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Seven of the Healthiest Veggies you Should be Eating!

April 25, 2013

When chosen wisely, food can do much more than just calm your growling tummy. It can help repair and restore your body, boost vital body processes such as your metabolism and immune function, and offer protection against chronic disease and acute illness.

As you plan your meals, each food, each ingredient on your list can act as your personal shield against disease, your very own elixir for good health and wellness. The following seven vegetables can be easily incorporated into your meals and they tout some hefty health benefits as well!

Kale

  • One of the world's top sources of vitamin A, promoting eye and skin health and has been shown to help strengthen the immune system
  • Great source of fiber
  • One cup has almost as much vitamin C as an orange
  • Sneak kale into soups and pastas, or add some to your berry smoothie. Also, Check out the Top 10 Ways to Prepare Kale. 

Eggplant

  • 1 cup has almost as much fiber as a slice of whole wheat bread with fewer calories
  • Nasunin — an antioxidant in the skin, can prevent against heart disease and cancer
  • Eggplant “chips”— slice into thin rounds, brush w/ olive oil, sprinkle w/ salt, bake at 400°F for 20 minutes
  • Grilled — cut into thin slices, cook until golden and tender, check out some of these creative eggplant recipes for the family.

Cauliflower

  • Glucosinolates — plant chemicals shown to lower the risk of certain types of cancer
  • Excellent source of folate
  • Women who eat it regularly may have lower risk for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Steam and puree in food processor and sprinkle with favorite seasonings for faux mashed potatoes
  • Chop into small florets, toss with olive oil, Madras curry powder and a pinch of salt, bake at 475°F for 18 minutes or until browned and crisp tender, or make cauliflower rice as a rice substitute for any recipe! 

Brussels Sprouts

  • Flavonoids — antioxidants; have been shown to reduce risk of heart disease and cancer
  • 1 cup has as much vitamin C as an orange and contains 5 grams of protein
  • Good source of folate and magnesium
  • Slice raw and toss with vinaigrette, nuts and a little of your favorite cheese
  • Cut in half, toss with olive oil and garlic powder, roast at 400°F until brown (about 20 minutes)

Swiss Chard

  • Excellent source of vitamin A, C, K
  • Plant chemicals that fight macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Antioxidants that help prevent heart disease
  • Sauté chopped chard in a skillet with olive oil and lemon juice until leaves are slightly wilted
  • Julienne the leaves and stir into stews, sauces, soups

Mushrooms

  • One of the few plant foods with vitamin D, they make it when exposed to sunlight, some growers treat them with UV light, can contain up to a whole day’s work of vitamin D
  • Chop and sauté, mix in with ground beef to lighten burgers, casseroles, meatloaf, add to pasta sauces
  • Keep whole and sauté with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic until brown

Beets

  • Betacyanin — powerful antioxidant found in the flesh
  • Good source of folate- may reduce risk of premenopausal breast cancer by 40 percent
  • Peel and coarsely grate over salad
  • Cube, toss with olive oil, roast at 400°F for an hour, view other tips on how to prepare beets here

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