Did you know that there are healthy foods that not only provide nutrients but can also fight diseases? Why don’t you include green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, dark lettuce, kale, and spinach in your diet? You can also benefit from pantry staples like garlic, onions, and tomatoes.
We all know that vegetables are healthy, but these eight disease-fighting foods can also help alleviate and prevent different illnesses. They are even easy to enjoy because these foods are versatile to prepare. And best of all, you can grow them yourself in a greenhouse.
Broccoli is a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Because of these various compounds that you can find in broccoli, one can only assume that it will have many uses. These include lowering the risk of cancer, reducing inflammation, reducing the risk of diabetes, and preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Benefits of broccoli
Fiber and protein
Broccoli is high in fiber, which makes it great for those who are trying to lose weight. A cup of broccoli contains 2.4 grams of fiber. This will help fill you up and prevent cravings throughout the day.
Broccoli also provides protein in a higher amount than most vegetables. A cup of broccoli provides 2.5 grams of protein. In turn, this vegetable makes it a good option for those who want to up their protein consumption but also trying to avoid meat.
Vitamins and minerals
Broccoli makes a good source of vitamins C, B9, A, K, and minerals like potassium, manganese, and iron. A cup of broccoli can provide you 45 to 54% of vitamin C necessary for the immune system. At the same time, Vitamin B9 or folate can be extra beneficial for pregnant women because it aids normal cell function and tissue growth.
Broccoli is also rich in vitamins A and K for supporting eye and bone health. As for its mineral contents, potassium helps prevent cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, manganese works as an antioxidant and even plays a role in blood sugar regulation.
Lastly, you can get your iron and support your hemoglobin with broccoli.
Phytochemicals and antioxidants
The humble broccoli is packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants. Phytochemicals are great for the immune system. And like most cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is also a good source of antioxidants.
This is also the same reason why various studies have concluded that broccoli has anti-cancer properties. More so, this vegetable has a compound that shows antitumor properties.
Uses of broccoli
Lowering the risk of cancer
Broccoli is gaining popularity because of its potential in lowering the risk of cancer. This is because it’s packed with antioxidants that can prevent cell damage. Remember that it’s also a good source of fiber, which has shown its effects on lowering the risk of colon and colorectal cancer.
Broccoli has anti-inflammatory effects because it has an antioxidant called sulforaphane. This is beneficial for those experiencing inflammation, whether from metabolic syndrome, an autoimmune condition, or a simple infection. In fact, broccoli sprouts have shown its anti-inflammatory effect on overweight people.
Reducing the risk of diabetes
Besides lowering the risk of cancer, broccoli has also shown its positive result on people with diabetes. It has effects on the blood sugar levels, thanks to its antioxidants and fiber content. Therefore, broccoli can both reduce the risk of diabetes and manage the blood sugar levels of patients with such conditions.
Preventing cardiovascular diseases
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are full of antioxidants that can prevent atherosclerosis. In particular, broccoli has sulforaphane that is responsible for this trait. Atherosclerosis is related to causing other conditions like stroke and heart attack, so preventing it will also protect you from dangerous diseases.
How to enjoy broccoli
You can enjoy broccoli, both raw and cooked. For example, you can add it in a smoothie or salad raw. But broccoli is also tasty roasted, steamed, or as an addition to sauces. It goes well with a lot of other ingredients such as olive oil, chili pepper, cheese, garlic, or even just some salt.
Cabbage is an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It is also beneficial for the body by promoting regular bowel movement, relieving swelling and pain, and reducing cancer risk. And best of all, it’s easy to enjoy cabbage because it’s a versatile food ingredient.
Benefits of cabbage
A cup of cabbage can provide you 2 grams of fiber. Similar to how you can take advantage of broccoli, eating cabbage will help you feel full. We also know how fiber is beneficial for the digestive and cardiovascular system.
Fiber is ideal for promoting healthy and regular bowel movement. It also plays a role in lowering your bad cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels. In turn, you can keep your cardiovascular system in check, while also preventing diseases like diabetes.
Like most green leafy vegetables, cabbage is full of antioxidants. Free radicals cause damage to the cells, but antioxidants can help neutralize them. You can prevent and limit the stress and damages to your cells by consuming sources of antioxidants.
Vitamins and minerals
The vitamins and minerals that you can get from cabbage are vitamins C, A, B6, B9, B2, and iron. For starters, cabbage is a good source of the antioxidant, vitamin C. And we all know how it is excellent for the immune and cardiovascular system.
On the other hand, vitamin A is also as important for the proper functioning of the organs, the immune system, and eye health. What about vitamins B6 and B9? These vitamins play a role in the nervous system and the metabolism of the body.
Cabbage is a good source of vitamin B2 or riboflavin and iron. Riboflavin is important for metabolism so that your body can effectively process carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. And lastly, iron is essential for the body because it helps with the oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells.
