Eating plenty of vegetables is one of the easiest ways for people to improve their health and well-being.
All vegetables contain healthful vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, some stand out for their exceptional health benefits.
Some individuals benefit more from certain vegetables than others, depending on their diet, overall health, and nutritional needs.
In this article, we list 15 of the most healthful vegetables, along with some tips to help people enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable. It is also a great source of calcium, vitamins, iron, and antioxidants.
Due to its iron and calcium content, spinach is a great addition to any meat- or dairy-free diet.
One cup of raw spinach is mostly made up of water and contains only 7 calories. It also provides the following nutrients:
an adult's full daily requirements for vitamin K
high amounts of vitamin A
Vitamin K is essential for a healthy body, and especially so for strong bones. It improves how well the body absorbs calcium.
Spinach also provides a good amount of iron for energy and healthy blood, and a good level of magnesium for muscle and nerve function.
It is also rich in antioxidants. Research reports that spinach leaves may lower blood pressure and benefit heart health.
How to eat spinach
People enjoy spinach raw in salads, sandwiches, and smoothies. Cooked spinach also has significant health benefits and is a great addition to pasta dishes and soups.
Kale is a very popular leafy green vegetable with several health benefits. It provides 7 calories per cup of raw leaves and good amounts of vitamins A, C, and K.
Kale may benefit people with high cholesterol. One small study reports that men with high cholesterol who drank 150 milliliters of kale juice per day for 12 weeks experienced:
a 10 percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol
a 27 percent increase in high-density lipoprotein, or "good," cholesterol
Other research suggests that kale juice reduces blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
How to eat kale
People use baby kale in pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches. Also, try making kale chips, or juice kale for its heart-healthy benefits.
Broccoli is an incredibly healthful vegetable that belongs to the same family as cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. These are all cruciferous vegetables.
Each cup of chopped and boiled broccoli contains:
the full daily requirement for vitamin K
twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C
Eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer, which may be because these vegetables contain sulforaphane. In animal research, sulforaphane reduced the size and number of breast cancer cells and blocked tumor growth.
How to eat broccoli
Broccoli is very versatile. People roast it, steam it, or fry it. Also, some people blend it into soups or eat it warm in salads.
Peas are sweet, starchy vegetables that provide 134 calories per cooked cup. They are also high in:
fiber, at 9 grams per serving
protein, at 9 grams per serving
vitamins A, C, and K
certain B vitamins
Green peas are a good source of plant-based protein, and eating them is an effective way for vegetarian and vegan people to boost their protein intake.
Peas and other legumes contain fiber, which supports good bacteria in the gut to ensure regular bowel movements and a healthy digestive tract.
They are also rich in saponins, which are plant compounds that may provide antioxidant and anticancer benefits.
How to eat peas
It can be easy to keep a bag of peas in the freezer and eventually use it to boost the nutritional profile of pasta dishes, risottos, and vegetable curries. Or, a person can make a refreshing pea and mint soup.
5. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are root vegetables that provide 103 calories and 0.17 grams of fat per medium potato, when it is baked with its skin.
Each potato also contains:
much more than an adult's daily requirement of vitamin A
25 percent of their vitamin C and B-6 requirements
12 percent of their potassium needs
beta-carotene, which may improve eye health and fight cancer
Sweet potatoes may benefit people with diabetes. This is because they are low on the glycemic index scale and high in fiber, so they may help regulate blood sugar.
How to eat sweet potatoes
The easiest way to enjoy a sweet potato is to bake it in its skin and serve it with a source of protein, such as fish or tofu.
One cup of beets contains 58 calories, along with:
442 milligrams of potassium
148 micrograms of folate
Beets and beetroot juice are great for improving heart health.
This vegetable is high in heart-healthy nitrates. A small-scale 2012 study reports that drinking 500 grams of beetroot juice significantly lowered blood pressure in healthy people.
These vegetables may also benefit people with diabetes. Beets contain an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which might be helpful for diabetes-related nerve problems, called diabetic neuropathy.
How to eat beets
Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness, but they also taste great in salads, sandwiches, and juices.
Each cup of chopped carrots contains 52 calories and over four times an adult's daily recommended intake of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.
Vitamin A is vital for healthy eyesight, and getting enough of this nutrient may help prevent vision loss.
Certain nutrients in carrots may also have cancer-fighting properties. A 2011 study reports that carrot juice extract may kill or inhibit the growth of leukemia cells.
How to eat carrots
Carrots are an extremely versatile vegetable. They work well in casseroles and soups, and they provide great health benefits when eaten raw with a dip such as hummus.
8. Fermented vegetables
Fermented, or pickled, vegetables provide all the nutrients of their unfermented counterparts, as well as a healthy dose of probiotics.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are present in the body and in some foods and supplements. Some researchers believe that they can improve gut health.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, probiotics may help with the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. They can also prevent infection- and antibiotic-induced diarrhea.
Some good vegetables for fermentation include:
cabbage, to make sauerkraut
cucumbers, to make pickles
How to eat fermented vegetables
People eat fermented vegetables in salads and sandwiches, or as a side dish.
Although tomatoes are technically a fruit, most people treat them as a vegetable. Each cup of chopped raw tomatoes contains:
427 milligrams of potassium
24.7 milligrams of vitamin C
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that may play a role in cancer prevention. Research suggests that lycopene can help prevent prostate cancer. The beta-carotene in tomatoes also has anticancer effects.
Other potent antioxidants in tomatoes, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, may protect vision. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study reports that people who have high dietary intakes of these substances have a 25 percent reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration.
How to eat tomatoes
People can eat tomatoes raw, but cooking them releases more lycopene.
Garlic has long been used in both cooking and medicine. Each garlic clove contains just 4 calories and is low in vitamins and minerals.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic. A compound in garlic, called diallyl sulfide, may be more effective than two popular antibiotics for fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, according to a lab-based study from 2012.
How to eat garlic
Heating garlic reduces its health benefits, so it is best to eat garlic raw in bruschetta and dips.
Each cup of chopped onions provides:
Onions and other allium vegetables, including garlic, contain sulfur compounds. These may help protect against cancer.
In other research, men with the highest intakes of allium vegetables had the lowest risk of prostate cancer. Also, regular consumption of onions and other allium vegetables may reduce esophageal and stomach cancer risks.
How to eat onions
It is easiest to include onions in meals such as soups, stews, stir-fries, and curries. For maximum antioxidant effects, eat them raw in sandwiches, salads, and dips such as guacamole.
12. Alfalfa sprouts
Each cup of alfalfa sprouts contains only 8 calories and a good amount of vitamin K.
These sprouts also boast several plant compounds that contribute to good health, including:
Traditionally, specialists use alfalfa sprouts to treat a range of health conditions, such as arthritis and kidney problems. However, researchers have conducted few studies into their effectiveness for these conditions.
Animal studies have suggested that alfalfa sprouts may have antioxidant effects and may reduceinflammation.
Eating sprouted legumes may have extra health benefits. Studies suggest that sprouting, or germinating, seeds increase their protein and amino acid content.
Germination may also improve the digestibility of alfalfa and other seeds and increase dietary fiber content.
How to eat alfalfa sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts are best enjoyed in salads and sandwiches.
13. Bell peppers
Sweet bell peppers are commonly available in red, yellow, or orange varieties. Unripe, green peppers are also popular, but these taste less sweet than other colors.
A cup of chopped red bell peppers provides:
190 milligrams of vitamin C
0.434 milligrams of vitamin B-6
beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A
Antioxidants present in bell peppers include capsanthin, quercetin, and lutein (in the green variety), which protects vision.
How to eat bell peppers
Bell peppers are extremely versatile. Add them to spaghetti dishes, scrambled eggs, or sandwiches, or serve them raw with a guacamole or hummus dip.
