Healthy Liv­ing — Eat Veggies

Indi­vid­ual Uses and Ben­e­fits of Vegetables

Sim­i­lar to the arti­cle that pre­sented an exhaus­tive list of fruits and their ben­e­fits, this sec­tion will do the same by pre­sent­ing the uses and ben­e­fits of veg­eta­bles. There are var­i­ous com­mon and uncom­mon veg­eta­bles in this sec­tion but not every detail about each indi­vid­ual nutri­ent con­tained in each veg­etable is pre­sented. Like fruits, veg­eta­bles con­tain a wide vari­ety of nutri­ents and min­er­als and this sec­tion presents a con­densed and sim­pli­fied ver­sion to illus­trate the spe­cific health ben­e­fits of each item. Also, before read­ing this arti­cle, have a look at our Vit­a­min and Min­eral Guide, so you can be famil­iar with some of the vit­a­mins and min­er­als men­tioned in this arti­cle. Addi­tion­ally, there may be cer­tain unfa­mil­iar terms within this arti­cle, so use the Glos­sary of Terms while read­ing this article.



ü Alfalfa – con­tains Vit­a­mins A, B, C and K, as well sev­eral other essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als. It detox­i­fies the liver, aids in weight loss, treats menopause symp­toms, uri­nary tract infec­tions, high cho­les­terol and dia­betes, while also aid­ing in digestion.

ü Arti­choke – con­tains folic acid, Vit­a­mins B and C, iron and cop­per. It is also a good source of Vit­a­min K (good for bone health), fibre (good for con­sti­pa­tion) and potas­sium (good for con­trol­ling heart rate and blood pres­sure). Arti­chokes have antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties and have been known to reduce the risk of colon cancer.

ü Arugla – have anti-​cancer (against skin, lung and oral cav­ity can­cers specif­i­cally), anti-​bacterial and anti-​viral prop­er­ties. It pro­vides a good source of folic acid, Vit­a­mins A, B, C and K and also con­tains cop­per and iron.

ü Aspara­gus – con­tains folate and there­fore is a great veg­etable for main­tain­ing good heart health and has also been shown to pre­vent cog­ni­tive decline. It is a good source of fibre, Vit­a­mins A, C, E and K and con­tains high amounts of asparagines which help the body to get rid of excess flu­ids and salts.


ü Bam­boo shoots – con­tain iron, cop­per and potas­sium and are rich in B vit­a­mins. They help to con­trol the body’s heart rate and blood pres­sure and its fibre con­tent can reduce colon and rec­tal can­cer risk.

ü Basella (vine Spinach) – a good source of antiox­i­dants and Vit­a­mins A, B and C. It aids in diges­tion and eases con­sti­pa­tion and is also a good source of min­er­als such as potas­sium, iron and cop­per to name a few.

ü Beans – very rich in dietary fibre and Vit­a­min A. They also con­tain good amounts of folate, Vit­a­mins B6 and C and iron. Beans help to lower cho­les­terol, offer some pro­tec­tion against var­i­ous eye prob­lems and also have antiox­i­dant properties.

ü Beets – con­tain Vit­a­mins A and C, potas­sium, cal­cium, iron, folate and fibre. Red beets specif­i­cally con­tain beta­cyanin, which can pro­tect against colon can­cer. They are excel­lent for detox­i­fy­ing the blood, offer pro­tec­tion to the liver and bile ducts and have been shown to be a great aid in blood oxy­gena­tion thus help­ing in enhanc­ing exer­cise per­for­mance. Beet juice helps alle­vi­ate men­strual dis­tur­bances and menopause symp­toms as well.

ü Bell Pep­pers – have a high amount of beta carotene and carotenoids which act as strong antiox­i­dants in the body. They are also rich in Vit­a­min C, which aids in the heal­ing of cuts and keep­ing teeth and gums healthy and Vit­a­min A which helps main­tain healthy eyes and skin.

ü Bit­ter gourd – good source of Vit­a­mins A, B and C and flavonoids such as beta carotene and alpha carotene. It can help to reduce blood sugar lev­els and aids in diges­tion; also has antiox­i­dant properties.

