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10 of the Healthiest Vegetables You Should Know About

healthiest vegetablesVegetables are an important part to losing weight and staying healthy. There are so many vegetables and some are healthier than others. So, which are 10 of the healthiest vegetables you should know about?

Before we go there, let’s go back in time a little bit. “Eat your vegetables.” You probably heard this statement since early childhood, and for good reason. Research suggests that diets rich in vegetables reduce the risk of cancer and other illnesses. Most vegetables are also low in calories and provide a lot of volume, which is great for weight loss. A lot of volume makes you feel full and you won’t be hungry, and since they are all low in calories you won’t gain weight either.

If that were only true with chocolate as well! But kidding aside, vegetables are a great tool to lose weight. Unfortunately most of us have had bad experiences with vegetables. In most restaurants, if you order the healthy choice and get meat or fish with steamed vegetables, those vegetables are usually overcooked and completely tasteless (some of them may even be prepared from frozen vegetables!). What a horrible eating experience. Eating healthy seems painful. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The key to good tasting vegetables is to put the same care, thought and attention to them that you would towards cooking meat or fish. An overcooked steak or fish would be dry, hard and not a good eating experience. The same is true for vegetables.

The key to enjoying vegetables is all in the recipe and proper execution. With the right recipe and execution, vegetables can taste great, so much so that you will actually look forward to eating vegetables.

Below is a list of 10 of the healthiest vegetables, along with simple recipes that will hopefully make eating these veggies more enjoyable. These veggies are all nutrient-dense and low-carb, which all contribute to effective weight loss.

Healthiest Vegetables #1 Kale

healthiest vegetables kaleKale is truly a super food, with its rich vitamins, antioxidants and even healthy fats. Kale is super-rich in vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Its antioxidants can help protect especially against prostate and colon cancers, while helping boost your immune system. Kale even contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that your body needs.

Kale also has ant-inflammatory abilities that help with inflammatory diseases like arthritis and auto-immune diseases.

Easy kale recipe for your next meal

Sauteed kale

Ingredients

  • Kale: 1 large bunch kale, thick ribs removed and leaves roughly chopped (about 14 cups)
  • Garlic: 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Onion: 1 medium onion, diced into small pieces
  • Coconut oil: 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • Other: Water & Salt

Instructions

  • Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to skillet and put on medium heat.
  • Add and stir the diced onion until light brown.
  • Add and stir the minced garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped kale, ¼ cup water, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • Cook and toss the kale until the kale is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Tip: There is a lot of flavor in the brown bits at the bottom of the skillet. If the water is already gone, add a little bit, and scrub the bottom of the skillet with a spatula.

Healthiest Vegetables #2 Spinach

healthiest vegetables spinachSpinach packs a nutritional punch that you don’t want to miss out on. Spinach is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and magnesium.

Folate helps with maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, and magnesium is beneficial for your blood pressure, helping prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Studies have shown that spinach also helps with your brain function and memory.

Easy spinach recipe for your next meal

Spinach omelet

Ingredients

  • Eggs: 2 eggs
  • Spinach: 1 cup baby spinach, washed
  • Coconut oil: 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)

Instructions

  • In a bowl beat the eggs. The eggs will be fluffier if you beat them vigorously. This incorporates more air into the eggs.
  • Add a tablespoon of oil to skillet and put on medium heat.
  • Add and stir the spinach for a minute. It will shrink considerably, and that is ok.
  • Add the beaten eggs and cook until partially set.
  • Flip with a spatula, and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Fold one half of the omelet onto the other.

Tip: The trick for a good omelet is to beat the eggs vigorously to incorporate more air, and to use medium heat when you cook the omelet.

Healthiest Vegetables #3 Broccoli

Healthiest Vegetables broccoliBroccoli is one of the healthiest cruciferous vegetables you can eat.

Did you know that broccoli has twice as much vitamin C as an orange and almost the same amount of calcium as whole milk?

Broccoli contains a powerful mineral called selenium, which is said to have strong anti-cancer properties.

Easy broccoli recipe for your next meal

Roasted broccoli

Ingredients

  • Broccoli: 2 heads of broccoli with stem
  • Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Garlic: 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Mix olive oil and minced garlic in a small container.
  • Cut each broccoli vertically into 4 large pieces (each piece containing the florets and the stem) and lay them on a baking tray. The cut surface should be facing upwards.
  • Coat the surface of each broccoli piece with the oil and garlic mixture, and sprinkle the surface lightly with salt.
  • Put in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned.
  • Take out of oven and sprinkle with pepper.

Healthiest Vegetables #4 Cauliflower

Healthiest vegetables - cauliflowerCauliflower is another cruciferous vegetable that is high in nutrition and said to have cancer-fighting properties.

In just 1 cup, it delivers 77% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. It also provides a healthy amount of fiber, potassium and folic acid.

Like broccoli, cauliflower may be beneficial in boosting cognitive function, learning ability and memory.

Easy cauliflower recipe for your next meal

Mashed cauliflower

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower: 1 head of cauliflower, cut into several chunks
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt

Instructions

  • Fill a large pot with a steamer basket with just enough water so that the water touches the bottom of the steamer basket.
  • Place cauliflower pieces on the steamer basket, and close the lid.
  • Put pot on high heat and let boil for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is very tender.
  • Drain well, remove the steamer basket, add butter and mash the cauliflower.

Healthiest Vegetables #5 Asparagus

Healthiest vegetables - asparagusAsparagus contains a good balance of nutrients, and is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium and folate.

A 5-oz serving of asparagus contains 60% of the daily recommended amount of folic acid, which among other things is said to help prevent birth defects.

