Which are the most healthy vegetables?

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.

What are the best vegetables?

All the vegetables that are in the market are healthy, since their habitual consumption presents health benefits. In addition, vegetables provide nutrients that do not have other foods. For example, few foods have as much folic acid (vitamin B9) as green leaves, and it is almost impossible to take the recommended daily dose of this vitamin without eating vegetables.

salad with avocado
It is convenient that the salads are rich and varied. The more color, the more properties

Among all the possibilities, below we give you some very simple and useful tips to choose those vegetables richer in antioxidants and with more health benefits and consume them properly so that they do not lose or preserve their properties.

What are the vegetables that have the most properties?

Within the world of vegetables, there are some that are more nutritious and healthy than others. The criteria for assessing the best vegetables start from the following points:

  • Vegetables that have a high concentration of nutrients. For example, there are green leaves that multiply by three and by four the vitamin A content of the classic iceberg lettuce.
  • Vegetables richer in antioxidants: Only vegetables can provide us with certain antioxidants, which are almost not found in products of animal origin, such as beta-carotene, quercetin, resveratrol or rutin.
  • Vegetables that contain active ingredients beneficial for health, components that do not contain other vegetables and whose habitual consumption helps to prevent certain diseases such as cancer.

The great importance of eating vegetables

most healthy vegetables
All vegetables are healthy but there are some vegetables you should eat more frequently because they have more healthy properties.

Some people think that the recommendation to eat vegetables is only due to some antiquated method to lose weight, because they are foods that satisfy and have few calories. Nothing is further from reality. You should eat a good vegetable dish or salad at every meal because the vegetable is like a medicine.

beetroot beet
It is false that beets can not be consumed in people with diabetes (their glycemic load is low and they do not have much sugar) (more information)

Eating a lot of vegetables is a scientifically proven nutritional treatment that works very well to improve diabetes, prevent obesity, improve circulation, take care of bone health, and reduce the risk of suffering from these and many other diseases.

Consume those vegetables that have more color and flavor

Within the vegetable option, choose those that have more color and flavor because they have the most phytochemicals.

For example,  rocket is  more nutritious than a white iceberg lettuce. Besides, its  green leaves add a little spicy flavor against a rather insipid  iceberg lettuce, which is practically only water and fiber. Rocket  has fiber, and in addition, many beta carotenes, chlorophyll, and provides glucosinolates (spicy flavor), with antioxidant properties.

In vegetables:
⇧ color + ⇧ taste = ⇧ healthy

Eat cruciferous vegetables every week

Cruciferous vegetables are very rich in antioxidants and components that protect our health

Cruciferous vegetables are those of the cabbage family. It has been shown that its habitual consumption has many benefits, among which are the protection against certain types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer.

In addition, they are also one of the best sources of vitamin K, which has a great importance on bone health – probably as much as calcium. And ,since calcium is mentioned,  a broccoli dish provides more calcium than a glass of milk, because the calcium in these vegetables is more bioavailable.

Examples of cruciferous: watercress, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, red cabbage, radish, turnip … It is interesting to cook them steamed or al dente (do not boil them too long because they lose much of their vitamins).

Enhance the consumption of carrots

Few foods are as affordable, versatile, nutritious and healthy as carrots. These vegetables stand out on a nutritional level because they are rich in fiber, they also contain many antioxidants and, above all, an enormous amount of vitamin A.

Only 2 carrots contain 100% of vitamin A that we need per day. For this reason, many professionals give the advice to eat at least two carrots each day in people with compromised health.

How is it better to eat carrot?

Carrots are very rich in antioxidants and one of the best sources of vitamin A in the diet

Carrots retain their vitamin A both raw and cooked, so they can be eaten in a salad or in a cream. They are also good for the intestine, for the eyes, they have antioxidants, … It is the star food to eat between hours or at any time of the day .

In case of diabetes,  it is recommended to replace potatoes by carrots or combine both, to eat less potato and more carrot. Although potatoes are not harmful for diabetes, it is better to replace them by carrots, because carrots do not have so much starch and, above all, because,nutritionally,  carrots are  very light and complete.

It is better to eat broccoli with carrots and potatoes, than just broccoli with potatoes. Sweet potato is also an appropriate food for diabetes, it shares its antioxidant content, and it can also be eaten in diabetes.