ü Broc­coli – rich in Vit­a­min C (actu­ally has more than an orange!), cal­cium, fibre and Vit­a­min A; con­tains anti-​tumour prop­er­ties and a health pro­mot­ing com­pound (sul­foraphane) that can help fight can­cer. It also has antiox­i­dant and detox­i­fy­ing properties.

ü Bok Choy (Chi­nese Cab­bage) – has antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties; con­tains a col­lec­tion of vit­a­mins and plant chem­i­cals that help pro­tect against breast, colon and prostate can­cer, while reduc­ing cho­les­terol lev­els. It con­tains vit­a­min A, C and K, and is also a good source of the B vitamins.

ü Brus­sels Sprout – boosts the body’s immune sys­tem and pro­tects against a vari­ety of dis­eases includ­ing malig­nant tumours.


ü Cab­bage – anti-​bacterial, anti-​cancer, anti-​inflammatory and antiox­i­dant veg­etable. It is rich in sul­fur which helps to purify the blood.

ü Cac­tus pears – has antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties due to its beta carotene and Vit­a­min C content.

ü Car­rot – this veg­etable has the rich­est source of beta carotene and is an excel­lent source of antiox­i­dants. Beta carotenes help to main­tain healthy skin, eyes and pro­tect against cer­tain kinds of can­cer (lung, breast and colon). Car­rots also boost the immune sys­tem and its rich fibre con­tent means it is also good for main­tain­ing bowel health. The Vit­a­min A con­tent in the car­rot means it can be con­sid­ered anti-​aging veg­etable as it helps pre­vent pre­ma­ture wrin­kling, acne, dry skin, blem­ishes and uneven skin tone.

ü Cas­sava – young cas­sava are espe­cially good sources of pro­teins and Vit­a­min K. It also con­tains some B vit­a­mins and is a chief source of var­i­ous min­er­als such as cop­per and iron and potassium.

ü Cau­li­flower – restricts the activ­ity of cancer-​causing agents in the body.

ü Cel­ery – high in Vit­a­min C and thus is use­ful in reduc­ing the symp­toms of the cold. It can reduce hyper­ten­sion and high blood pres­sure and also helps to rehy­drate the body mak­ing it good to con­sume post-​exercise. Cel­ery has high lev­els of sil­i­con which aids in the strength­en­ing of joints, bones, arter­ies and con­nec­tive tis­sues and can help to relieve con­sti­pa­tion and aids in detox­i­fi­ca­tion. It has anti-​cancer and anti-​inflammatory properties.

ü Chard – anti-​inflammatory veg­etable. High in Vit­a­min B6, E and K (which helps to clot the blood and pre­vent frac­tur­ing of bones), and also con­tains cal­cium. It is a good veg­etable for dia­bet­ics as it pro­tects the kid­neys from dam­age and it has anti-​inflammatory and antiox­i­dant properties.

ü Chilli Pep­pers (also known as jalapeño and cayenne pep­per) – very rich in Vit­a­min C, pro­tein, beta carotene, cal­cium and iron to name a few. They can aid in the treat­ment of arthri­tis, asthma, blood cir­cu­la­tion, haem­or­rhoids, obe­sity and dia­betes and have great ben­e­fits to the cir­cu­la­tory and diges­tive system.

ü Col­lard greens – high in chloro­phyll, Vit­a­min A, C, beta carotene and man­ganese; have antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer properties.

ü Corn – reduces the risks of haem­or­rhoids, heart dis­ease and colon can­cer. Con­tains a num­ber of the essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als includ­ing the B vit­a­mins, Vit­a­min A, phos­pho­rus, zinc and iron. Corn has antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties, low­ers cho­les­terol, pre­vents anaemia and con­trols diabetes.

ü Cucum­bers – are high in water and potas­sium and aid in low­er­ing cho­les­terol. They are a great source of Vit­a­min A, C and K and help to improve hair, skin and nails.


ü Dan­de­lion – high in Vit­a­min K, dan­de­lion is a diuretic. It is very good for the bones and kidneys.


ü Egg­plant – has anti-​cancer properties.

ü Ele­cam­pane – this mem­ber of the daisy fam­ily has been used as a diges­tive aid and to set­tle upset stom­achs. It con­tains a chem­i­cal called alan­to­lac­tone that can be used to expel worms and par­a­sites from the diges­tive sys­tem. This veg­etable has also been proven to be effec­tive in treat­ing res­pi­ra­tory ail­ments such as asthma and bron­chi­tis. In addi­tion it has anti-​inflammatory and expec­to­rant properties.

ü Endive (esca­role) – the high fibre con­tent in this veg­etable can help reduce glu­cose and cho­les­terol lev­els in those who suf­fer from obe­sity and dia­betes. It con­tains Vit­a­mins A and B and var­i­ous min­er­als and has antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer properties.


ü Fen­nel – con­tains Vit­a­min C, folate, potas­sium and fibre. It has antiox­i­dant, anti-​cancer and anti-​inflammatory prop­er­ties and is great for car­dio­vas­cu­lar and colon health. Fen­nel can be used to treat diges­tive dis­or­ders, gas and intesti­nal cramps; relieves the symp­toms of menopause and has some suc­cess in treat­ing asthma, depres­sion, heart­burn, high blood pres­sure and decreased libido.

ü Fenu­greek – aids in the health of the skin, res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem and pan­creas. High in Vit­a­mins A, C and also the B vit­a­mins; fenu­greek also acts as a detox­i­fier for the body.

ü Fid­dle­head ferns – have anti-​inflammatory, antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties and are very high in Vit­a­mins A and C. They help ease the symp­toms of cough and cold.


ü Gar­lic – is a nat­ural antibi­otic (it has been sci­en­tif­i­cally proven that gar­lic is 100 times more effec­tive than reg­u­lar antibi­otic med­ica­tion in killing bac­te­ria from food poi­son­ing), a fungi­cide, a cleanser and an antiox­i­dant. It can help treat colds, can­cer, arthri­tis, sore throats and aids in detox­i­fy­ing the liver. Gar­lic pro­vides great sup­port to the body’s immune, cir­cu­la­tory and uri­nary sys­tems and is a good source of folic acid, Vit­a­min K and iron.

ü Gin­ger – great for treat­ing colds, sore throat, men­strual cramps, diges­tive prob­lems and bron­chi­tis. It has anti­sep­tic, anti-​inflammatory, antiox­i­dant and expec­to­rant prop­er­ties (which explains why it is good for colds). Gin­ger aids in low­er­ing blood pres­sure and has been known to treat nau­sea and nau­sea related issues such as motion sick­ness and morn­ing sickness.


ü Horse­rad­ish – pro­vides a good source of dietary fibre and also con­tains good sources of the essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als. It aids in diges­tion and can help remove harm­ful sub­stances from body. It has anti-​inflammatory, anti-​cancer, antiox­i­dant and detox­i­fy­ing properties.

Assorted veggies



ü Jicama – high in fibre, cal­cium, phos­pho­rus and Vit­a­min C and also has antiox­i­dant properties.


ü Kale – has antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties (for cer­tain types) and is great for the skin and eyes. It has been known to reduce the risk of coro­nary artery dis­ease and also detox­i­fies the body and keeps the liver healthy. Kale is high in Vit­a­mins A, C and K, cal­cium, iron, chloro­phyll, and also con­tains potas­sium and iron.

ü Kohlrabi – con­tains Vit­a­min C, cal­cium, and iron. This veg­etable boosts the immune sys­tem and pre­vents can­cer and heart disease.


ü Leeks – have a high water con­tent and also have antiox­i­dant and antibi­otic properties.

ü Let­tuce – excel­lent source of Vit­a­mins A, C, K and a few of the B vit­a­mins includ­ing folate. It has ant-​inflammatory, anti­spas­modic and expec­to­rant prop­er­ties and has been found to be use­ful in treat­ing ulcers, con­sti­pa­tion and insomnia.


ü Mashua – has antibi­otic and diuretic prop­er­ties and can be used to treat kid­ney dis­ease, elim­i­nate blad­der and kid­ney stones, skin ulcers and lice. Tends to have anaphro­disiac effects, anti-​cancer and antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties. Essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als such as Vit­a­min C, cal­cium and iron can be found in this vegetable.

