Anyone looking to pursue a healthy diet knows that upping their vegetable intake is key. Eating healthy vegetables can bring numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestive health, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, better bone health, better immune function, healthy eyesight, and more.
Nutrient dense vegetables are a great way to improve overall health which is why so many wellness professionals encourage people to take advantage of their nutritional benefits in their daily diet.
If you’re looking to get healthy, then this list is for you! Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the best nutrient dense vegetables that all people should consider incorporating into their daily diet.
Why Should I Eat More Vegetables?
Vegetables have a lot of benefits for improving overall health, but that doesn’t always mean people are excited to eat them.
We know vegetables might not be the most exciting thing to eat, especially for those who have never had them as a part of their regular diet before. However, once you take a look at the benefits eating more vegetables can bring, it’s hard to not want to start.
Before we dive into the vegetables you should consider eating daily, let’s take a look at the benefits you’ll see when you begin to eat more vegetables.
Regulate Blood Sugar
One of the biggest benefits of eating more vegetables is their impact on improving blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can be caused by a number of things, but it is most often associated with conditions like diabetes and/or obesity. Eating more vegetables is an easy way to work on these issues, and improve overall health.
How do vegetables do this? Many of the vegetables on our list are high in fiber while low in carbs and calories. This means these foods can work to fill you up while preventing blood sugar spikes and keeping you fuller longer. Eating vegetables can help keep you satisfied while eating fewer calories, leading to lower blood sugar and weight loss.
Lower Blood Pressure
Many of the vegetables on our list are great for those looking to lower their blood pressure. High in things like potassium, vegetables can work to improve heart and blood vessel function, overall lowering blood pressure.
More Vitamin C, A, and K
A majority of the vegetables on our list are high in vitamins and minerals, with the most common ones being vitamin c, vitamin a, and vitamin k. These vitamins have many benefits, improving bone health, gut health, immune system response, and more.
Reduce Cancer Risk
Vegetables are also rich in antioxidants and nutrients that can reduce the risk of developing cancer. This is especially true of cruciferous veggies, which have been noted to have cancer fighting properties.
Improve Fiber Intake
Vegetables that are high in fiber are a great addition to any diet, especially those looking to work on gut health. Increased fiber intake can do wonders to encourage regular bowel movements and the production of good gut bacteria.
Improve Immune System
Vegetables are also great for improving overall immune health. This is because of high levels of vitamin c, a key nutrient needed to keep a person’s immune system in top shape. (In fact, did you know broccoli has 98% more vitamin c than an orange?)
Improve Brain Function
There have also been studies done that indicate eating vegetables is key if you want to improve brain health. Vegetables high in antioxidants and things like folate can help to deliver nutrients to the brain. In addition, vegetables’ impact on heart health and blood vessel health can improve blood flow to the brain, and thus, overall brain health.
The Best Vegetables to Eat Daily
Ready to dive in? Here are the 15 best vegetables to eat daily for better overall health!
Leafy greens like spinach are packed with essential vitamins, which is why they’re often considered some of the healthiest vegetables out there! There are many health benefits that come along with eating Spinach which makes eating more of it worthwhile.
Spinach has a ton of antioxidants, which are known to help reduce the risk of disease. Spinach is also packed with vitamins, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which are beneficial for bone health, heart health, and eye health.
Best of all, this nutrient-dense vegetable is also super low calorie (just one cup of spinach is around 7 calories), making it a great choice for those looking to pursue weight loss.
Broccoli is a much-loved vegetable, and for good reason. This little plant is one of nature’s most nutrient dense vegetables, and a great addition to any diet.
Many of the compounds in broccoli, like glucosinolate and sulforaphane, have been linked to studies that indicate they can reduce cancer risk. There have also been studies that link broccoli to lowering inflammation, and conditions like heart disease.
Eating broccoli can give you a ton of vitamin c and k, and up your overall intake of essential vitamins and minerals. It is also a high fiber food, supporting good gut health and promoting the creation of healthy gut bacteria.
When most people think about the potential health benefits of carrots, they probably think of the ever-popular claim that carrots can improve eyesight and overall eye health.
We’re happy to report this isn’t unfounded! Carrots really are great for eye health, thanks to their high levels of vitamin a, beta carotene, and lutein. With these nutrients, you can improve eye health and lower your chances of eye disease risk.
