Fresh vegetables are an excellent source of nutrition and an important part of a balanced diet. Not only are vegetables rich in dietary fiber which helps to promote healthy digestion, but they can provide a variety of different vitamins as well. Below you will find a list of the top ten healthiest vegetables as well as information about the nutrients they provide.
Often referred to as a “superfood,” kale is a powerhouse of nutrition. This leafy green vegetable contains nearly 500% of your daily recommended value of vitamin K per cup and over 100% your daily value for vitamin C. Kale is also an excellent source of vitamin A which helps to support healthy growth and development as well as healthy vision and a strong immune system.
Another dark green vegetable, broccoli is incredibly rich in antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Broccoli also contains high levels of vitamin B1, choline, vitamin A and vitamin B6. Vitamin B6, pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps to support the production of red blood cells and the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable closely related to broccoli. This vegetable is incredibly rich in dietary fiber and it is a great source of antioxidants which have been shown to reduce the risk for certain types of cancer. Other vitamins found in Brussels sprouts include vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6 and choline.
Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers have twice the vitamin C content of oranges and they are also rich in other antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E. Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B2 – riboflavin. Riboflavin promotes energy production in the body and it also helps to protect the body against free radical damage.
Another leafy green like kale, spinach is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, iron, and magnesium. Folate, or folic acid, is a B vitamin which helps to support brain and nervous system health – it also plays a role in supporting cardiovascular health. Spinach is very low in calories, with only 23 calories per 100 grams, so it may help to support weight loss as well.
A nightshade vegetable, eggplant is one of the top vegetable sources of antioxidants – it is also incredibly rich in dietary fiber. Eggplant provides high levels of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, potassium, niacin, and folate. Potassium helps to reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke – it also helps to lower your blood pressure.
A single serving of carrots contains about 15% of your daily recommended value for lutein, a type of carotenoid which is essential for healthy vision. Carrots are also very rich in vitamin K, potassium, vitamin E, folate, and manganese. These vegetables also contain the antioxidant beta-carotene which is what gives them their orange color.
Tomatoes are most well-known for their lycopene content but they are also rich in vitamin C, biotin, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate and niacin. Lycopene is a red carotene and carotenoid pigment that not only gives tomatoes their color but provides antioxidant benefits as well. Lycopene may also help to prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Onions and other vegetables belonging to the same family (like leeks, shallots, and garlic) are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants. In order to gain the most benefit from these antioxidants it is best to eat onions raw – heating them reduces the potency of the phytochemicals that can help to reduce your risk for prostate and lung cancer. Onions are also rich in vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and quercetin.
Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin and folate. It is also rich in pantothenic acid, vitamin B5, which helps to promote energy production and the metabolism of fats. Asparagus contains about 100% of your daily recommended value for vitamin K per 1 cup cooked as well as nearly 70% your daily requirement for folate.
The ten vegetables listed above are just a few of the many different vegetables that offer significant health benefits. These vegetables are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals which can help to support your overall health and wellbeing.