Vegetables are on top when it comes to healthy natural foods. So many nutrients are found in vegetables. While we know they are healthy, how many can you name off the top of your head? I know that when I got into cooking on my own and eating healthier I had to learn about some new vegetables. Get ready to expand your choices because this article covers over 60 vegetables! Following each article there is a youtube link to a recipe, growing, technique, or nutritional info.
Asparagus contains folate and B vitamins that maintain the cardiovascular system, has nutrients that fight off inflammation, and it’s a diuretic that cleanse the body of toxins. There are some areas to chop near the stem that are not so good for consumption. Asparagus is great steamed and seasoned or chopped and added to a salad. One of my favorite experiences was some nicely seasoned asaparagus over the grill.
Basil helps in fighting bacteria, is high in vitamin K, and is also anti-inflammatory. It is a well known herb that contributes to pasta dishes, pesto, and a caprese sandwich. I have mostly used basil as a seasoning, but the leaves really lend well to the caprese sandwich. Watch this video from Betty’s Kitchen as she demonstrates.
Mushrooms offer immune system support, anti-inflammatory benefits, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, cardiovascular support to name a few. They are high in selenium and B vitamins.
Radicchio is like a red head of lettuce related to chicory leaf. Super low in calories with minerals contained such as: Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, and Potassium.
Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin K and Lutein. Rhubarb pie is a very popular dessert made from the rhubarbs red “celery looking” stems. Rhubarb also contains a generous amount of calcium.
Spirulina is rich in anti-oxidants and improves cellular health. Spirulina is also high in B12 and easy to digest.
What the heck is an Umbelliferous vegetable you may ask? I dunno? It’s Umbelliferous…..uhh…and I dunno wat that like means?? Key word. VEGETABLE!!!! Umbelliferous refers to a vegetable, plant, or flower belonging to the same family in which the plant shows an umbel. An umbel is shown in how the flower stalks grow proportionately from the same area. They also have hollow stems. Umbelliferous vegetables that we enjoy for maximum health benefits are: caraway, carrot, celery, cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley, and parsnip.
Caraway seeds are very helpful with indigestion. They are rich in fibers, vitamins and minerals. Though you find caraway in ground form, try to go for the actual seeds. They are a common spice to dishes in the Mediterranean.
Carrots contain beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A in the body. This is said to help improve vision. Cooking carrots allows beta-carotene to be better absorbed. Carrots are just fine to eat by themselves. It’s also popular to dip them in hummus, ranch, and other veggie dips. The other day some friends came over and I offered them carrots. The four of us stood around and finished a whole bag because they were so good!
Celery has no calories and helps to reduce blood pressure. It is high in vitamin C, potassium, and also lowers cholesterol levels. This vegetable is popular for dipping in peanut butter. It works great in soups and is ideal for juicing. Celery is nearly 95% water!
Cilantro helps remove heavy metals from the body. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, anti-oxidants, and fends off urinary tract infections. Cilantro is common out there in the food world. You can request it at most Subways and find it in any salsa that is booming with flavor. Thai dishes use the stem for a particular flavor. Out here in Los Angeles, a taco is meant to have cilantro and onions, not lettuce and tomato as much.
Cumin seeds are iron rich and contain a peppery flavor. Like the caraway seeds they are helpful in the digestive department. Cumin seasoning is a large part in the flavor we get from curry sauces in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Dill weed is a herbal flavor enhancer that battles disease, promotes overall health, and has very low calories. It is said to help battle bacteria and carcinogens. Dill is great for seasoning with many seafood meals.
Fennel provides anti-oxidants and vitamin C for immunity support. Fennel has a seed and ground form just like cumin and caraway. It also has a bulb that can be used in salads or sauteed.
Parsley has anti-oxidants that help prevent cell damage and folic acids which are helping to improve cardiovascular health. It is great as a seasoning and works great when just chopped up and thrown in a salad. Though it is used as a garnish, it shouldn’t stop you from just eating it!