Carrots also have other health benefits. Some antioxidants in carrots have been linked to reducing cancer risk. High levels of potassium can be great for achieving lower blood pressure. Rich in fiber, carrots can aid with good gut health and achieving a lower weight. And, with higher levels of vitamin c and vitamin k, carrots are also great to support immune function, and bone health.
If you’re looking for a nutrient dense vegetable that is super low calorie, then bell peppers are what you’ve been waiting for. Many people go to bell peppers as a satisfying, low calorie vegetable to eat during weight loss. These vegetables can be used in all kinds of recipes and can keep someone feeling full without eating as many carbs.
Bell peppers are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin a, vitamin c, and vitamin b, as well as high levels of fiber and potassium. These vitamins are amazing for supporting better immune function, lowering the risk of chronic disease, improving eye health, and helping to develop a better metabolism.
Garlic has been a staple in both cooking and medicine, thanks to its many nutritional benefits.
The biggest health benefits of garlic come in the form of a unique compound called allicin. When you chop, crush, or slice garlic allicin will form, which works to both create the distinct taste garlic is known for, and release a ton of garlic health benefits.
Allicins’ biggest benefit is the way it’s used to reduce the risk of heart disease and benefit heart health. Garlic is great for heart disease prevention overall, as allicin can be used to reduce blood pressure, reduce blood sugar, and reduce cholesterol levels.
Allicin has also been linked to improving immune function and reducing the risk of developing cancer. The use of garlic in the form of dietary supplements, for example, in pill form, also has benefits. Studies have shown taking garlic supplements can help in weight loss, reduce belly fat, and leads to a reduced risk of developing conditions like diabetes.
Brussels sprouts, a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, is another great vegetable choice that is high in nutrient density.
Brussels sprouts are super rich in vitamin k, which makes them great for improving bone health. Their high levels of vitamin c help to support better immune function. High amounts of fiber make them great for improved gut health. It also has many other beneficial nutrients, including vitamin b6, magnesium, iron, potassium, thiamine, and phosphorus.
Cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts are also great to help someone regulate blood sugar levels, and decrease their risk of developing conditions like diabetes. This is thanks to their high fiber content.
Incorporating green peas into your diet is a simple and efficient way to improve your overall health. Though small, green peas are packed with beneficial nutrients and minerals to help your body get better.
This starchy vegetable contains high levels of fiber, protein, and essential vitamins like vitamins a, c and k.
Because of their high fiber count, peas are a great vegetable to consider if you’re trying to improve gut health and digestion. Fiber-rich foods can help to support beneficial bacteria in the gut, and promote better bowel movements.
Nutrients like iron found in green peas are great for combatting fatigue, reducing the risk of anemia, and improving strength. Their high levels of vitamin c are great for boosting your immune system. Peas are also rich in lutein, which can help eye health by reducing the risk of developing issues like vision loss and cataracts.
In general, dark leafy greens like kale are known as being some of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. Kale has rapidly become one of the more popular dark leafy greens out there and is a staple in many diets meant to improve overall health.
Kale is a leafy vegetable known for its high nutrient density, and for being rich in beneficial antioxidants. One cup of kale contains a ton of vitamin k, vitamin c, vitamin a, vitamin b6, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, and all in just 33 calories.
There are studies that have been done on kale that show just how beneficial it is in one’s diet. Drinking kale juice, for example, has been linked to lowering blood pressure, reducing blood sugar levels, and lowering cholesterol.
As kale can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, it’s a great diet inclusion for those looking to improve heart health, and lower the risk of developing heart disease.
Kale is also one of the most nutrient dense leafy greens when it comes to vitamin k, containing 7 times the daily amount recommended by wellness professionals. Vitamin k is great for reducing the risk of issues like blood clotting and issues with your bones.
Another beneficial leafy green to incorporate into your diet is swiss chard. This vegetable is also nutrient dense, with many benefits that will improve a person’s overall health.
Swiss chard contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to prevent disease. For example, high levels of beta carotene found in swiss chard have been linked to reducing the risk of developing diseases like lung cancer.
