Which vegetables are the best for you?

Vegetables are an integral part of a normal daily diet. Even health agencies emphasize on including vegetables as a part of our diet because of numerous health benefits. The nutrients in vegetables are important to maintain the health of the body and also help reduce the risk of heart ailments, stroke, cancer and Type II diabetes.

Certain vegetables have high fiber content, that helps maintain bowel and digestive health. In addition, vegetables are a rich source of minerals, magnesium, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

This article explains some of the vegetables that are best for your health and the benefits associated with four main categories of vegetables.

Root vegetables

Beets, carrot and sweet potatoes fall under the category of root vegetables. Such vegetables have been an important ingredient in folk medicine for more than 5000 years and have supported lesser nourished populations worldwide.

Root vegetables are rich in  vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber, a combination of which helps fight dangerous conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and arthritis and cardiovascular disorders.

All root vegetables are naturally gluten-free and are a rich source of complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and other important nutrients, making them the most preferred way of adding natural sweetness to the daily diet.

Some other common examples of root vegetables include Russet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, butternut and winter squash.

Pod vegetables

These are vegetables with edible pods. Green beans, wax beans, runner beans, mange-tout and peas are some examples of pod vegetables. Pod vegetables are rich in nutrients such vitamin A, vitamin K and dietary fiber and low in calories.

In addition, these are cholesterol free and contain low fat, thus helping in weight management. They can be eaten as a snack or can be combined with other vegetables to increase the nutritional value of the diet.

Stem vegetables

There are several stem vegetables with aerial and underground stems (bulbs, tuber and corm). Asparagus, garlic, potato, onions, spring onions, garlic and lotus root are common examples of stem vegetables.

Tubers are particularly rich in non-toxic starch that helps reduce the risk of metabolic disorders. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are particularly nutritious and tend to keep people full for longer duration of time, thus helping with weight loss.

On the other hand, stem bulbs such as onion and garlic are thought to possess certain compounds with medicinal qualities. While phytochemicals contained in onions help produce healthy reactions in the human body that reduce risk of heart attack, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. Garlic can help fight hypertension, cold, flu and bone loss.

Leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are extremely low in calories and help manage weight. Low fat and high folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium content reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases.

In addition, leafy vegetables such as  spinach, collard, turnip greens, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, cabbage are rich sources of phytochemicals such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene.

People with Type II diabetes should have green leafy vegetables every day as it has high magnesium levels and low glycemic index. High amounts of vitamin K found in leafy vegetables are essential for improving bone health.

Seven Most Healthy Vegetables

Out of all the categories combined, the seven most healthy and nutritious vegetables include: