How To Pick The Right Vegetable For Your Nutritional Needs
Before you spend a fortune on supplements and vitamins, ask yourself if there’s a way to get your vitamins and minerals the natural way, through a healthy diet. The answers could be right in the vegetable aisle. When you want to know which veggie to pick for your nutritional need, here are the building blocks.
Kale For Vitamin K
The leafy bitter green is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. In addition to making a killer breakfast hash and an easy crunchy snack, kale (which comes in varieties like curly, Tuscan, purple and white) is packed with a ton of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, K, B6, magnesium and calcium.
Kale has a high amount of vitamin K (each cup of kale has about 215 mg of vitamin K) which most women over the age of 19 should be consuming daily. Vitamin K is necessary for bone health and might help to reduce your chances of fractures or injury.
Carrots For Vitamin A
You might want to thank whoever forced you to eat carrots when you were little. The orange veggie is known to be a powerhouse of nutrients with high amounts of vitamin A (from beta-carotene, which gives carrots their rich color), biotin, vitamin K, potassium and vitamin B6.
Once you eat carrots the beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A. Look to vitamin A when you’re trying to maintain healthy vision and a strong immune system. Depending on your age, your body requires a different amount of daily vitamin A.
Broccoli For Vitamin C
For a lot of us, broccoli was just about as scary as monsters under the bed growing up. Guess what? Broccoli is as helpful for your immune system as a glass of orange juice. Eating a one-half cup of raw broccoli can supply you with 60 percent of your RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps your body to maintain connective tissue including your bones, blood vessels and skin. The water-soluble vitamin can also aid in the absorption of iron, combat free radicals for cancer prevention and lessen symptoms of the common cold by supporting a healthy immune system.
Spinach For Zinc
Out of all of the nutrient-dense green leafy vegetables, spinach has to be one of the easiest to eat casually. From spinach and artichoke dip to a simple salad with lemon juice, olive oil and freshly cracked pepper, spinach can do no wrong.
The leafy vegetable is a good source of zinc, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, vitamin E, calcium and iron. When your body needs a daily dose of zinc — a mineral responsible for helping to maintain your immune system and bodily functions — look to spinach for a natural fix. Adults who are 19 and over need about 11 mg of zinc each day and one cup of cooked spinach provides you with 1.37 mg of the important mineral.
Brussels Sprouts For Antioxidants
While Brussels sprouts may be a hard veggie to love, they’re worth it. If you know what ingredients to use, you can make Brussels sprouts sweet enough to snack on. Of course, you can always add pancetta, caramelized onions, cream, salt and all kinds of rich ingredients to make these mini cabbage-like vegetables more tempting, but you’ll get the most nutritional value with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh black pepper.
Brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants — compounds that reduce stress in your cells to lower your risk of chronic disease — like vitamin C. Like many other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts also have a high fiber content to support healthy gut health.
Beets For Iron
The earthy root vegetable has a lot of fans, but just as many haters out there. Aside from the beautiful color and hearty texture, beets are packed with health benefits and nutritional value in the form of calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Our bodies need iron to help carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. Without enough iron, our bodies can’t make enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which means a lot of fatigue. When we’re tired we lose the ability to fight off all kinds of infections.
If you’re going to get your vitamins and minerals through eating the right vegetables, you might want to look into your organic options — especially when it comes to the Dirty Dozen.
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