Swiss chard is also high in fiber, which is good for gut health and lowers blood sugar. High levels of vitamin k are good for bone health. It’s also rich in potassium and magnesium, which can promote better blood pressure. And, like most dark leafy greens, eating swiss chard can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Beets are another delicious, nutrient dense vegetable that makes a great addition to any diet. They are filled with essential vitamins and minerals while still being low in calories, which means they can both offer positive health benefits and assist in weight loss.
Beets are primarily known for their role in promoting good heart health, thanks to high levels of folate. This is due to beet’s ability to lower blood pressure. When you eat beets, your body converts the beets’ nitrates into nitric oxide, which works to keep blood vessels dilated and lower blood pressure.
Beets also have some anti inflammatory properties, including reducing kidney inflammation and helping to reduce joint inflammation. Anti inflammatory vegetables can be beneficial to those struggling with liver issues, heart disease, obesity, and other problems.
There is also evidence that beets can support the health of your brain. High levels of manganese can promote better brain function. Their ability to improve blood flow also helps to get more blood to the brain, which can improve brain function.
It’s important to note these benefits don’t only exist in the beets themselves! You should also consider eating beet greens for the health benefits we discussed above.
Asparagus is another one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your diet. Just one cup of asparagus is only 40 calories but contains 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and beneficial vitamins and nutrients.
As asparagus is high in fiber and protein, it’s a great vegetable to help a person stay feeling full when eating for weight loss. It’s also relatively low in calories, which makes it great diet food. High levels of b vitamins, like vitamin b6, can also assist by lowering blood sugar and reducing the risk of developing diabetes.
Asparagus also has many benefits for kidney health. This vegetable is a diuretic, meaning it can help the body flush excess fluid and salt. This is great for lowering blood pressure, removing toxins from the kidney, and preventing kidney stones.
Asparagus is also extremely high in folate, which is especially beneficial for pregnant women. Folate (also known as one of the b vitamins, vitamin b9) is needed to promote healthy cell division and proper fetal development.
Collard greens are a dark leafy green in the same family as vegetables like kale and cabbage and have a ton of nutritional benefits. It is most noted for its high levels of vitamin c, vitamin k, beta carotene, calcium, and folate.
Collard greens have a higher amount of calcium than any other plant, serving a key role in improving bone health, and improving muscle and nerve function. There are also studies that indicate greens like collard greens have cancer fighting properties, aid digestion, give you better skin and hair, and lower cholesterol levels.
While many people might see the word potato and automatically think of high carb and starch counts, there are still some nutritional benefits to be found!
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, thanks to beta carotene that the body converts to vitamin a, helping to keep eyes healthy, improve your immune system, and help your overall heart and kidney health. (Fun fact: It’s beta carotene that gives sweet potatoes their distinct orange color!) They also are rich in b vitamins, vitamin c, and other beneficial nutrients.
Though sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, they are a complex carb. The body will take longer to break down sweet potatoes than other kinds of carbohydrates, which leads to a smaller spike in blood sugar when consumed.
The fiber in sweet potatoes (6.6 grams of fiber in one cup) is also beneficial for gut health, and better bowel regularity. This in turn can lead to less inflammation.
Cauliflower is another nutrient rich vegetable that is extremely versatile, and easy to incorporate into an existing diet. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes vegetables like broccoli, collard greens, kale, and cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables are known for being super nutrient rich, and great sources of fiber.
Cauliflower is high in fiber, which can improve digestive health and other gut issues. It also means you’ll feel much more full after eating it, which makes them great for weight loss. This is why many people will replace carbs with cauliflower (for example, eating cauliflower rice instead of real rice), to stay full while eating fewer carbohydrates.
Cauliflower is also rich in antioxidants linked to cancer prevention and has anti inflammatory properties. High levels of vitamin c can help immune function, and high levels of choline can work to support a better metabolism and improve brain function.
Red cabbage is another cruciferous vegetable that makes a great addition to a person’s diet. Just one cup of red cabbage has a majority of a person’s daily intake of vitamins like vitamin a, vitamin c, vitamin k, and b vitamins.
The vitamin content in red cabbage is great for cancer prevention, supporting your immune system, and reducing the risk of developing heart disease. The fiber in red cabbage is also great for aiding digestive health, with regular bowel movements. And, like other fiber rich cruciferous veggies on our list, red cabbage can help you stay fuller longer, which is great for weight loss.