Del Rosario loves eating vegetables and I enjoy educating others about their benefits.
Vegetables are an indispensable part of healthy eating—truly food for life. There are lots of benefits we can get from eating our daily intake of vegetables. Many veggies are:
- Rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, potassium, and other minerals.
- High in fibre content, which helps regulate bowel function.
- Rich in bioflavonoids and other compounds that help prevent diseases.
How many veggies are enough?
It is highly recommended that we eat a least five servings of vegetables daily.
A serving is a half cup of raw or cooked vegetables, a cup of leafy salad vegetables, or half a cup of vegetable juice. Nutritionists recommend choosing a variety of vegetables including raw and cooked ones; orange, red, dark green, and yellow colored ones; and allium vegetables such as onions and garlic.
When choosing vegetables, the main consideration should always be quality. This list features some different kinds of vegetables, along with some suggestions about buying and storing them so that you to get the most nutrition for your money.
- Artichokes: They are at their best when they have plump, compact, olive-green heads and are heavy for their size, with full fleshy, tightly closed scales or leaves. To prevent drying, wrap unwashed artichokes in a damp towel and store in plastic bag in the refrigerator. Artichokes provide vitamin C and are low in kilojoules.
- Asparagus: Always choose straight spears of uniform thickness with compact pointed tips. Round, plump spears are usually more tender than flat ones. Aside from vitamin C, they have some vitamin E and are high in riboflavin thiamin, potassium, and iron.
- Beans: There are three main groups of beans: green beans, runner beans, and broad. Most beans are available all year round. Fresh beans are usually at their best when small and young. Avoid tough, rubbery, or discoloured ones. Use within a few days. Beans are high in protein and carbohydrates. They are also a good source of vitamins A, B1, and B2.
- Bell Peppers/Capsicums: These are mild in taste and can be eaten fresh or cooked. In America, these are known as bell peppers. The three main types are green, red, and yellow. Green bell capsicums turn bright red when they mature. Many other types of peppers exist as well, such as the yellow banana capsicum/pepper. When buying any of these peppers, always look for firm, thick-fleshed, and well-shaped specimens with a uniform, glossy colour.
- Beetroot: These veggies are a deep, rich red. They can be served hot, cold, pickled, or in salads. These are available all year. Choose firm, smooth, globular tubers. Tubers can be refrigerated in the vegetable crisper for up to two weeks. This vegetable provides fibre, folate, and potassium.
- Broccoli: Available all year, it should be cooked lightly and quickly to retain its crispness. Buy broccoli with firm, compact clusters of closed flower buds, sage green to dark green coloring, and firm, tender, light green stalks. Avoid open yellow buds, as this is a sign of over-maturity.
- Brussels sprouts: Buy these as fresh as possible because older ones are more likely to have that strong, unpleasant "cabbage" flavour. They should be small and hard with tightly wrapped leaves. Avoid any that are turning yellow or brown or have loose leaves. It is better to buy them as you need them, but they will keep for several days in the fridge.
A kilojule and a calorie are two similar units of measurement for the energy that is stored in food.
- Cabbage: A fresh cabbage's outer leaves should be a fresh green or red colour depending on the variety. The crinkly types and red cabbages are generally preferred for salads and coleslaw. Cabbage is rich in vitamin A and C, folate, fibre, and potassium.
- Carrots: Carrots are rich in carotene—a substance that converts to vitamin A. These are available all year round. Always choose firm, straight, bright orange carrots.
- Celery: This is a plant of many uses and little waste. The leaves and dried seeds make flavourful seasonings. The outer ribs are best when cooked. The inner ribs or heart can be eaten raw.
- Eggplant: Known by its French name "aubergine" in the UK and much of Europe, the eggplant is a purple and pear-shaped vegetable. Choose firm, smooth plants that are heavy for their size and have no scars, wrinkles, or flabbiness. Small fruits will have more tender skins and fewer seeds than the larger ones and are excellent grilled whole. Refrigerate eggplant, and use within a week. Low in kilojoules, eggplant contains vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
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- Garlic: This pungent bulb is a member of the amaryllis family. Its juice contains allicin, a natural antibiotic. It's available all year round. When buying garlic, keep an eye out for firm and round bulbs with clear, papery skins, avoid any that are beginning to sprout. Bulbs will keep for weeks in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place.