One cup of chopped cauliflower contains:
plenty of vitamin C
Dietary fiber boosts a person's heart and gut health, preventing digestive issues and reducing obesity.
Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables contain an antioxidant called indole-3-carbinol (I3C). I3C may reduce cancers of the breast and reproductive systems in both men and women.
Much like broccoli, cauliflower contains another potential anticancer compound: sulforaphane.
How to eat cauliflower
Pulse raw cauliflower in a blender to make cauliflower rice or turn it into a pizza base for a low-calorie, comforting treat. Alternatively, people may enjoy cauliflower in curries, or they may bake it with olive oil and garlic.
Seaweed, also known as sea vegetables, are versatile and nutritious plants that provide several health benefits. Common types of seaweed include:
Seaweed is one of the few plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. These fatty acids are essential for a person's health and are mostly present in meat and dairy sources.
Each type of seaweed has a slightly different nutritional profile, but it is typically rich in iodine, which is an essential nutrient for thyroid function.
Brown sea vegetables, such as kelp and wakame, contain another potent antioxidant called fucoxanthin. Research suggests that fucoxanthin has 13.5 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E.
Let's face it, ladies: Doctor visits are short. And they're getting shorter. What if your doctor had more time?Here are some points which are wants you to know.
Consider these tips your prescription for a lifetime of wellness.
1. Zap your stress.
"The biggest issue I see in most of my patients is that they have too much on their plates and want to juggle it all. Stress can have significant health consequences, from infertility to higher risks of depression, anxiety, and heart disease. Find the stress-reduction method that works for you and stick with it."
2. Stop dieting.
"Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to forgo your favorite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now and then. The key is moderation. Get a mix of lean proteins, healthy fats, smart carbs, and fiber."
3. Don't “OD” on calcium.
"Too much absorbed calcium can increase the risk of kidney stones and may even increase the risk of heart disease. If you're under 50, shoot for 1,000 milligrams per day, while over-50 women should be getting 1,200 milligrams per day mainly through diet -- about three servings of calcium-rich foods such as milk, salmon, and almonds."
4. Do more than cardio.
"Women need a mix of cardio and resistance or weight-bearing exercise at least three to five times a week to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Exercise also promotes good self-image, which is really important to a woman's mental health."
5. Think about fertility.
"While many women have no problem getting pregnant in their late 30s and even into their early 40s, a woman's fertility may start to decline as early as 32. So if you want to have kids, talk to your doctor about options, like freezing your eggs."
6. Appreciate birth control.
"Birth control gets a bad rap, but not only can it keep you from getting pregnant before you're ready, studies show it can lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer as well as regulate your cycle."
7. See your doctor every year.
Make sure you get a Pap test to check for cervical cancer every 3 years if you are 21 or older. If you are 30-65, you can get both a Pap test and HPV test every 5 years. Older than that, you may be able to stop testing if your doctor says you are low risk. If you are sexually active and have a higher risk for STDs, get tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis yearly. Take an HIV test at least once, more frequently if you’re at risk. Don't skip your yearly checkup. Your doctor needs to annually assess many other issues such as potential infection, your need for contraception, and sexual complaints."
8. Have good sex.
"Sex reduces stress and may lower the risk of chronic disease -- but only if you enjoy it. If anything prevents you from sexual fulfillment, such as dryness or pain, talk to your doctor to find a solution."
9. Get more sleep.
"Sleep needs differ, but if you have trouble getting out of bed, tire easily, or have trouble concentrating, you likely aren't getting enough. Recent studies suggest this can put you at greater risk of heart disease and psychological problems."
10. Consider genetic testing.
"Doctors can now screen people with a family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and chronic diseases to assess their risk -- and then consider preventive measures. Talk to your doctor."
Zap your stress.
