If you regularly load up your grocery cart with a variety of veggies, you could be well on your way to a healthier and longer life. But which ones should you reach for? Recent research has shown that dozens of vegetables pack a particularly big nutritional punch. Sneaking them into your daily diet couldn’t be simpler.
Often overshadowed by arugula, this peppery green can knock any dish into nutritional shape. It’s particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and other antioxidants that are good for you. Cooking tip: Watercress can instantly make sandwiches and salads more lively and fresh-tasting. Or blend the greens into pureed soups.
Red bell pepper
You think of it as a veggie, but it’s actually a fruit. One medium pepper delivers B vitamins, beta carotene, and more than twice your daily need for vitamin C.
Cooking tip: For a fanciful main dish, cut the tops off peppers, remove the inner white membranes and seeds, and then roast until tender. Finish by filling with your favourite whole-grain salad.
This green has healthy amounts of vitamins C, A, and K as well as manganese. Working 1.5 cups of green, leafy vegetables into your day may lower your odds of getting type 2 diabetes.
Cooking tip: Sneak spinach into your daily routine by adding it to scrambled eggs and casseroles or blending it into smoothies.
Two main varieties of Swiss chard are found on store shelves: one with multicoloured stems and veins, often called rainbow chard, and another with white stems and veins. Both are great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, an antioxidant duo that’s good for your eyes. At only seven calories a cup, the green giant is waistline-friendly, too. Cooking tip: To preserve its nutritional might, lightly steam chard and toss with vinaigrette. You can also use the leaves instead of tortillas when making soft tacos.
This Southern favorite contains a wealth of nutritional goodness, including notable amounts of vitamins K and C, folate, and beta-carotene. To boost your daily nutrition, aim to eat about 2 cups of dark, leafy greens like collards every day. Two cups of raw greens is equal to 1 cup of vegetables, and 2.5 cups is recommended daily for a 2000-calorie diet. Cooking tip: Quickly blanch the leaves in boiling water, then chop them and add them to whole-grain or lentil salads.
With an earthy-sweet flavour, asparagus is a good way to load up on folate. Research suggests that this B vitamin is an ally in the battle against high blood pressure.
Cooking tip: Shave raw asparagus with a vegetable peeler. You’ll get ribbons that are wonderful in salads.
Broccoli is one of nature’s rock stars. It’s a top source of natural plant chemicals shown to help lower the risk of some cancers (though many other things also affect your cancer risk). Each cup of the florets also gives you plenty of vitamins C and K.