Parsnip is low in calories and high in fiber. Cholesterol lowering and blood sugar balanced, the parsnip is a healthy vegetable that packs in folic acids and tastes sweet! Parsnips are great in stews and soups.
The Nightshade Family
Nightshade vegetables have to be stored and monitored properly. For example, the green spots and growths that occur when you neglect potatoes. These spots must be removed or just toss the infected vegetable. Nightshade veggies contain alkaloids. These are not so good in large doses. Depending on an individuals conditions, these alkaloids can be harmful. Harmful in ways such as arthritis, acne build up, and heart burn. Observe yourself when eating nightshade vegetables. You may have to cut them out or lower your intake.
Eggplant is low in calories, no fat, high in fiber, and carries a variety of vitamins and minerals. Calories for the eggplant stay low when it is grilled, roasted, or broiled. So if calories are a huge concern, then stay away from sauteed or fried eggplants. Eggplant also contains antioxidants both inside and out. Eggplant works well in Asian dishes and is used to make baba ghanoush.
Potatoes are very popular in our diets. Mostly due to the fact that a large percentage of people eat potato products. Foods like chips and french fries help to give the potato a bad name as a vegetable. The truth of the matter is that potatoes are natural vegetables that contain B vitamins, fibers, and phytonutritients. When you eat a potato it is not necessary to drown it in butter, sour cream, or shower with bacon bits and cheese. Sounds like a very tasty baked potato huh!? Well if you are trying to watch what you eat, then mash, bake, or fry with healthy oils. For seasonings black pepper always work. I believe potatoes to have a great flavor on there own.
Peppers come in many varieties. There are bell peppers, jalapeno, habanero, cascabel, chipotle, poblano, paprika, ancho, serrano, and cayenne peppers just to name a few.
Bell Peppers provide carotenoids and vitamin C. These peppers are not on the hot side. They work great in salads, with ground meats, sauteed, they juice well with their water content, and making stuffed peppers is always an option.
Jalapenos certainly have heat power! Pickled they lack some punch and are less nutritious. Capsaisin is the property the makes that peppers hot. It also helps to speed up metabolism, which in turn could help to burn fat with a steady work out schedule. Inflammation, prostate cancer, migraines, congestion, high blood pressure, and intestinal diseases can be aided with capsaisin.
Habanero peppers are even much hotter than jalapenos!! Never, ever make the mistake of rubbing your eye after handling a habanero! In fact, it is recommended one should wear latex gloves while handling. Now I have never pulled out gloves, but I will from now on. Consider them to have the same properties of our other peppers. In the capsaisin count it must be high due to it’s extreme heat. I like adding these to a healthy sprouted pizza to give it some extreme heat!
Tomatoes have great anti-oxidants, phyto-nutrients, vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene. They also provide heart, bone, and anti-cancer benefits. Tomatoes also come in a variety of forms. Roma, cherry, grape, and plum tomatoes are some we see at grocery stores. Try to enjoy tomatoes and do away with your addiction to McDonalds high fructose corn syrup infested ketchup packs.
Tomatillos contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and electrolytes. They look like tiny green tomatoes with a green husk that surrounds it. They are popular in making salsa.
The Allium Family
Allium vegetables are potent in flavor adding aroma and taste to many dishes.
Chives contain a mineral known as sulfur which aids skin to health. The sulfur in chives also helps to produce bile in the liver which in turn helps to eliminate toxins.
Garlic is at peak health when chopped or crushed then forced to sit for a few minutes before cooking. This opens up the enzymes to work in the body more effectively. Sulfur compounds in garlic help to lower blood pressure. Vitamins and minerals: Manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and selenium can all be found in garlic.
Leeks contain many of the same health benefits as other allium vegetables. Select firm, dark-green leaved, white necked leeks. Any other colors such as yellow are a sign of poor quality. Good ones are in “mint” condition.
