In honour of World Vegetarian Day, we have put together a list of some of the world’s healthiest vegetables. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, you can surely appreciate the health benefits associated with these super foods. We’ve noticed more and more people are including these vegetables in their diets and the facts make it easy to see why!
Kale has often been referred to as one of the most nutritious plant foods on the planet! Kale is loaded with powerful antioxidants that helps the body stay protected against various forms of cancer. The veggie is also packed full of vitamins, with just one cup of raw kale providing more than 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamins A and K. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. Must we go on?! It’s easy to see why this green-leafed super food has gained so much popularity in recent years!
Spinach is extremely high in antioxidants and a great source for almost every type of vitamin that the body needs. Spinach is also one of the best sources of folates, making it beneficial for cardiovascular and brain health. In fact, just one cup will give you about 50% of the daily recommended amount of folates. Compared to other green vegetables, spinach contains a significant amount of iron which is essential for mental and physical health. As most of us probably learnt from the cartoon Popeye, eating spinach can increase our strength and muscle efficiency!
Just like kale, spinach can be included in smoothies and salads to give it an extra kick of healthiness. Spinach is also a great pasta-filling and can be used to make delicious dips.
When thinking of the healthiest vegetables it’s easy to only focus on those that are green, however one of the healthiest vegetables is in fact orange! Carrots are full of nutrients that enrich our eyes, skin and hair and it is because of this that they have been said to delay the effects of aging. Carrots contain carotenoids which are powerful plant compounds that have been linked to improved immune function and reduced risk of disease and cancer.
Carrots are a delicious snack option to eat raw but they can also be grated in salads, blended in smoothies and cooked in soups. There are so many different dish options with this versatile vegetable!
Just like other plant foods, broccoli is very high in nutrients and very low in calories. This veggie has the ability to improve digestion and protect the body from chronic diseases and cancers. Studies have also shown that specific compounds found in broccoli sprouts are extremely useful for the body’s detoxification process. In order to maintain all of the health benefits of broccoli, it is recommended that you only cook this veggie at low temperatures and for only a short amount of time.
Steaming broccoli is the best way to keep the nutrition and flavour of the veggie and can be used to make a deliciously healthy salad or the perfect side dish. One of our personal favourite ways to incorporate the veggie into our diet is by making a yummy broccoli pasta, which stays true to the veggie’s heritage (did you know broccoli originated in Italy?).
Finishing our list of the world’s healthiest foods is every child’s favourite little green veggie, the brussels sprout! Not only are brussels sprouts a great source of vitamins and nutrients but the little veggies are also surprisingly rich in protein. Brussels sprouts help to protect the body against cancer, boosts the immune system and improves brain health. The veggie is also extremely beneficial for pregnant women as they are a good source of folate which is vital for a healthy pregnancy.
Brussels sprouts can be grilled, blanched, roasted and even shredded in salads. There are also heaps of creative meal ideas online including this list of brussels sprouts recipes that will change your life! (Warning: this list includes many non-vegetarian options).
We would love to hear from you! What is your favourite way to eat these veggies? Do you have any delicious vegetarian meal ideas? With all these amazing health benefits in mind, it’s hard to think of a reason why these super foods shouldn’t be included in your next meal!