ü Mizuna – pop­u­lar Japan­ese leafy veg­etable. High in many essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als and has antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer properties.

ü Mush­rooms – immune sys­tem boost­ers with anti-​cancer, antiox­i­dant, anti-​hypertensive, anti-​viral, anti-​bacterial, anti-​parasitic prop­er­ties. They also help to lower the cho­les­terol, pre­vent blood clots by thin­ning the blood and are rich in all the essen­tial vit­a­mins and minerals.

ü Mus­tard greens – excel­lent source of Vit­a­min A; keep eyes and skin healthy and pro­tect the body from infections.



ü Okra – rich in fibre and thus aids in reliev­ing con­sti­pa­tion. It is a great veg­etable for those feel­ing low on energy, weak and depressed. Okra offers pro­tec­tion against dia­betes, aids in good eye health and boosts the immune sys­tem. It also has anti-​cancer prop­er­ties, specif­i­cally colon, liver, kid­ney, lung and oral cav­ity cancers.

ü Onions – have antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties; also high in chromium which low­ers blood sugar lev­els and they are also great for pre­serv­ing bone health and reduc­ing the risk of osteoporosis.


ü Pea sprouts – con­tain high lev­els of Vit­a­mins A and C and folic acid and also con­tains Vit­a­mins B and E, cal­cium, iron and potas­sium and amino acids. They have antiox­i­dants and anti-​inflammatory properties.

ü Parsnips – con­tain Vit­a­mins C, B, E and K, pro­tein, iron and cal­cium and also pro­vide a great source of sil­i­con which helps in keep­ing bones healthy. They reduce the risk of osteo­poro­sis, aid in blood clot­ting, boost the immune sys­tem, act as a diuretic, help relieve con­sti­pa­tion and lower high blood pres­sure. Parsnips are also use­ful for pre­vent­ing and treat­ing anaemia in preg­nancy and reduce the risk of birth defects in new­borns. They have anti-​inflammatory and anti-​cancer properties.

ü Pota­toes – ease indi­ges­tion and con­sti­pa­tion and con­tain most of the essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als. How­ever, pota­toes have been known to con­tain pes­ti­cide residues so it is best to use only organ­i­cally grown pota­toes. They are best con­sumed with the skin on to pre­serve their nutrients.



ü Radishes – great for detox­i­fy­ing the body and for diges­tion. It has anti-​viral and anti-​mucus prop­er­ties, mean­ing it is great for colds.

ü Ram­pion – con­tains cal­cium, iron and phos­pho­rus. This strength­ens and puri­fies the body and has anti-​inflammatory prop­er­ties; has been known to treat angina.

ü Rhubarb – low in sodium and sat­u­rated fat which means it is good for the pre­ven­tion of heart dis­eases. It is an excel­lent source of Vit­a­min C and K, cal­cium and fibre. Rhubarb boosts the immune sys­tem, strength­ens bones and teeth, low­ers cho­les­terol and can offer pro­tec­tion against dia­betes. It also has antiox­i­dant and anti-​cancer properties.

ü Rocket – boosts the immune sys­tem, and pro­tects the heart from dis­eases. Also has anti-​bacterial, anti-​viral and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties (specif­i­cally against prostate, breast cer­vi­cal, colon and ovar­ian can­cer). It is a good source of the B vit­a­mins, as well as Vit­a­mins A and C, cal­cium and iron.


ü Sal­sify – pro­vides an excel­lent source of dietary fibre and also con­tains essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als such as Vit­a­mins A, C, folate and calcium.

ü Scal­lions – these have anti can­cer properties.

ü Spinach – con­tains 12 dif­fer­ent fla­vanoid com­pounds that act as antiox­i­dants and are use­ful against some spe­cific malig­nant tumours; boosts the immune sys­tem as well. It also con­tains iron, potas­sium and vit­a­mins A, K, C and the B-​vitamin folate. Spinach is one of the high­est sources of lutein, which serves to pro­tect the eye from dis­or­ders and fights cancer.

