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Nine Essential Vegetables

May30th 2020

Two weeks ago, we shared with you the first half of the list of essential vegetables to be added to our everyday food choices to boost the immune system and improve our overall well being. Here are the final 9 vegetables:

Collard Greens

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

Just one cup of collard greens provides a third of daily recommended vitamin A and a quarter of daily recommended vitamin C. Collards are a cruciferous vegetable, which means they may also be cancer-protective.

NUTRITION

They’re very nutrient-dense greens

HOW TO EAT THEM

Collard greens are good bun substitutes for burgers. If you want a more flexible leaf, blanch the greens for around 30 seconds before using them (and font forget to cut off the rough stems). Collards are also great sautéed in a bit of butter or oil.

Garlic

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

Antibacterial proper ties from garlic have been linked to a lower risk for certain cancers, like cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus and pancreas. If you add garlic to a recipe toward the end of the cooking process, you may retain even more of its nutrients.

NUTRITION

Garlic is a very low-calorie food but also one of the most flavorful. Use it to spice up otherwise dull dishes.

HOW TO EAT IT

There’s hardly any dish that couldn’t benefit from a little fresh garlic. The bulb’s smell and flavor come from its sulfur compounds, which offer health benefits like lower inflammation. For disease prevention, some people also swear by swallowing a clove whole, once a day.

Mustard Greens

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

Mustard greens are in the same family as cabbage, broccoli and radishes and contain many of the same compounds that make those foods nutritious. Mustard seeds have long been used in Chinese medicine to ward off instructions.

NUTRITION

Mustard greens are high in vitamin K. Some compounds in the greens are also being studied for cancer prevention.

HOW TO EAT IT

Mustard greens, like many other leafy greens (including kale and collards), ad extra nutrition to salads and sandwiches. They’re also sturdy enough to toss into soups.

Pumpkin

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

Eating pumpkin is good for your vision- just one cup has nearly 200% of the recommended amount of vitamin A per day. Pumpkin is also very low in calories but high in fiber, which makes it a dieter’s friend.

NUTRITION

The antioxidant beta-carotene in pumpkin thought to have anti-cancer effects.

HOW TO EAT IT

Step away from the pumpkin-flavored lattes. There are other ways to eat pumpkin, like in chili or a hummus.

Radishes

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU:

Radishes are a diet-friendly vegetable thanks to their high-water content and fiber. They also contain glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that can reduce risk for cancer. The vitamin C in radishes may also prevent cellular damage and helps the body absorb nutrients like iron.

NUTRITION:

Radishes can soothe digestion and relieve bloating. And, like other spicy and slightly pungent foods, radishes contain compounds that are being studied for disease prevention and reversal.

HOW TO EAT IT:

Radishes add the right amount of crunch to salads. They can also be substitutes for crackers as a vehicle for hummus.

Romaine Lettuce

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

This lettuce may not be as dark green as its leafy peers, but its still full of nutrients like potassium and fiber. One serving has more vitamin A than you need in a day, and it contains antioxidants that may help prevent colon or liver cancer.

NUTRITION

Romaine lettuce is a good source of folate, which prevents birth defects and encourages healthy cell divisions.

HOW TO EAT IT

This lettuce is having a comeback. Often dismissed as a nutrient-free, watery green its now being embraced as an ideal base for any salad. It also tastes great mixed with spicier greens, like arugula.

Seaweed

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

Seaweed is very low in calories and contains a good amount of protein. It is also high in iodine, which can be hard to find naturally in food. Iodine is important for thyroid health and hormone regulation, and one sheet of seaweed- depending on the variety- can contain far more than the recommended daily amount of the nutrient.

NUTRITION

Even though it’s a low-calorie food, seaweed has nutrients that can keep appetite in check.

HOW TO EAT IT

A popular ingredient in many Asian dishes, seaweed can be eaten in many forms- as a dried snack or seaweed salad. Some seaweeds, such as kombu, can also be added to broth.

Spinach

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

Spinach is full of plant membranes called thylakoids that increase fullness and lower cravings for sweet foods, according to a 2015 Swedish study. Its also high in zinc, fiber, thiamine, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and vitamins A, C, E, K and B6.

NUTRITION

If you boil your spinach, you’ll lose three quarters of its nutrient content. Its better to eat it raw or flash-sautéed.

*Raw spinach contains oxalic acid, which can interfere with absorption of essential nutrients such as calcium and iron.

HOW TO EAT IT

Spinach is an obvious choice for a healthy salad, but it also adds a lot of nutrition to smoothies- fresh or frozen- without overpowering the other ingredients, including fruits.

Sweet Potato

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU

Sweet potatoes are especially high in vitamin A, which is a vision-supportive nutrient. Unlike some other carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index scale, which means they don’t wreak havoc on blood-sugar and insulin levels.

NUTRITION

Sweet potatoes contain glutathione, an antioxidant that can improve immunity.

HOW TO EAT IT

Make a healthier version of fries at home with sweet potatoes sliced into spears and tossed with a small amount of salt and olive or coconut oil. They’re also tasty tossed with paprika, cumin and garlic.

Next week we will conclude the list of delicious fruits to satisfy our sweet tooth. 

Happy and healthy eating!  

The Editors of Time. Time 100 Healthiest Foods to Satisfy Your Hunger. Time Inc., 2017.