The biggest issue I see in most of my patients is that they have too much on their plates and want to juggle it all. Stress can have significant health consequences, from infertility to higher risks of depression, anxiety, and heart disease. Find the stress-reduction method that works for you and stick with it.
Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to forgo your favorite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now and then. The key is moderation. Get a mix of lean proteins, healthy fats, smart carbs, and fiber.
Don't OD on calcium.
Too much-absorbed calcium can increase the risk of kidney stones and may even increase the risk of heart disease. If you're under 50, shoot for 1,000 milligrams per day, while over-50 women should be getting 1,200 milligrams per day mainly through diet -- about three servings of calcium-rich foods such as milk, salmon, and almonds.
Do more than cardio.
Women need a mix of cardio and resistance or weight-bearing exercise at least three to five times a week to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Exercise also promotes good self-image, which is really important to a woman's mental health.
Think about fertility.
While many women have no problem getting pregnant in their late 30s and even into their early 40s, a woman's fertility may start to decline as early as 32. So if you want to have kids, talk to your doctor about options, like freezing your eggs.
Appreciate birth control.
Birth control gets a bad rap, but not only can it keep you from getting pregnant before you're ready, but studies also show it can lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer as well as regulate your cycle.
Get more sleep.
Sleep needs differ, but if you have trouble getting out of bed, tire easily, or have trouble concentrating, you likely aren't getting enough. Recent studies suggest this can put you at greater risk of heart disease and psychological problems.
Eating a variety of nutritious, colourful fruits and vegetables daily is key to preventing and lowering your risk of developing breast and other women’s cancers fuelled by obesity.
“Women should minimise the processed foods they eat from a box,”
“Natural, whole and fresh foods are always the best choices.”
One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, but the good news is, if caught early, it can be treated effectively. Starting at age 40, go for an annual mammogram to check breast health and in between mammograms, perform monthly breast self-exams.
Colon cancer is the third largest cause of cancer death among women. “At age 50, women need to make sure they start getting their regular colonoscopy screening,” As catching any abnormal colon polyp growths early can prevent cancer from further developing or spreading.
“Cancers caused by smoking are preventable if you put the cigarettes down,”
More than 13% of women are still smoking cigarettes in the US, despite the evidence that it leads to premature death, heart disease, heart attack and stroke, and lung and other cancers.
#healthyeating #Nutrition #healthydiet
Eating healthy nutritious food is the simple and right solution to get rid of excess body weight effortlessly and become slim and healthy forever.”―Subodh Gupta, Author of 7 Habits of Skinny Woman
The celebrated author sure knows what he is talking about. Nutrition is the building block of our overall health. We need adequate amounts of vitamin and minerals for our systems to work at the optimum level. With our hectic schedules we may not be able the adequate amounts of these nutrients leading to deficiencies which affect our health. Iron is one such nutrient that is important for our bodies.
Iron and Our Health
Iron is an important mineral that performs several functions in our body; the most important of them being the production of red blood cells which carry oxygen in the body. It also enables our muscles to store and use oxygen.
Iron is a part of many enzymes and so it helps in the performance of many cell functions. Enzymes facilitate digestion of foods and other important reactions that occur within our body.
Iron deficiency is also known as anaemia or iron deficiency anaemia. This condition is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies, particularly in children and pre-menopausal women. This condition is characterized by the depletion of the body’s stores of iron and inability of the body to maintain normal levels of haemoglobin in the blood.
Haemoglobin is a substance that is present in red blood cells that enable them to carry oxygen throughout the body. Lack of sufficient iron makes the body unable to produce enough haemoglobin. This results in functional and health impairment which adversely affects the functioning of several organ systems.
Causes of Iron Deficiency
The causes revolve around insufficient consumption of iron or losing too much iron. In both the cases, your body is unable to produce enough haemoglobin. Some of the most common iron deficiency causes are as follows.
1. Increased Iron Needs:
There are certain conditions under which people need additional amounts of iron
Infants and toddlers have greater iron needs in comparison to older children as they are in the rapid growth phase and at times it becomes difficult for them to get enough iron from their normal diet.
