Vegetables are healthy, because they usually contain a lot of vitamins, minerals and fiber compared to few calories. Some vegetables stand out from the rest with additional proven health benefits. We have listed the fifteen healthiest vegetables for you.
1. SPINACH (24 KCAL/100 G)
Spinach is a green leafy vegetable and a great source of calcium, vitamins, iron and antioxidants. Research suggests that spinach leaves may lower blood pressure and benefit heart health.
One cup (30 grams) of raw spinach provides 56% of your daily vitamin A requirement plus your full daily vitamin K requirement. And all that for just 7 calories.
2. BROCCOLI (20 KCAL/100 G)
Broccoli is a very healthy vegetable that belongs to the same family as cabbage, kale and cauliflower. Those are all cruciferous vegetables.
Each cup of chopped and cooked broccoli contains about 31 calories, the full daily requirement of vitamin K and twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a substance that can prevent the growth of cancer. Eating broccoli may also help reduce the risk of chronic disease by protecting against oxidative stress.
3. CARROTS (43 KCAL/100 G)
Carrots are especially high in beta-carotene, which can be converted in the body to vitamin A. Vitamin A is vital for healthy vision, and getting enough of this nutrient can help prevent vision loss. It is therefore not a myth that carrots are good for your eyes.
Carrots are also high in vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.
Certain nutrients in carrots may also have cancer-fighting properties.
4. PEAS (81 KCAL/100 G)
Peas are a sweet, starchy vegetable, containing more calories than other vegetables (134 kcal per cup cooked). Still, peas are incredibly nutritious. One cup (160 grams) of cooked green peas contains 9 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein and vitamins A, C and K, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and folate. The large amount of fiber supports digestion.
Peas also contain plant compounds called saponins, which may have cancer-fighting effects.
5. BRUSSELS SPROUTS (53 KCAL/100 G)
Like broccoli, Brussels sprouts belong to the cruciferous vegetable family and contain the same health-promoting plant compounds. Brussels sprouts also contain an antioxidant called kaempferol, which can protect against oxidative damage to cells and prevent chronic disease.
6. KALE (41 KCAL/100 G)
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that provides about 7 calories per cup of raw leaves and good amounts of vitamins A, C and K, B vitamins, potassium, calcium and copper.
Studies show that drinking kale juice can lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.
7. SWEET POTATOES (105 KCAL/100 G)
Sweet potatoes are root vegetables. Baked in the skin, a medium sweet potato provides 103 calories, far more than an adult’s daily requirement of vitamin A, 25% of vitamin C and B6, 12% of potassium, and beta-carotene, which promotes health of the eyes and help fight cancer.
Sweet potatoes can be a good option for people with diabetes. This is because they have a low glycemic index and are high in fiber, so they can help regulate blood sugar levels.
In this article you can read about the advantages sweet potatoes offer compared to ‘regular’ potatoes.
8. GINGER (69 KCAL/100 G)
Ginger root is used as a spice. Studies show that ginger can reduce nausea and relieve inflammation. Ginger supplements can also help lower blood sugar.
9. CAULIFLOWER (20 KCAL/100 G)
One cup of chopped cauliflower contains 27 calories, lots of vitamin C, vitamin K and lots of fiber.
Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables also contain an antioxidant called indole-3-carbinol. Research has linked this compound to cancer-fighting effects in animals.
10. RED CABBAGE (28 KCAL/100 G)
Red cabbage belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables and, like its relatives, is packed with antioxidants and health-promoting properties. One cup (89 grams) of raw red cabbage contains 2 grams of fiber and 85% of the daily vitamin C requirement.
11. ASPARAGUS (16 KCAL/100 G)
This spring vegetable is rich in various vitamins and minerals. Asparagus is especially high in folic acid, which can help prevent neural tube birth defects during pregnancy.
Test-tube studies have also shown that asparagus may support liver function and reduce the risk of toxicity.
12. TOMATOES (12 KCAL/100 G)
Although tomatoes are technically a fruit, most people treat them as vegetables and use them in savory dishes. Each cup of chopped, raw tomatoes has 32 calories, 427 mg of potassium and 24.7 mg of vitamin C.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Research suggests that lycopene may help prevent prostate cancer, and the beta-carotene in tomatoes also helps fight cancer.
Meanwhile, other powerful antioxidants in tomatoes, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, may protect eyesight.
13. GARLIC (14 KCAL/CLOVE)
Garlic is a plant of the garlic family. Onions and chives also belong to this family and, like garlic, are bulbous plants.
Garlic is very nutritious and low in calories. It contains, among other things, vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese. In addition, garlic can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and can help with healthy cholesterol levels.
14. SWISS CHARD (24 KCAL/100 G)
Swiss chard contains few calories and at the same time many essential vitamins and minerals. One cup (36 grams) has only 7 calories yet 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of protein and lots of vitamins A, C and K, manganese and magnesium.
Some animal studies show that Swiss chard may protect against the negative effects of diabetes and lower blood sugar levels.
15. PEPPERS (28-48G/100G)
Paprika is a fruit vegetable that comes in all kinds of colors and shapes. There are orange, yellow, red and green peppers and pointed peppers.
Peppers are known for being high in vitamin C; red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as green bell peppers. Peppers are also a good source of the mineral potassium. This helps to keep your heart and blood vessels in good condition.
Peppers are also rich in antioxidants, which helps protect against oxidative stress.
If you can’t get certain vitamins and minerals from your diet for a while, taking a multivitamin can be a supplement to your diet. Nevertheless, fresh foods often contain many more substances that contribute to good health, and certain nutrients and vitamins can also reinforce each other.