Onions share similar health benefits to other allium vegetables. I have dealt with white, brown, and red onions when cooking. I enjoy the thick slice of white onion that resides in a quality hamburger. They are also ideal sauteed with a steak. You just can’t go wrong with onions, unless you’ve tried onion juice!! GROSS!!
Shallots are much like a small onion. Less of a potent flavor than garlic and onion. They share many of the same health benefits as other allium vegetables.
The Composite Family
Artichoke is a vegetable superfood that boasts vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and phyto-nutrients. Though it is used mostly in spinach/artichoke dip, it can also be eaten on its own. I steam my artichoke in a rice cooker with a steaming pan. Before steaming your artichoke it is important to prepare it. Cut the thorns off the leaves and cut about half of the top off with kitchen shears. Remove any leaves that are growing out of the stem. Also cut off most of the stem. When the steaming is done let it cool down for just a minute. Pull the leaves out and eat the end of the leaf. (opposite end from where the thorns were) You will most likely pluck several leaves before you encounter purple colored leaves that have less edible edges. When you get to the heart it will have a grass-like cover that can be removed with a butter knife or spoon. The heart has more substance and flavor than the leaves. It’s quite a bit of work to eat an artichoke but all worth it!!
Chamomile tea is a popular form of tea. This herb can be used on your skin directly as well as taken orally. Chamomile helps to treat anxiety, insomnia, wounds, skin conditions, and upset stomach. Though buying chamomile in tea is the most common way of attaining, it can also be found as an oil, cream, liquid extract. or flower head.
Chicory root is another health food that helps cleanse the blood and purify the liver. Chicory also helps to block gull stones and liver stones from occurring. It contains Vitamin C, is anti-inflammatory, and aids in digestion.
Dandelion greens are very healthy. They can act as a diuretic cleansing your system and dissolve kidney stones and improve gastro-intestinal health. Improving bowel functions and promoting weight loss, dandelion greens are another health giant for us to get to know if we don’t consume already that is.
Endive, aka escarole, is a bitter tasting leafy green containing nutrients such as Vitamins A & C. Very low in calories while still contributing a significant amount of fiber. It also contains folate and B vitamins, as well as, minerals: Manganese, Copper, Iron, & Potassium.
Jerusalem Artichokes appear to be more of a root than an artichoke. This veggie is high in potassium and magnesium. It also supplies quality fiber, rich doses of inulin, and iron.
Lettuce fights disease with its multiple phyto-nutrient properties. Folate, vitamins C, A, & K can all be found in lettuce. Enjoy lettuce with sandwiches and salads of course. It even does a fine job producing water form in the juicer. When your lettuce, or any juiceable veggie for that matter, has only a few days left, put it in the juicer with some other veggies and drink it!
Safflower oil can reduce abdominal fat, improve cholesterol levels, balance blood sugar, and relieve inflammation. The oil also promotes overall weight loss, improved heart health, and maintained health to skin and hair. Safflower seeds are high in calories and not so rich in vitamins. The seeds do contain minerals and a small count of protein. They actually pack in more carbohydrates then protein.
Salsify is not as popular as most vegetables. It is a root vegetable that looks like a carrot or parsnip and is sometimes referred to as oyster plant. Salsify has antioxidants and is rich in Vitamin E, Potassium, and Fiber. It is also low in sodium and calories.
Sunflower seeds were always my favorite when sitting the bench in high school baseball. When they came in a shell it gave me something to do and a mess to make in the dugout. Only thing is that what I was eating were salt infested gas station crap foods! Sunflower seeds in raw form supply vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The vitamin E content offers inflammatory and cardiovascular assistance.
Amaranth contains vitamins & minerals galore, as well as, protein, dietary fiber, and amino acids. Amaranth also has disease prevention properties, allows healthy hair growth, and boosts the immune system.
Beets are great for digestive benefits and contain phytonutrients called betalains. The beets are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox friendly vegetables. Beets can be a great juicing vegetable, they can be eaten raw, roasted, or thrown in with a salad. I have not done much cooking with beets, but think it could very well be time!
