You’ve been told since you were a kid to eat your vegetables. We all know they are chock-full of vitamins, minerals and other goods stuff. A healthy diet including vegetables is the best way to get these essential supplements for your body. Eating your vegetables can also help lower your risk for many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
One of the main disease fighting components of vegetable are antioxidants. According to the National Cancer Institute these are substances that interact with and stop free radicals before there is cell damage. Examples of antioxidants are beta carotene, lycopene, vitamins A, C and E (alpha-tocopherol). The National Cancer Institute explains free radicals are, “highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells.” They are caused by exposure to ionizing radiation and other environmental toxins.
Certain vegetables are powerhouses of nutrients, including antioxidants. Two types of vegetables that are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants include sprouts and leafy greens.
Sprouts are known for their high level of nutrients packed into a small amount of the vegetable. They are the part of the vegetable before the plant is full grown. These small wonders are chock-full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that protect against free-radical damage. Some high-powered sprouts include sunflower seeds, broccoli sprouts, and watercress.
Leafy greens are another type of vegetable that are known to pack the nutrients. Leafy greens not only contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, but several contain substantial amounts of proteins.
Kale is commonly called the “meat” of vegetables. It’s known as the best source of protein in a leafy green. Kale contains all nine essential amino acids that are also found in the proteins in meat, and nine other non-essential amino acids.
Other leafy greens that are super powers include arugula, spinach and swiss chard: Arugula is known for its trace minerals and antioxidants that block absorption of environmental contaminants. It’s also high in fiber, vitamins A, C & K, Folate, Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B, zinc, copper, and pantothenic Acid (vitamin B). Flavonoids in Arugula are known to lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, lower inflammation, and improve blood vessel function.
Spinach is known for its high content of iron. It also contains zinc, niacin, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, & B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. Spinach’s properties include helping with brain function, memory and mental clarity.
Swiss chard is high in vitamin C, E and A (beta carotene), manganese, and zinc. It helps the body to detoxify, and contains flavonoids that can help regulate blood sugar, and lower the risk of cancer, & heart disease.
Although all vegetables pack a punch when it comes to nutrition, sprouts and leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for your health. Getting your supplements through a healthy diet including fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-carb/high-fiber foods is the best way to naturally and safely get all the essential nutrients your body needs.