When most of us think of healthy eating, the first thing that comes to mind is a salad. Salads are a huge part of my lifestyle- I eat a huge salad for lunch everyday and usually eat a salad with my dinner! I always try to make my salads different every day in order to incorporate a variety of different veggies into my diet each week. Even though every veggie is healthy, they don’t all contain the same vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (Phytonutrients are micronutrients found in most plant-based foods that help fight against disease and give vegetables their anti-cancer properties), and we need to eat a variety in order to really thrive.
Are you someone who sticks to the same few veggies or eats the same salad almost every day? Do you pick the veggies in your salad based on taste rather than nutrients? Or are you simply curious about the benefits of those veggies you’re consuming every day? Then this post is for you!
Below are just some of my favorite veggies and exactly the nutrients they contain that make them so amazing!
Spinach- Did you know that spinach is higher in beta-carotene than carrots? Beta-carotene is a precursor of Vitamin A, which means that once digested, it is turned into Vitamin A. Beta-Carotene is also an antioxidant, which means that it helps our bodies fight against cellular oxidation, which can lead to cancer and numerous diseases. Spinach is also extremely high in Vitamin K, Manganese, Potassium, Fiber and Folate, which is extremely important to have in sufficient amounts during pregnancy. Spinach is known to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, high in antioxidants and extremely important in maintaining bone health. I love eating spinach raw as part of my salad but most people don’t, so I suggest adding it into your morning or afternoon smoothie- I promise you won’t even notice it’s there!
Beets- Beets are a great source of folate, manganese, potassium, copper, fiber, and Vitamin C. They are a great source of phytonutrients called “betanins”, which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxification properties. They are also known as a great anti-cancer food. Did you have too much to drink this past weekend? Have you been eating too much sugar or consuming too much caffeine? Drink some beet juice to help detoxify your liver and give your cells some love!
Tomatoes- Tomatoes are one of the world’s best sources of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes it’s red color and is a powerful antioxidant. Tomatoes are also a great source of Vitamin C, biotin, Vitamin K, beta-carotene, potassium, copper, manganese, and fiber. Tomatoes also hold an abundant amount of phytonutrients other than carotenoids, such as flavonones, flavonols, glycosides and hydroxycinnamic acids. In other words, tomatoes are an anti-cancer powerhouse! Cooked tomatoes are actually a way better source of lycopene than raw tomatoes, but raw tomatoes are a greater source of vitamin C, so enjoy them both ways! You can either have them roasted in the oven with some olive oil and spices or simply add them to your favorite pasta sauce or salad.
Cauliflower- Cauliflower is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, choline, and fiber. It is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which all contain a substantial amount of glucosinolates, a type of phytonutrient with strong anti-cancer properties. Cauliflower is also known as a great detoxifying agent and aids the liver in detoxifying nasty chemicals which could lead to cancer if not attended to properly. The vitamins and minerals present in cauliflower, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and zinc, all aid in hair growth as well. Looking for an anti-cancerous veggie that helps with detoxification and hair growth? Look no further than the amazing cauliflower!
Mushrooms- Even though mushrooms belong to the funghi kingdom, they are normally categorized as a vegetable. Did you know that mushrooms are the only plant-based source of an adequate amount of vitamin D? Mushrooms are also amazing for immune support and protection against cardiovascular disease. They are an excellent source of copper, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, phosphorus and potassium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against chronic diseases and strengthen the bodies immune system. Mushrooms, especially portobello, can be used as a meat-substitute in many plant based dishes and contain more protein than most vegetables. Feeling gloomy and need an extra dose of vitamin D? Want to make your salad purely plant-based but still want to get in a good source of protein? Add in a powerful dose of mushrooms!
These are just a few of my favorite veggies- comment your favorites below and I will write another post including the health benefits of your favs!