We’ve all seen the movies. Every time a kid was on screen during a meal, they were pushing their broccoli or Brussels sprouts off of their plates – sometimes onto the floor, sometimes into a pet’s mouth. Parents would beg and plead for the kids in the movies to eat their vegetables, and eventually, ours did the same.
According to choosemyplate.gov, the US Agricultural Department’s healthy eating guide, eating vegetables has tons of benefits. Most are low in both fat and calories, have no cholesterol, and have tons of vitamins and minerals that help prevent infection, gum disease, some cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. They can be important sources of potassium, fiber, and folic acid. These nutrients help us maintain healthy blood pressure, keep our cholesterol levels low, and provide neurological support, which can help prevent dementia when you’re old and gray.
Vegetables can also be important sources of potassium, fiber, and folic acid. These nutrients help us maintain healthy blood pressure, keep our cholesterol levels low, and provide neurological support, which can help prevent dementia when you’re old and grey. But only 1 in 10 Americans is eating enough vegetables, and that may be because some people haven’t quite figured out which ones they like yet. While sometimes vegetables can truly be unpleasant, the trick is to find the right recipe for your palate, and this list will help you do just that.
Carrots are not only delicious, but they can help reduce cholesterol, prevent heart attacks, and improve vision. They’re a great source of antioxidant agents and vitamins A, C, K, and B8. They’re high in folate, potassium, iron, and copper, which can improve hair and eye health, relieve stress and anxiety, and enhance your metabolism. Learn more about carrots here.
While ramen itself isn’t so healthy and can be high in sodium, adding just one cup of bok choy can give you 34% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, and more than your recommended amount of vitamin A. Bok choy can help regulate your heartbeat and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Bok choy can also help make sure your bones, teeth included, stay strong. Learn more here.
Kale is extremely high in vitamins A, C, and K. It has 26% of your daily recommended amount of manganese, which is great for bone health. Kale also has more iron per calorie than beef, so it can help with cell growth, liver function, and more. Learn more here.
Cabbage, specifically red cabbage, has high levels of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of white blood cells. Red cabbage also contains retinol, a type of vitamin A that protect the retina and improve eye health. Learn more about red cabbage here.
Brussels sprouts are in the top 20 most nutritious foods rated by their ANDI score, which ranks foods by their nutrients per calorie. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamins A, K, and C, and can help prevent certain types of cancer. Eating them can also decrease your risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. They can also reduce wrinkles and improve the texture of the skin. Learn more here.
While the carrots themselves have amazing health benefits, as outlined under the first recipe, there are also added benefits from using herbs and spices in your veggie recipes. Coriander seeds have properties to aid in digestion and lower cholesterol. They are also awesome sources of iron, copper, calcium, and other essentials. Cinnamon has long been known to treat nausea and muscle spasms, and even prevent Alzheimer’s. Cinnamon can also lower blood sugar and help protect against risk factors associated with diabetes. Cumin aids in digestion but can also help treat asthma, bronchitis, anemia, and the common cold. Lastly, paprika has several properties that will aid in slower aging, cancer prevention, the healing of wounds, and maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.
Spaghetti squash aids in weight loss, with only 42 calories per cup compared to pasta, which can sometimes have up to 200 calories. It also has only 1/4 of the carbs. The antioxidants in spaghetti squash promote cellular function, while the potassium-rich vegetable also helps lower blood pressure and strengthens the walls of blood vessels which improves circulation. Learn more here.
This recipe is perfect because it combines onions, a sulfur food, with chick peas and kidney beans which are packed with protein. Together, these veggies will stimulate amino acids, which are a part of just about every function in the body from protein synthesis to mental stabilization. Onions are high in quercitin, known to thin blood, lower cholesterol, fight asthma, and reduce the risk of blood clots. Between kidney and garbanzo beans, it might be hard to say which are better for you. Garbanzo beans are a better source of vitamins, but kidney beans are lower in calories and fat. Kidney beans are also just slightly higher in protein.
Peas are low in fat but high in protein and fiber, which can aid in maintaining a healthy weight and digestive tract. They can also help prevent stomach cancer, wrinkles, and arthritis. They can help regulate blood sugar by slowing the process of sugar digestion. Peas are great for the environment, as well, needed minimal water and reducing the need for artificial fertilizers because of their natural nitrogen levels. Learn more here.
While most of the ingredients in this smoothie are fruits, it contains a sizable portion of my favorite vegetable- spinach. Spinach is high in folic acid and magnesium, which are both great for your heart. Because it’s a dark, leafy green, spinach is great for your hair and skin, as well as bone health and blood pressure. Learn more here.
Beets are awesome vegetables that can lower your blood pressure in a matter of hours. They can also help boost your stamina, so they’re a great addition to your pre-exercise routine. They fight inflammation and contain anti-cancer properties. Beets are also great for ridding your body of toxins. Learn more here.
Sweet potatoes are awesome becuase they’re so versatile, but also because they’re so good for you. They help ward off cancer, release sugar into the blood slowly so there’s no sugar spike, and are a great source of the anti-stress mineral magnesium. They can also support a healthy immune system, so read more about them here.
Cauliflower can help boost heart and brain health while detoxifying our bodies. It also is great for digestion and fighting against cancer. Broccoli can decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, and can help you maintain a lower weight. Eating the two with carrots can be a great way to make sure you’re reaping all of the benefits of a vegetable-filled diet.
I know, I know- it’s technically a fruit, but it’s also rich in nutrients and tastes great stuffed with quinoa and spinach! Tomatoes have been linked to reductions in the risk of heart disease as well as certain cancers. They can help with depression and stress, are great for your skin, and promote healthy digestive tracts. Learn more here.
You pretty much know all you need to know about the vegetables in this dish, so what are you waiting for to start cooking?