We all know vegetables are healthy, but which are the healthiest to include in your daily diet?
“All vegetables offer health-promoting properties and disease-reducing compounds,” Lon Ben-Asher MS, RD, LD/N, registered dietitian at Pritikin Longevity Center, told realsimple.com. “However, some vegetables are more nutrient dense and functional than others, and I encourage people to include [αυτά] in their daily diet.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines recommend eating about 2 to 3 cups of colorful vegetables a day, and you can optimize that vegetable intake by choosing vegetables with the best nutrients. That is, vegetables that are packed with nutritional compounds such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients. “These promote our health and prevent disease,” says Ben-Asher. Fiber- and water-rich vegetables can also help us feel full longer.
9 healthy vegetables you should eat every day
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat! “Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane, which is known to fight cancer,” says Ben-Asher. “It’s also a great source of vitamin C, which is important for our immune system, and potassium, which has been linked to promoting cardiovascular health and lowering blood pressure.”
“Cauliflower contains compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which have also been linked to fighting cancer,” says Ben-Asher. It’s also an excellent source of folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. Try roasted, grilled or made into cauliflower rice – a popular grain substitute.
“Brussels sprouts contain a compound called kaempferol, which is also associated with anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties,” Ben-Asher says. “It is known to support cardiovascular, intestinal and metabolic health and is an excellent source of folate, vitamins C and K, potassium and magnesium.” Brussels sprouts are excellent in salads or simply roasted in the oven.
Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables, including spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, should be part of your regular diet. “These contain compounds that have been shown to reduce cancer risk and are an excellent source of lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, which support cardiovascular and eye health,” notes Ben-Asher. Try adding leafy greens to a smoothie to make them easier to consume, or stir a handful into stir fries, sauces, pastas or rice dishes for an extra boost.
Beans, lentils and peas
“These are high-protein, plant-based sources without the saturated fat and dietary cholesterol found in most animal-based protein foods,” Ben-Asher says. “They’re also a great source of potassium, which promotes cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure, and they’re high in soluble fiber, which promotes cholesterol-lowering and metabolic health by gelling in the gut. This slows glucose digestion, improving blood sugar control, as well as digestive health by promoting more beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome. »
“Sweet potatoes contain all of the natural sugars, making them a great alternative to high-sugar foods with added sugars,” says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, Registered Nutritionist and Recipe Developer at Cheerful Choices. “A medium sweet potato provides about 115 calories and 4 grams of blood sugar-balancing fiber. Sweet potatoes are packed with beneficial nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese. Additionally, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure Choose whole sweet potatoes over processed potatoes or french fries.
“Fresh mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse packed with immune-supporting nutrients like vitamin D, selenium, zinc, copper, and B vitamins,” says Burgess. “For example, just four cremini mushrooms provide 44% of your recommended dietary intake for copper and 38% for selenium – two nutrients that help prevent cell damage and keep our immune systems healthy.
Mushrooms are also the only food in the fruit and vegetable sector that contains vitamin D. Just one serving of mushrooms exposed to UV rays can be an excellent source of vitamin D, which is very useful since more than 40% of the population in need.
Meat, eggs and dairy products are the “main sources” of nutrients
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