Chard produces an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals. It is very low in calories and supports bone health with its calcium percentage. A leafy green that is referred to as Swiss chard at times.
Quinoa is a very light grain native to South America. It has a high count of Mangenese and possesses anti-inflammatory properties. One thing that sets quinoa aside is it’s protein content. It has a greater protein content than other grains. Though quinoa is eaten as a grain, it is also part of the vegetable family.
Spinach is a great source of dietary fiber. Flavonoids with anti-cancer benefits can be found in spinach. It is one of the more alkalyzing greens you can eat. Blood pressure, vision, bone health, immunity, and skin health can all be improved by eating spinach.
Sugar Beets contain an oxidative stress reliever known as Betanin. Great source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, & K. Sugar beets are used to make table sugar and have been a source since the early 1800s.
The Gourd Family
Zucchini can help the digestive system and lower cholesterol. The content of the mineral Magnesium in the zucchini can help to lower the risk of a stroke or heart attack. The potassium content in zucchini can work for lowering blood pressure.
Cucumbers belong to the gourd family along with melons, gourds, and squash. The are vitamin and mineral heavy, while low in calories and fat. Cucumbers will aid digestion, promote joint health, and skin care. Its a great super veggie that helps even aid gum and tooth health taken in juice form. This vegetable carries alot of water so it is great for juicing. Cucumbers fend off disease and promote weight loss. I enjoy eating the sliced and place in a bag with fresh natural lemon juice, freshly shopped jalepeno, and a small sprinkle of salt. Fits well on a Triscuit cracker with some other veggies or foods of choice.
Winter Squash is high in vitamin A, promotes inflammatory protection, and helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Winter squash comes in many varieties. Butternut, acorn, hubbard, turban, and kabocha are all varieties of winter squash.
Summer Squash is high in vitamin C and also promotes inflammatory protection and blood sugar regulation. Prostate health and anti-cancer possibilities are also tangible benefits from eating summer squash.
Pumpkins are not only for Halloween decoration but also pack some vitamin A and C. A significant amount of protein can be found in the pumpkin seeds. With in the white shell is the green colored seed containing nearly 7 grams of protein.
Arugula is a leafy green that is often found in salads. It has a peppery taste and is high in vitamin A. Sauteed Arugula is a common technique for cooking. Throw these healthy greens in the pan with some eggs or steak. That peppered flavor can really add to other foods like stir fry. Here is the thing with arugula: If you get tired of eating salads compiled of lettuce or spinach, then switch it up and give arugula a try!
Bok Choy carries a dietary antioxidant known as beta carotene. Low in calories and rich in vitamins bok choy can even lower cancer risks! Cook it, chop it up and add it to salads, add it to stir fry, or steak!
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables that contains valuable fibers, calcium, folic acid, vitamins, and antioxidants. It is a very useful vegetable to meals. Great with stir fry. Long stemmed broccoli works well for juicing. Raw with some carrots is a very tasty pair.
Brussel Sprouts lower cholesterol levels even more so when steamed than when eaten raw. These guys are great for detoxing the body. They also supply anti-oxidant support, as well as, anti-inflammatory protection.
Cabbage is a cancer prevention veggie with vitamins A and C. Cardiovascular support as well as inflammatory relief is offered in the anti-oxidants present in cabbage. Digestive organs also reap benefits from cabbage.
Cauliflower is a great detox veggie as well. It contains many of the same benefits to its family members. When selecting be sure to find cauliflower that is clean and white with not browning spots.
Collard Greens once again contain many of the same health benefits as other Cruciferous vegetables. When selecting collard greens just be sure that leaves are deep green with no sign of yellowing or browning. Also make sure the leaves are firm and not wilted. They stay fresh for about 4 – 5 days.
Daikon is high in vitamin C and Folacin. It is a great digestive food and contributes removal of animal products from the body. Reduction of swelling, this Japanese radish is also a great diurectic.