Pregnant women need more iron because their iron sources need to serve their own increased blood volume as well as provide haemoglobin for the growing foetus.
2. Loss of Blood:
When people lose blood, they also lose iron as blood contains iron within the red blood cells. So they need extra iron to replace the lost iron.
Women with heavy periods are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anaemia as they lose blood during menstruation.
Certain ailments like peptic ulcer, hiatal hernia, a colon polyp or colorectal cancer also cause slow chronic blood loss within the body, resulting in iron deficiency.
Gastrointestinal bleeding due to regular use of some over the counter pain relievers such as aspirin can also cause anaemia. Internal bleeding is the most common cause of iron deficiency in men and postmenopausal women.
3. Lack of Iron in Diet:
The iron needed by our bodies is mostly obtained from the foods that we eat. Consumption of too low a dose of iron over time can lead to iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods include meat, leafy vegetables, eggs and iron-fortified foods. Infants and children also need iron from their diet for their proper growth and development.
4. Mal-absorption of Iron:
Besides consumption, iron from food should be absorbed into your bloodstream in your small intestine. Celiac disease is an intestinal disorder that affects your intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients from digested food, thus causing iron deficiency. Absorption of iron is also affected if part of your intestine has been bypassed or removed surgically. The amount of iron absorbed from foods depends upon other factors given below.
Iron from animal sources like meat, chicken and fish is heme iron which can be absorbed 2 to 3 times more efficiently than non-heme iron from plants.
Absorption of non-heme iron from plant foods depends upon the other types of foods eaten with them. For instance, foods like meat, chicken and fish which contain heme iron increase absorption from foods containing non-heme iron such as fortified cereals, spinach and certain beans. Foods containing vitamin C can also enhance the absorption of non-heme iron when eaten at the same meal.
Substances like polyphenols, phytates or calcium which are found in some foods or drinks such as tea, coffee, whole grains, legumes, milk and dairy products can decrease the absorption of non-heme iron.
Victims of Iron Deficiency
Though anyone can suffer from iron deficiency, certain people are at greater risk. Since the risk is high their needs for iron is greater than others.
Women lose blood during menstruation and so they are at a greater risk of suffering from anaemia. Pregnant women can also get this deficiency because of high iron requirement.
2. Infants and Children:
Infants, particularly those with low birth-weight or born prematurely, do not get enough iron from breast milk or formula and so they are at a higher risk of iron deficiency. Children need extra iron during growth phase. Children with special health needs such as those with chronic infections or restricted diet are also at risk.
Those who do not eat meat are at a higher risk of iron deficiency. As stated earlier, plants contain non-heme iron which needs to be supplemented with other sources of heme iron like meat, fish and eggs to facilitate their absorption.
4. Frequent Blood Donors:
Those who donate blood frequently are at an increased risk of iron deficiency as their iron stores get depleted due to blood donation. Low haemoglobin caused by blood donation is, however, a temporary problem which can be cured by eating iron rich foods.
Iron Deficiency Symptoms
Inadequate levels of iron can impair body functions. Most physical signs and symptoms do not show up as they are mild. You can notice them only when your anaemia gets worse. The symptoms are not visible during the early stages of iron deficiency. A person having iron deficiency may have the following symptoms.
Tiredness and weakness
Shortness of breath
Difficulty in concentrating
Slow cognitive and social development during childhood
Coldness in hands and feet
Difficulty in maintenance of body temperature
Slow immune function which increases susceptibility to infection
Glossitis (inflamed tongue)
Symptoms in infants and children:-
Short attention span
Slow growth and development
Delayed development of skills like walking and talking
Iron Deficiency Diseases
Iron deficiency is a serious condition which, if taken lightly, can lead to long term health issues. Mild deficiency of iron causes no severe complications, but when left untreated, it can lead to the following health issues.
