exactly what is going into it.

Choose organic for the most natural vegetables

While vegetables themselves are incredibly healthy, the way in which they are grown could affect just how good they are for you. If your vegetables are treated with pesticides and fungicides, you could be putting some nasty substances into your body, while you’re trying to get healthier! The best way to avoid this is to choose organic produce. These days eating organic has become very popular, so you should be able to find a wide range of organic fruit and vegetables in most stores. It may cost a little extra, but the price of eating organic has come down over recent years as more people purchase these types of foods and demand has increased.

It’s also important to wash your fruit and vegetables. If you’re going to peel and boil your vegetables, then you don’t have as much to worry about, but when it comes to food you’re going to eat just as it is, such as fresh fruit or a bag of salad leaves, it is really important to carefully wash it before you eat it. Many of us don’t even think about this, but it really is the best thing you can do. A salad spinner is a good purchase to get your salad leaves dry quickly.