- Ginger: This one is also available all year round. To prepare, simply peel away the skin with a sharp knife and grate or thinly slice according to the recipe. Ginger will keep in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for two or three months. Cut ends might grow mould, but that can easily be trimmed.
- Horseradish: Sometimes called "German mustard," it is grown for its sharp-flavoured white roots that contain a volatile oil. Fresh horseradish will keep in the refrigerator for up to three months. It is excellent with hot or cold beef, smoked trout or mackerel, or spread thinly on sandwiches with a pate.
- Kale: Most kale leaves have thick stems and robust leaves that form a head. Curly-leafed kale is the most common kind. Large, coarse-leafed kales are grown for cattle and sheep food. It is frequently teamed with fairly hot spices and is popular in many Indian dishes.
- Leeks: There are many varieties of leeks, but they all taste more or less the same. Always buy leeks that look fresh and healthy, meaning the white part should be firm and unblemished, and the leaves green and lively. It is best to buy them when you need them. It is important to wash them thoroughly before cooking, as dirt and grit lodges itself between the white section and the base.
- Lettuce: There are numerous varieties of this salad plant, including round lettuce, butterhead, crispheads, looseheads, little gem, and cos lettuce. Eat lettuce as soon as possible after purchasing. In the meantime, keep it in a cool, dark place such as the salad drawer of the fridge.
- Mushrooms: These are available all year round. Always buy clean, creamy white or light tan mushrooms. Avoid spongy, discoloured, or sweaty ones. Refrigerate, and use within a day or two. Wipe mushrooms clean, but do not peel or soak them. Mushrooms are an excellent low-kilojoule food.
- Okra: Commonly known as "ladies' fingers," this leafy green is grown in warm tropical regions. The most notable characteristic are its sticky consistency, which makes it a useful thickener for soups or stews. If steamed quickly, the pods will be tender and crisp without releasing their sticky juice. When buying okra, avoid tough, fibrous, or discolored pods. This plant is rich in vitamin C, folate, and magnesium. It also has a moderate amount of vitamin A and fibre.
- Onions: Onions are available all year and come in a variety of different colors and strengths. They contain a substance that releases when they are cut and causes the eyes to water quite painfully. Red, yellow, and sweet are the most common varieties. There are also shallots.
- Peas - Available almost all year round. Only buy fresh peas. if they are old they are bound to be disappointing and you would be better off buying them frozen.
- Potatoes - there are many varieties of potatoes and potatoes can be cook in different ways such as baking, boiling, chipping, mashing, roasting sauteing and make it into salad. It is good to always store in cool dry place. Potatoes are important source of carbohydrates..
- Radishes: These belong to the mustard family. They range from round and red to long and red or white. Radishes can be used as garnish or finely sliced and cooked with other vegetables. They are available all year round. Always look for firm, bright ones. Remove their leafy parts, and refrigerate in a plastic bag; use within a week. These are a good source of vitamin C.
- Sweet Corn: A variety of maize that has been developed for use as a fresh vegetable, it is sweeter than the common field corn. it is available frozen, both on the cob and in kernels; the kernels are also very popular canned.
- Sweet Potatoes: These are available all year and come in many varieties, but there are two basic types: the dry-fleshed, rather-mealy, pale-yellow-fleshed ones and the moist-fleshed ones with deep yellow or orange-red flesh. Sweet potatoes generally keep well when stored in a cool, dry place.
- Tomatoes: Few veggies are as ubiquitous as the tomato, which is available all year. Always look for firm. plump fruit; the fresher they look, the better. Refrigerate at once, or otherwise, they will become mushy. Tomatoes are excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A.
- Turnips: Surprisingly, these are a member of the cabbage family. The white-fleshed version with a purple top is the most common. Some varieties are grown especially for their leaves, which are richer in nutrients than the roots. Refrigerates turnips keep for long time.
W - Z
- Watercress: A delicate, round-leafed salad plant of the mustard family. It has a distinctive raw flavor that is both peppery and slightly pungent. Choose only tender, young leaves without tears and blemishes, and use as soon as possible.
- Zucchini: Also known as "courgette." They are also referred to as "vegetable marrows" in the UK. Green or yellow in color with fine edible skin when young, they are harvested before they grow too large. When fresh, they are also a source of vitamin C.