ü Squash – rich in potas­sium and Vit­a­min A and keeps skin healthy. It also pro­tects against infec­tions, pre­vents mus­cle cramps and keeps blood pres­sure low.

ü Straw­ber­ries – high in Vit­a­min C and there­fore has antiox­i­dant, anti-​viral and anti-​cancer prop­er­ties. They are good for low­er­ing blood pres­sure and boost­ing the immune sys­tem and also con­tain Vit­a­min K (good for bone health).

ü Sugar snap peas – good source of dietary fibre, Vit­a­mins A, C and K and potas­sium. They are good for weight con­trol and have antiox­i­dant properties.

ü Sun­flower sprouts – these are rich in pro­tein, linoleic acid, Vit­a­mins A, B, D and E and also con­tain cal­cium iron and phos­pho­rous. Its high chloro­phyll con­tent means that it can purify the blood as well. It is a great veg­etable for the skin and hair, it detox­i­fies the body and has been found to be good for brain functioning.

ü Swede –good source of fibre, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It is high in Vit­a­min C, the B vit­a­mins and also con­tains Vit­a­mins A, E and K. Min­er­als such as iron, zinc, cop­per are found in swede. It also enhances sta­mina, aids in diges­tion, increases the milk pro­duc­tion in lac­tat­ing moth­ers, pro­tects the eyes from dis­eases such as cataract, low­ers blood pres­sure, boosts the immune sys­tem and pre­vents can­cer and heart disease.

ü Sweet pota­toes – con­tain all the essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als and has less sodium that the reg­u­lar potato. Due to its high flavonoid con­tent, it can help pro­tect from lung and oral cav­ity cancers.


ü Tomato – this is a great source of Vit­a­min C and potas­sium. It pro­motes good men­tal and phys­i­cal health and has anti-​cancer and antiox­i­dant properties.

ü Turmeric – mem­ber of the gin­ger fam­ily, it can be used to help fight infec­tions and ease diges­tive prob­lems. Turmeric has anti-​cancer and anti-​inflammatory prop­er­ties and con­tains iron, man­ganese and a pig­ment called cur­cumin, which is respon­si­ble for its anti-​inflammatory properties.

ü Turnips – con­tain so many nutri­ents that it can help pre­vent or heal a wide vari­ety of health con­di­tions includ­ing heart dis­ease and cancer.




$1ü Water­cress – high in Vit­a­min C and cal­cium and also con­tains Vit­a­min A, B6, E and K. It reduces DNA dam­age to the blood cells but also enables the cells to fight off any fur­ther dam­age to the DNA. It is also good for the eyes, blood, liver, skin, hair and nails.

ü Wheat Grass – high in chloro­phyll mean­ing it is ideal for fight­ing infec­tions. It con­tains beta carotene, Vit­a­mins B12, C and E, cal­cium and folic acid and also has antiox­i­dant, anti-​inflammatory, anti-​cancer and antibi­otic properties.



ü Yams – rich in vit­a­min C, cop­per, iron, mag­ne­sium and man­ganese and con­tain small amounts of some of the B vit­a­mins. They offer pro­tec­tion against can­cer, inflam­ma­tion, coughs and colds and can also reg­u­late cho­les­terol lev­els. Yams also have antiox­i­dant prop­er­ties and can pro­vide a source of energy.


ü Zuc­chi­nis – great for Vit­a­min A and niacin (Vit­a­min B3). They have antiox­i­dant, anti-​cancer and anti-​inflammatory prop­er­ties and can also act as a diuretic and offer pro­tec­tion to the eyes. Zuc­chini juice can also help pre­vent bone brittleness.

As you can see, veg­eta­bles have fan­tas­tic health ben­e­fits that can enable us to live long and healthy lives. Both veg­eta­bles and fruits should be con­sumed daily espe­cially for those suf­fer­ing from var­i­ous ail­ments as they can aid in both heal­ing and recov­ery. If we have missed any veg­etable from our list, please let us know so we can include it in any future updated ver­sions of this article.

©Arti­cle of Caribbean Dreams Mag­a­zine
©Pho­tos from the​science​ofeat​ing​.com

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