Severe deficiency of iron can cause anaemia due to the disruption of the normal lifespan of a red blood cell. In this condition, haemoglobin levels are so low that the blood is unable to enough oxygen to the cells, thus affecting the entire body. Symptoms of anaemia include looking very pale, breathlessness, dizziness and fatigue. It also results in reduced immune function and impaired growth and cognition.
2. Heart Ailments:
Deficiency of iron can lead to rapid or irregular heartbeat. When you are anaemic, your heart is required to pump more blood to compensate for the lack of oxygen carried in your blood. This can cause enlarged heart or heart failure.
3. Inadequate Growth:
Severe deficiency of iron can lead to delayed growth and development in infants and children. It is also associated with increased susceptibility to develop infections.
4. Complications in Pregnancy:
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of iron deficiency. It can lead to premature births and babies with low birth-weight. This condition can be easily prevented during pregnancy by taking iron supplements as part of prenatal care.
5. Colon Cancer:
Iron deficiency is one of the causes of colon cancer. A research conducted on 628, 882 patients of 40 years of age and above indicated that 3.1% or 19, 349 patients had iron deficiency anaemia. Thus, those suffering from iron deficiency are at a greater risk of developing colon cancer.
Iron deficiency can result in fatigue. It is characterized by depression and lack of sleep. Hence, iron deficiency should be recognized and treated to prevent fatigue.
Treatment of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency should not be ignored as it can lead to several health problems. Proper diagnosis and treatment of this problem is important before the condition worsens. Iron deficiency can be easily diagnosed by taking a haemoglobin test which measures haemoglobin or haematocrit test which measures the percentage of red blood cells in your blood by volume.
Reduction in haemoglobin and haematocrit levels indicates a serious deficiency of iron. Treatment of iron deficiency depends upon other factors such as your age, health and cause of iron deficiency. Some of the ways of treating iron deficiency are given below.
1. Consumption of Iron Rich Foods:
Mild deficiency of iron can be cured by including iron rich foods in your diet. The iron from animal sources like meat, poultry and eggs is more easily absorbed by your body. If you are a vegetarian, you need to increase your intake of iron-rich plant-based foods to absorb the same amount of iron as the plant sources.
2. Iron Supplements:
Iron supplements such as iron tablets and capsules are often recommended by the doctors to replenish the iron stores in your body. To facilitate better absorption of iron in the tablets, it is beneficial to take them on an empty stomach. Since these tablets can upset your stomach, it is often recommended to take them with meals.
3. Consumption of Foods Rich in Vitamin C:
Vitamin C enhances the body’s absorption of iron. It is advisable to drink citrus juice or other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time when you eat high iron foods. Citrus juices like orange juice or lemon juice contain vitamin C which helps your body to better absorb dietary iron. Iron supplements should also be taken with a glass of citrus juice or vitamin C supplement for better absorption.
4. Treatment of Underlying Causes of Iron Deficiency:
If the iron supplements fail to increase your blood iron levels, the deficiency is due to a source of bleeding or iron absorption problem which needs to be diagnosed and treated. Treatment of the underlying causes of deficiency involves the following.
Medications such as oral contraceptives to lessen heavy menstrual flow
Antibiotics and other medications for the treatment of peptic ulcers
Surgery for removal of a tumour, bleeding polyp or fibroid
5. Treatment of Iron Deficiency in Infants:
Apart from the supplements recommended by the doctor, babies should be fed with breast-milk or iron-fortified formula in the first year. Cow’s milk is not a good source of iron and so it should not be given to infants below the age of one year. Iron from breast milk can be more easily absorbed than the iron found in formula.
Iron deficiency cannot be cured overnight. If your deficiency is severe, it can take several months or even longer to replenish your reserves. Besides ingesting iron in the form of supplements, it is advisable to incorporate dietary changes i.e. consume iron rich foods. So don’t become iron deficient, follow these tips to avoid any complications. Stay fit, stay healthy!