Onion, the basis of a healthy kitchen

Onion is another star ingredient in any healthy kitchen. Onion is the richest food in quercetin that exists, a powerful antioxidant.

Eating onions is a very easy way to ingest  sulfur principles for health: antioxidants, for circulation, to lower cholesterol and to improve the intestinal flora.

Many use  onion as an aromatic herb, in stir-fry  (which are a form of extracting their excellent active ingredients), but you can also add raw onions in salads.

vegetables better healthier ranking vitamins
Lamina of the best vegetables that can be eaten and those that have more properties. All the vegetables are healthy.

Beet, very antioxidant

Beetroot or beet is a very healthy vegetable, although many people do not consume it because they mistakenly believe that it has a very high sugar content. First of all, it is false that beets contain a lot of sugar or that they are bad for diabetes.

In addition, the daily consumption of beets helps to reduce the levels of high bad cholesterol, cleans arteries, reduces hypertension and provides betaine and nitric oxide, two components that improve cardiovascular health.

Spinach: large amount of vitamin A, folic acid and chlorophyll

spinach salad
Spinach is very nutritious. Spinach salad with walnuts, zucchini, avocado and onion.

Spinach is also an excellent and affordable vegetable almost everywhere in the world. Its intense green color already indicates the presence of much chlorophyll in this food. It is also one of the foods richest in beta carotene (it contains as much beta carotene or more than carrots!), Although it is not visible to the naked eye because chlorophyll camouflages the color of the pigment.

Some people have decreased or stopped consuming spinach because of its oxalate content: It’s a mistake! Spinach has many more benefits than the possible contraindications of oxalates.  The only thing to take into account  is  oxalates have to be reduced in very specific diets.

Tomatoes and tomato sauce, source of lycopene

Tomatoes (and their sauce) are one of the most important sources that exist of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects the heart.

It has been observed that tomato sauce allows a greater absorption of lycopene than raw tomato … do you know why? Because lycopene is a fat-soluble component and is best assimilated in a stir-fry or with a little oil (you do not have to fry the tomato or bathe it in oil).

Wild edible plants, potent source of nutrition

Nettles Soup
Soup of nettles, which are wild plants very rich in fiber, vitamin A, folic acid, potassium, calcium and magnesium

Wild edible plants are very nutritious vegetables that also provide us with the benefits of contact with nature, essential to get these foods.

So that the reader  to   understands a bit the advantages of wild plants over cultivated ones, we will say that wild ones, when growing in a natural environment, have less water and more phytochemicals and antioxidants than those cultivated, which provides wild vegetates  a higher nutritional value, Not to mention the added benefits of contact with the sun when collecting them. Of course, they have to be collected with caution.

Nor is it necessary for them to be always wild: we can easily get some plants from our garden such as nettle, dandelion  or calendula, as examples.

How can you eat your vegetables?

There are no rules or limits for eating vegetables. You can eat vegetable dishes and add vegetables in all possible recipes:  spinach omelette, grated carrot salad with lemon, mixed salad, nettle soup, add beetroot or beets to salads, baked artichokes, salad of wild plants, vegetable pie, etc.

Vegetable creams are highly recommended. These should be light: poached onion with little oil + add vegetables + water until covered, boiled and crushed. Avoid adding light cheeses, very fatty cheeses, cream, or similar fatty products.

In case of diabetes or obesity, it is better not to add potato, or just a  little. Instead, you can use pumpkin or carrot, which are also very rich. You can flavor soups with seeds, nutritional yeast, some cheese shavings, etc.

Avoid bathing vegetables and salads in oil

Oil spoonful
Decreasing the oil removes many calories to the diet

Although virgin olive oil is very healthy, excessive seasoning has more harm than good. Oil is liquid gold, because of its properties, but we must not forget  that it contains 100% fat, which must be processed by the liver and pancreas.

Eating  a little less oil is to give a break to these organs and help decongest the liver. Using less oil is also the easiest way to decrease many calories from the diet.

An alternative may be to make vinaigrettes by mixing the oil with other ingredients, or use guacamole sauce instead of oil (guacamole has less fat than oil), or add avocado or seeds instead of always seasoning with oil.

punto rojo More information on vegetables

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

22 April, 2019

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.