The vegetables that pack the most nutritional punch, talk about super foods!
#15 Sweet Potato
Want a healthier alternative to potatoes? Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and a host of other cancer-fighting compounds. They’re also full of fiber and iron that give you energy and keep your digestive tract healthy.
Plus, they taste a lot better than the Idaho variety. These orange beauties make great home-made potato chips. Slice them thin and roast them in the oven until they are brown. Then dust them with salt and your favorite chip topping. Vinegar offers a particularly nice balance to their rich, sweet flavor.
Popeye knows what he’s talking about. Spinach helps keep your eyes healthy and prevents heart attacks by keeping your arteries clear. A serving a day will keeps you young, healthy and strong enough to fight Bluto.
Don’t love the taste of spinach? Mask it in a smoothie. Spinach has a mild flavor. Pair it with your favorite fruits and vegetables and hit blend. What you’ll have is a fruity morning drink. And while it will look a little green, it will taste like a fruity treat. It’s a great trick to sneak a little green into a diet that’s low on veggies.
It’s hard to beat the nutrient value of a few stalks of broccoli. The antioxidants they contain fight stomach, lung and rectal cancer. High levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C and folate also keep your immune system strong.
Try to eat as much raw broccoli as you can. The florets are great with a little Ranch dressing.
Cooked broccoli is also good. It pairs well with any protein from tofu to turkey. Or have it on it’s own. Boiled broccoli covered in cheese sauce is delicious. And it’s a great way to introduce a new vegetable to a little one.
Tomatoes are little red cancer-fighting machines. It’s thanks to their high levels of lycopenes. Plus, they have lots of vitamins which lower blood pressure and reduce free radicals.
Raw tomatoes make a great addition to any salad or sandwich. But any variety of tomato is good for you. Add them to soups or stews to round out the flavor. Pasta sauce, home-made ketchup and any other unprocessed tomato product is great for you too. With so many varieties to enjoy, it’s easy to add at least one serving a day to your diet.
#11 Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are little nutrient powerhouses that are great for pregnant women. Each sprout is packed with folic acid and vitamin B that prevents neural birth defects. And everyone can benefit from their high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids.
The key to cooking brussels sprouts is to avoid turning them to mush. Try roasting them in the oven. The high heat caramelizes the sugar in these little veggies. The result is a sweet crunch that’s hard to resist. For added flavor, toss them with olive oil and garlic powder. You’ll find it hard to stick to just one serving.
Carrots are good for much more than just your eyes. These tubers are high in lots of important antioxidants and vitamins. Together, they make hair healthier, and protect your cardiovascular system from damage.
Most of us like to munch on carrots raw with a bit of dip. But they’re great roasted too. Slice them french-fry thin. The pop them in the oven until the edges turn brown. With a little salt they make a great snack. And they’re much better for you than the potato alternative.
#9 Swiss Chard
Swiss chard offers a staggering amount of health benefits. Just one cooked cup has 1/5 of your daily recommended dosage of iron and over 1/3 of your vitamin C. we haven’t even gotten to the fiber, protein, calcium, folic acid, and potassium you’ll find inside.
Swiss chard is a great spinach alternative. And you’ll get the most of its nutrient punch after you cook it.
Wash and slice it just like you’d handle spinach. Then sautee it in a pan. Experiment with adventurous pairings to bring out Swiss chard’s salty, bitter flavor.
Squash is full of vitamin C, beta-carotene and a host of other minerals that keep you healthy. Plus, these gourds have anti-inflammatory properties which help relieve the symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Bright colored vegetables always have a lot to offer.
The best way to eat squash is to roast it. The high heat caramelizes the sugar inside. The result is sweet, aromatic, and delicious. Squash works best as a side. It’s a great alternative to other carb-heavy options. Just slice it, roast it, and get ready to feel better.
Rapini is similar to broccoli, but it has a lot more flavor. It’s more nutritious too. Rapini his high in phytochemicals which fight of cancer.
But this nutrition powerhouse doesn’t stop there. One 3-oz. serving has over half of your daily recommended dose of vitamins A and C. There’s plenty of fiber and calcium to keep you strong. And let’s not forget the folate which protects against birth defects and heart disease.
But what’s the best way to eat it? Blanch it and sautee it in olive oil with a little crushed garlic.
Eggplant may just be the best vegetable for your brain. It’s rich in antioxidants like nasunin which protect brain cells from damage that can cause memory loss. Add heart-healthy, stroke-risk reducing nutrients like fiber and potassium and you’ve got one purple powerhouse of a vegetable.
For a healthy snack, slice long strips of eggplant and roast them. The crunchy results are a great replacement for fries. Dip them in salsa that’s heavy on the garlic. It makes a great snack. Plus, it has none of the eggplant mush that some people aren’t crazy about.
#5 Bell Peppers
Simply eating a bell pepper every day can lower your risk of developing a host of life-threatening diseases. Lung, colon, bladder and pancreatic cancer are all less likely outcomes for regular bell pepper eaters. And in the meantime, they’ll keep your heart healthy with high levels of lycopene and folic acid.
Those are a lot of great reasons to enjoy the flavorful crunch of a bell pepper. And these veggies are endlessly versatile. Dip red ones in chocolate for a deliciously spicy desert.
Add color to a salad with red, orange, green and yellow pepper chunks. Or, roast red peppers and pair them with goat cheese for a delicious sandwich topping.
Onions may hold the key to battling osteoporosis. Scientists have discovered a peptide inside them that helps you retain calcium. They also fight heart disease and diabetes thanks to their high levels of vitamin C and folate.
Who knew the humble onion was such a super food? Now you don’t have to feel quite as guilty for demolishing that tower of onion rings.
For a healthier choice, chop them up and add them to a salad. Or if sandwiches are your thing, add a few slices on top for a little crunch. Like cooked onion better? They’re great stir fried.
The fats in avocados get a bad rap. Ironically, they’re the part of avocados that are best for you. An avocado a day will lower your risk of heart disease. Plus you’ll get a ton of vitamin E, fiber, folate, potassium and magnesium.
For lunch, have a little home-made guacamole with your tortilla chips. Or, spread avocado on your sandwich in place of mayo. It’ll add a sweet, smooth texture that the white stuff just doesn’t have.
Or, slice avocados thin, coat them in Panko bread crumbs and pan fry them. They make a delicious french fry-like treat that’s great as a side.
#2 Bok Choy
Bok Choy tastes sort of like cabbage and spinach had a baby. And it’s nearly more nutritious than the two combined. A half cup of this delicious vegetable has 144 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A and 74 percent of vitamin C. Bok Choy is also full of calcium, magnesium, potassium and folate.
That same half cup also has just 20 calories, so you can eat as much as you’d like. Steam them for sweet crunch flavor that’s great with garlic and ginger.
They’re also great in stir fry and pair well with any protein. You can even chop bok choy and eat it raw in a salad to add a little sweet crunch to your mix.
Kale is known as “the queen of greens”. It came by that title honestly. These leaves are low in calories, high in fiber and pack more vitamins, antioxidants and minerals per square inch than nearly any other vegetable.
Want a crunchy treat? Try kale chips. Wash and chop the leaves. Then spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast them until they’re crisp and just starting to brown at the edges.
The result is surprisingly delicious. The chips have a flaky crunch that melts in your mouth. For added flavor, dust them with salt or a powdered popcorn topping.