What are the healthiest vegetables

Most people are familiar with the phrase “eat your vegetables” —and it’s good advice for many reasons. Yet, fewer than 10% of people get the 2 ½ to 3 ½ cups of vegetables needed daily to optimize their health. That’s a big miss because, of all the foods we eat, vegetables should take the prime place on our plates.

If you’re deciding which vegetables to add to your weekly lineup, check out our list of healthiest vegetables, along with some of their research-backed benefits.

What is the healthiest vegetable?

Spinach takes the top prize as the healthiest vegetable because of its range of nutrients and benefits.

Spinach contains numerous types of antioxidants saloncandnailspa.com that guard against cancer, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. One antioxidant abundant in spinach supports eye health and may protect against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. Spinach is also loaded with other essential vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin A, K, and C.

One study found that compared to eating hardly any leafy greens like spinach, those eating just over a cup a day had the equivalent cognitive abilities of people 11 years younger.

Top 7 healthiest vegetables

There is no doubt that spinach has a lot going for it, but including a range of vegetables in your diet is the most beneficial. This strategy helps you get the plant diversity you need to optimize your gut health while also helping you meet the recommended amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and get the broadest range of nutrients.

Take note that there are two types of vegetables: starchy and non-starchy. While both types include beneficial nutrients, starchy vegetables count as the carbohydrate portion of your plate. It’s a good rule of thumb to eat twice the amount of non-starchy vegetables compared to starchy foods, including starchy veggies.

Collard greens

Like other leafy greens, collard greens have antioxidants that reduce cell-damaging oxidative stress — a phenomenon that contributes to a range of chronic issues. They’re also packed with other nutrients, including 25% of your daily requirement for calcium.

Kale

Kale belongs to the same vegetable family as broccoli, cauliflower, and other cruciferous veggies. Research suggests that consuming higher amounts of these veggies may help prevent atherosclerosis, —hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup — which raises your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Broccoli

This cruciferous veggie is loaded with cancer-fighting compounds. In particular, the sulforaphane in broccoli has been shown to help prevent prostate, breast, colon, skin, bladder and oral cancers.

Among its many other nutrients, broccoli is high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that plays a role in skin health, iron absorption and immune functioning.

Sweet potatoes

The orange color of sweet potatoes tells you they’re rich in beta-carotene, a nutrient with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beta-carotene has been shown to protect against sun damage and other environmental skin stressors, so it could potentially lower your risk of skin cancer and keep your skin looking younger.

You’ll also get 4 grams of fiber and several other nutrients, including vitamin A and small amounts of magnesium, vitamin C, folate and calcium from a small sweet potato.

Carrots

In addition to supporting skin and eye health, carrots may help you manage your weight better than other veggies, according to a study that found lower rates of obesity among people with high carrot intake compared to those eating lots of spinach, broccoli, other green veggies and cabbage.

Researchers speculate that carrots’ high beta-carotene content, which has also been associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers and insulin resistance, may contribute to this benefit.

Tomatoes

While tomatoes are technically a fruit, we eat them as vegetables, so we included them on our list of healthiest vegetables. Here’s why: Loading up on tomatoes, which are rich in the substance lycopene, may protect against cancer and reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.

Another study found that an antioxidant mixture including tomato carotenoids led to a reversal of wrinkles and improved skin tone while protecting skin from the sun’s harmful UVB rays. (However, sunscreen is still necessary.)

Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers have the highest amount of vitamin C of all the peppers — more than 1 ½ times the daily value for this nutrient. One study found that vitamin C deficiency was associated with higher rates of depression and cognitive impairment. Another study revealed that those with adequate vitamin C status performed better on numerous cognitive tasks, including those involved in focus, working memory and decision speed.

Vitamin C also supports skin health and immune functioning and is protective against cancer, heart disease and other conditions via its role in fighting free radicals.

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