Everyone knows that vegetables are good for them, but that doesn’t mean that they taste good enough to trigger cravings. When left to our own devices, most of us would reach for the chips instead of okra every time. However, the truth is that a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables is crucial for your health and functioning.
The key to changing up your diet and incorporating more vegetables is finding the options you enjoy eating.
If you’re just starting on the path toward better health, Healthy Directions has suggestions to help you find the healthiest vegetables that also taste good to include in your diet.
Why Are Vegetables So Good for You?
Vegetables have a reputation for being incredibly healthy, but why is that exactly? What makes them so different from other foods?
Overall, vegetables are usually very low in calories. If you are trying to eat a low-calorie diet while still feeling full, a diet rich in vegetables can be a significant advantage. In addition, most vegetables are also full of fiber, which can help you stay feeling full for a more extended amount of time.
But what really makes vegetables so healthy is their vitamin and mineral content. While each veggie has its specific strengths, as a whole, they contain more micronutrients than most other foods.
All told, a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables can help in multiple ways — lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke, decreasing the likelihood of digestive issues, and stabilizing your blood pressure.
Ultimately, micronutrients are just as essential as macronutrients like protein and carbohydrates, only in different ways. While macronutrients give your body the energy it needs, micronutrients keep it working at its most optimal level.
Carrots are one of the easiest veggies to add to your diet and one of the most accessible. It earns its place on the healthiest vegetables list by being both delicious on its own and full of vitamins and nutrients.
Specifically, carrots are packed full of vitamin A. A single cup of carrots can give you more than 400% of the recommended daily amount you need to keep your immune system healthy and your eyesight sharp. In addition, carrots are also full of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that not only gives them their vibrant color but also may help prevent cancer.
Carrots also have plenty of vitamin C, K, and potassium. Eat them raw with a healthy, greek yogurt-based dressing as a healthy snack, or add them to a summer salad alongside tomatoes, cauliflower, and powerhouse fruits.
Although sweet potatoes are a root vegetable, they pack more of a punch than most other vegetables in this category. Like carrots, sweet potatoes are full of beta carotene. However, they have a few unique characteristics that set them apart from the other healthiest vegetables we’ll discuss in this article.
Sweet potatoes are impressive because, in addition to being delicious, they also provide you with some of the essential macronutrients that are part of a well-balanced diet.
A single medium-sized sweet potato contains 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, helping you aid digestion and meet your weight loss goals without adding additional fat or sugar.
Certain types of sweet potatoes, like the Caiapo, can help people with Type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar more effectively.
While kale isn’t all that delicious on its own, it is one of the easiest vegetables to incorporate into the diet due to its adaptability. Kale is incredibly nutrient-dense, and just a single cup of raw kale fulfills the daily recommended intake of vitamins A, C, and K.
In addition, kale is full of multiple B-complex vitamins and potassium, calcium, and copper. Combine kale or other leafy greens with a quick homemade vinaigrette, some orange or grapefruit segments, and a handful of walnuts for a salad full of vitamin C, healthy fats, and a wide array of other micronutrients.
If kale isn’t your thing, spinach can provide many vitamins and minerals with a slightly less crunchy texture. One cup of spinach is half the daily recommendation of vitamin A and all of your vitamin K while only containing seven calories.
Spinach is even more versatile than kale, and it is just as delicious raw as it is cooked. However, be aware that there is some nutrient loss when you cook vegetables, so it won’t be as healthy cooked as it is in its raw state.
Spinach is also a great addition to a healthy smoothie. On its own, it doesn’t have a strong taste, so you can easily add a handful to your favorite fruits, some yogurt, and a scoop of protein powder for an easy meal.
The final addition to our list of the healthiest vegetables out there is the humble brussel sprout.
Brussel sprouts are incredibly nutrient-dense, offering many vitamins, including vitamins A, C, K, folate, manganese, and potassium. They also have a specific antioxidant, known as kaempferol, that has shown promise in helping to fight free radicals to help prevent chronic disease and detoxify the body.
Brussel sprouts can be eaten raw, boiled, or roasted. Pair them with a healthy, low-fat protein source for a full, well-balanced meal that you won’t feel guilty about the next day.
The healthiest vegetables are the ones that you like enough to eat regularly. The good news is that there are plenty of options to help you keep the vitamins and minerals you need without adding unnecessary calories to your diet.
When you focus on eating whole, fresh foods and cutting back on processed ones, you can naturally revamp your health and wellness and start living a much happier, healthier life.
Healthy Directions has all of the healthy guidance you need, brought to you by leading nutritional experts that you can rely on. We’re here to answer all of your health questions and help you build a routine that can help you reach your goals.
Vegetables and Fruits | Harvard Health
Beating High Blood Pressure with Food | Harvard Health
Efficacy of Ipomoea batatas (Caiapo) on diabetes control in type 2 diabetic subjects treated with diet | PubMed
Effects of brussels sprouts and their phytochemical components on oxidative stress-induced neuronal damages in PC12 cells and ICR mice | PubMed