Surprising Health Benefits of 7 Common Vegetables

In-season and nutrition-packed, these juicy farmer’s market finds have remarkable health benefits:

Arugula

Argula food value

This bitter, satisfying green and nutritional rock star is sometimes called “rocket” salad. A natural detoxifier, it’s also high in vitamins A, K and folic acid, and it’s a good source of zinc, potassium, calcium and iron. Arugula plays well with its spring mix cousins and baby greens – which can help sweeten things up. Arugula has also been linked to gastric ulcer relief.

Beets

food value of beetsDon’t be fooled by these humble roots. The simple ‘garden’ or ‘table’ beet may protect you from coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol and offer anti-aging effects. Raw beets offer a whopping 27 percent of the dietary recommendations for folate. Enjoy them raw, bake them into chips or lightly steam or roast for less than an hour because they lose nutrients quickly.

Broccoli

food value of brocolliThis cruciferous veggie offers a good crunch when eaten raw – and tastes great steamed too. It provides vitamins A and C, folic acid, fiber and calcium. Studies suggest it may play a role in cancer prevention as well as reducing both blood pressure and cholesterol. Try young broccoli sprouts, which reportedly have up to fifty times the sulforaphane found in mature broccoli florets.

Basil

food value of basilPrized as a “holy herb” in some parts of the world, this aromatic leaf is an antioxidant all-star with both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Some studies suggest it may help protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration and may even help ease arthritis pain. Keep the flavor in your summer dishes by picking up a plant at a farmer’s market to grow at home.

Asparagus

food value of asparagusFeeling bloated? Try asparagus. As a natural diuretic, it can help flush water out of your body. This spear-shaped veggie is a free radical soldier that may help you live a longer life. It’s also a real nutrient powerhouse, offering fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K and chromium. To help preserve its nutrients, wrap the ends in a damp paper towel before storing in the fridge.

Radish

food value of radishThis crunchy, slightly spicy veggie is related to wasabi, which sushi lovers may know as the pale green root used to make Japanese horseradish. Radish is a root vegetable rich in folic acid, vitamin C and anthocyanins – a trio of cancer fighters. It’s also low-cal; a whole cup of sliced radishes only has 19 calories. Try variety: daikon, black spanish, green or watermelon radishes.

Ginger

food value of gingerGinger may be powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flush or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract. A study done on diabetic rats found that those rats given ginger had a reduced incidence of diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage).

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