Asparagus can also be used as a natural diuretic to increase urination for a healthy body fluid balance. It may also be effective against urinary tract infections and other conditions of the urinary tract.

Easy asparagus recipe for your next meal

Sauteed asparagus

Ingredients

  • Asparagus: 1 bunch of asparagus
  • Butter: 1 tablespoon butter
  • Olive Oil: 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Garlic: 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Cut off the bottom 1 inch of the asparagus. It is often hard to eat.
  • Put olive oil and butter on a skillet and set heat to medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and the asparagus spears.
  • Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until asparagus is tender.
  • Move to plate, and sprinkle salt and pepper.

Healthiest Vegetables #6 Brussels Sprouts

Healthiest vegetables - Brussels sproutsBrussels sprouts are high in fiber, and are excellent for the digestive tract and lowering the risk of colon cancer.

They are high in folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin K and beta-carotene, and they also contain a cancer-fighting compound called isothiocyanates, which helps to reduce the risk of breast, bladder, lung and prostate cancer.

Easy Brussels sprouts recipe for your next meal

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Ingredients

  • Brussels Sprouts: 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • Olive Oil: 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Cut off stems of Brussels sprouts and peel off outer or bruised leaves.
  • Cut each Brussels sprout into half.
  • Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil.
  • Pour them on a baking pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until brown on the outside.
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper.

Healthiest Vegetables #7 Peppers

Healthiest vegetables - peppersAll peppers, whether green, red, yellow or orange, whether hot or not, are rich in nutrients and antioxidants.

Antioxidants are important as they fight free radicals in your body, which helps to prevent and/or reverse diseases.

All peppers are rich in vitamin A, which helps with your eyesight, and vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system.

Hot peppers, such as jalapenos, contain a compound called capsaicin, which may have even higher antioxidant properties. Capsaicin has also shown to help with weight loss, by curbing appetite and increasing metabolism.

Easy bell pepper recipe for your next meal

Stuffed bell peppers

Ingredients

  • Bell Peppers: 4 large bell peppers, any color
  • Ground lamb or beef: 1 lb of lean ground lamb or beef
  • Onion: 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Tomatoes: 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • Kalamata Olives: 1 jar (8 oz to 10 oz) of pitted kalamata olives, diced
  • Swiss Card: 1 large bunch of swiss chard roughly chopped
  • Olive Oil: 3 table spoons

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Except for the bell peppers mix all the ingredients in a bowl
  • Cut off top of peppers and remove the seeds inside.
  • Stuff the peppers with the mixture.
  • Place on deep baking dish, add 1 cup of water into the baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 90 minutes.

Healthiest Vegetables #8 Beet Greens

Healthiest vegetables - beet greensDid you know that beet greens are even healthier than the beet root?

1 cup of beet greens contains 220% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A.

Beta-carotene in vitamin A is an important antioxidant that fights against free radicals in the body. Beet greens also contain more iron than spinach, along with lots of magnesium, potassium, copper and vitamin B6.

Easy beet root/greens recipe for your next meal

Ingredients

  • Beets with beet green: 2 beets with beet greens
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Garlic: 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Onion: 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • Red Pepper Flakes: ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Lemons: 2 lemons, quartered
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Remove the beet greens from the beet root
  • Rinse the beet root and greens
  • Place beet roots in a baking dish
  • Cover baking dish and bake beet roots for 45-60 minutes until tender
  • Take out of oven, and peel the skin off the beet roots and cut into pieces.
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and heat to medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute.
  • Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet.
  • Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender.
  • Season with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Healthiest Vegetables #9 Celery

Healthiest vegetables - celeryCelery is great source of vitamin C and vitamin K. It is also rich in potassium and sodium. Celery is a diuretic food, which helps to release excess fluid from your body.

Celery also contains a compound called pthalides, that may help lower blood pressure, and another compound called luteolin, which may combat any inflammation in the brain.

Celery is an ideal vegetable for juicing, due to its high water content.

Healthiest Vegetables #10 Tomatoes

Healthiest vegetables - tomatoesTomatoes have a wide range of nutrients, but the most amazing compound in tomatoes is lycopene.

No other fruit or vegetable has as high a concentration of lycopene as tomatoes do. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to have powerful anti-cancerous effects, particularly against prostate cancer. Research suggests lycopene may also dramatically reduce your risk of stroke and osteoporosis.

Tomatoes also contain a good amount of fiber, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

Easy tomato recipe for your next meal

Tomato & egg

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes: 4 medium tomatoes
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Eggs: 5 eggs

Instructions

  • Remove core from each tomato.
  • Slice tomatoes into 1 inch thickness.
  • Add oil to skillet and heat to medium heat.
  • Lay tomato slices onto skillet and fry until the surface is brown.
  • Turn the tomatoes over with spatula and fry the other side until brown.
  • Mash the tomatoes as much as possible with the spatula.
  • Reduce heat to low heat.
  • Add eggs to skillet, and mix eggs up
  • Cook while stirring until eggs are to your desired doneness.

Juicing – Another Way to Get Your Veggies

Healthiest vegetables - juicingOn the other hand, if you really can’t get yourself to eat vegetables, juicing is an excellent way to consume the necessary nutrients contained in vegetables.

As a matter of fact, even if you enjoy eating vegetables, juicing is a good way to ensure that you get every last nutrient contained in vegetables, as cooking destroys some of the nutrients contained in vegetables.

It is also an easy to ensure that you get the daily 3 to 5 vegetables servicing recommended by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

If you never had vegetable juice, it may not seem that attractive initially, but with the right ingredients, vegetables juices can taste really good.