Kale is one of the highest rated alkalyzing vegetables. A super healthy anit-oxidant filled leafy green that works great in juicing.
Kohlrabi has a high nutrient count and remains low in calories. Kohlrabi contains potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Muscle and nerve functions receive assistance from the potassium content. Digestive aid is evident in the health benefits of eating kohlrabi.
Mustard Greens contain anti-inflammatory properties, anti-oxidants, and detox support. Pick mustard greens that are not yellowed or browned. Healthy greens are GREEN!
Radishes are low in calories and very vitamin C friendly. Very healthy with dietary fibers and a cancer protective. Radishes are not my favorite tasting juice veggie but they do work great in salads and along with some southwest cuisine.
Rutabaga, or Swedish turnip, is a digestive friend as well. These veggies are relatively low in calories and can aid in constipation issues, lowering cholesterol, and supplying vitamin C.
Turnips are a root veggie that has edible dark leafy greens. Turnips contain vitamin C in the root and Vitamin A and K in its dark leafy greens.
Watercress is at peak health when eaten raw and as fresh as possible. Watercress consists of beta-carotene, vitamins B, C, E, Folate, and Calcium. Watercress is actually grown in water! Who woulda thought?
Mallow vegetables include such as okra, cotton, and cacao. They are considered to be a flowering plant that include a couple thousand different species.
Cacao beans carry the highest amount of anti-oxidants. It also contains generous amounts of magnesium and calcium. Cacao contains anandamide ,which is a natural chemical, and an amino acid know as arginine. Beware that the theobromine, a stimulant, takes a small percentage of a cacao bean. Oxalic acid is a substance that maybe inflammatory for some with arthritis or bone problems.
Okra is sometimes referred to as lady fingers. They tend to look like long green witch fingers of some kind. Okra is low in calories and high in dietary fiber. It used often to thicken up soups or stew. It is also, like most fruits or vegetables, very helpful in the digestive system.
Morning glory vegetables are one lonely group. It’s just one lonely sweet potato! But what a vegetable it is!
Sweet Potatos have generous amounts of vitmans A, B6, C, and D. They also contain iron and magnesium. The beta carotene is responsible for its orange color. Low in calories, this healthy potato is actually a great fat burner. Think of it this way, you could do what you would with a regular potato. Make sweet potato fries in the oven. Mash or bake a sweet potato!
The final family of vegetable we will examine on this page are the grass vegetables. Members include wheat grass juice, bamboo shoots, and sweet corn.
Wheat Grass Juice
Barley Grass contains many nutrients and is considered an anti-oxidant. Digestion, cleansing of the blood, and immune system support make this super food a power house. How do you eat this stuff? Barley grass can be found in powdered form or you can decide to juice it.
Bamboo Shoots are low in calories and also promote digestive well-being. They can also help to lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Corn gets a bad rap because of it’s use as a side ingredient to many US food products. The simple fact of the matter is that corn is a vegetable and deserves to be eaten once in a while. I’ve heard corn described as little yellow sugar pellets, doesn’t digest well, it’s “starchy” and contains chemicals. Though it does provide healthy vitamins and minerals. I enjoy having corn with certain meals once in a while. One of my purposes of writing about every vegetable I could think of was to offer options to make life more interesting when eating healthy food. Don’t neglect your corn and potatoes if you like them!
Beans come in many different varieties! Kidney, lima, pinto, black, fava, chick peas, black-eyed peas, soy, green, and lentil are beans we may be familiar with. Beans are also a great fat burner carrying valuable amounts of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Dried beans or canned beans are how we most find beans. Of course canned beans are convenient but dried beans contain less sodium. This isn’t to say don’t eat canned beans. Do it like this if you can. Make dried beans when you have the time and use canned beans for time constraints. They are still low-carb, energy foods that carry many nutrients. If it’s a chili with kidney beans, a black bean and brown rice plate, hummus and carrots, edamame, a burrito with pinto beans, or lentil soup, then you’re certain to get some nutritional value.