Five Powerful Vegetables You Should Be Eating
Fruit and vegetables are essential to a well-balanced diet. In fact, their daily consumption can prevent metabolic diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, on average, 1.7 million lives could be saved each year if people increased their consumption of these types of food.
This is why dietary recommendations around the world emphasize increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables as a strategy for disease prevention and health maintenance. Also, it’s a way to obtain essential micro and macronutrients.
So what are the healthiest vegetables?
Continue reading to find out.
Powerful vegetables are packed with phytochemicals
Vegetables stand out for having a wide range of active compounds that have many health benefits. These substances are commonly known as “phytochemicals,” but they’re also known as “phytonutrients” or “nutraceuticals.”
There are different groups of phytochemicals and, in turn, within each group, there’s a huge variety of substances that have anti-inflammatory effects. Likewise, these are responsible for providing the characteristic colors of every food item.
The families of the main phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory properties are:
- Carotenoids, like lycopene and beta-carotene
- Phenolic compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and flavones
- Sulfur compounds such as allicin and luteolin
What are the most powerful vegetables?
Various studies have proven the role of these substances in the prevention of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and various types of cancer. Among the healthiest vegetables, which have a high concentration of these substances, the ones we’re about to discuss below stand out.
Tomato is a source of lycopene (it’s part of the group of carotenoids). It’s responsible for the red and orange color of some fruits and vegetables.
Also, this is one of the basic food items and quite healthy due to tomatoes’ low calories and fat content. Furthermore, they also are a high source of fiber, protein, vitamins A, C, and E, and potassium.
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This vegetable contains phytochemicals such as luteolin, luteolin glycosides, and flavanols.
However, it’s the onions with a dark color and with a more pronounced flavor that have the highest anti-inflammatory activity. Also, they can help prevent the appearance of chronic diseases.
Broccoli stands out for its high content of sulfur compounds. Luteolin is the main one and serves as a mediator of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory processes associated with aging.
Some studies suggest it can exert gastric protective effects, even in low concentrations.
This is a great vegetable from a nutritional point of view. This is because it’s an important source of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s also considered one of the vegetables with the highest content of dietary fiber.
You may not know it, but the orange color of carrots is due to the presence of carotenes, which include beta-carotene, a natural pigment the body transforms into pro-vitamin A. It promotes vision health and helps the formation and maintenance of teeth, bones, and mucous membranes, and keeps the skin healthy.
Read also What are the Benefits of Carrots?
Garlic has sulfur components, such as allicin, which have important antibiotic functions. In fact, studies suggest it can help prevent the growth of pathogens that cause infection.
However, you must consider that this compound is only formed after mincing, crushing, or chewing garlic.
Some final notes on powerful vegetables
Vegetables stand out due to their contribution of nutrients and active substances. In this respect, you should ideally incorporate the ones mentioned above to a healthy diet with other wholesome foods.
Also, to prevent diseases and maintain well-being, it’s essential to consume a proper amount of water, lead an active life, and limit your consumption of industrially processed food and alcohol.