Uses of cabbage
Promoting regular bowel movement
If you want to relieve constipation, cabbage is an excellent source of fiber. This promotes regular bowel movement so that your body can excrete the toxins in your body. Fiber also has water as most leafy vegetables, which is as helpful for the digestive tract.
Relieving swelling and pain
Did you know that you can use cabbage leaves on your breast to relieve swelling and pain? It’s usual for breastfeeding moms to experience engorgement, and applying cabbage leaves can help alleviate the pain. Some women even use cabbage leaf extracts.
Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of cabbage, it can also help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Cabbage is rich in flavonoids, and this can help lower the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. At the same time, cabbage can reduce blood pressure and platelet buildup for cardiovascular health.
Reducing the risk of cancer
Sulforaphane is a cancer-fighting compound, and you can commonly find it in cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage. Because of this, you can associate cabbage into lowering the risk of cancer. It’s also worth noting that studies show the potential of this compound in delaying and impeding various cancers.
How to enjoy cabbage
You can enjoy cabbage as raw and cooked. However, make sure not to overcook your cabbage to prevent getting a strong sulfurous odor. Otherwise, cabbage is tasty when steamed, roasted, stuffed, sauteed, or simply boiled.
When you think of dark green lettuce, arugula, or rocket comes to mind. This tasty green vegetable is a good source of vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals for health. You can also benefit from arugula as it offers heart protection, reducing the risk of diabetes, osteoporosis prevention, and lower risk of cancer.
Benefits of dark lettuce
Vitamins and minerals
Dark lettuce is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K. And like the previous greens, these vitamins are important for supporting the normal function and processes of the body. For example, vitamin A is not just limited to supporting eye health.
This vitamin also plays a role in the maintenance of the heart, lung, kidney, and immune system. Besides vitamin A, arugula is a source of the B-vitamin, folate. Folate is great for pregnant women because it supports the healthy growth of the baby.
You can find vitamins C and K in arugula as well. We know that vitamin C is one of the best antioxidants that have multiple roles from the immune system to the skin. On the other hand, vitamin K is advantageous for the cardiovascular system because of its effect on blood coagulation and calcium regulation in blood.
Besides different vitamins, your body will benefit from the calcium and potassium in arugula. Calcium is essential for bone and tooth health. On the other hand, potassium is an amazing electrolyte that is beneficial for muscle contraction and blood pressure regulation.
Like the previous green vegetables, arugula is a good source of phytochemicals. In particular, arugula contains kaempferol and quercetin. But what can they do for our bodies?
Kaempferol is an antioxidant, so it can neutralize the effects of free radicals. Therefore, one can make a connection that kaempferol also has cancer-fighting properties. On the other hand, quercetin has anti-inflammatory effects.
Uses of dark lettuce
Because arugula is a cruciferous vegetable, you can expect that it’s a good source of polyphenols and organosulfur compounds. As a result, these compounds will have protective properties for the heart. And that is the reason why this vegetable also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Reducing the risk of diabetes
Some studies showed how arugula has antidiabetic effects. In fact, eating green vegetables can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. At the same time, arugula helps regulate blood glucose and stimulate the glucose uptake of cells.
The various nutrients in arugula promote bone health, and they include vitamin K and calcium. Eating good sources of these nutrients can help reduce the risk of bone fracture and improve bone health. And the fact that arugula contains both vitamin K and calcium makes it one of the best osteoporosis-fighting foods.
Lower risk of cancer
Remember that arugula contains compounds like glucosinolates and sulforaphane. These compounds have cancer-fighting power, which can help inhibit the progression of cancer cells. This ability is usually what studies have shown with cruciferous vegetables like arugula.
How to enjoy dark lettuce
You can consume arugula raw in salads, but you can also incorporate it with cooked dishes such as pasta and sauces. Its flavor is great with cheese, citrus, and even herbs. You can also enjoy it with wraps, omelets, or include it in a smoothie.
Kale is one of the popular greens when it comes to eating healthy. It’s full of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. You can use kale for heart health, healthy bones, protection against diabetes, and cancer prevention.
Benefits of kale
Vitamins and minerals
Kale is one of the best sources of vitamins and minerals. In particular, it provides 206% of the daily value of vitamin a, 684% of the daily value of vitamin K, and 134% of the daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of b-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
It is high in beta-carotene, which is the precursor of vitamin A. And among other leafy vegetables, it can provide you a high amount of vitamin K. This vitamin plays a significant role in blood clotting and even bone metabolism.
Eating kale will also give you calcium that is important for our organs’ bone health and various functions. This delicious green vegetable also provides magnesium if you want to lower the risk of developing heart disease or diabetes. Lastly, kale is a good source of iron that helps our red blood cells transport oxygen all over the body.
Consuming kale can help you reap the benefits of its antioxidants. We all know that antioxidants may help prevent cancer because of their effect on free radicals. But at the same time, kale also contains indoles, which is a substance that can help prevent cancer.
Kale is a good source of other antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol. These substances offer protection for the heart and have even shown effects in lowering the blood pressure.
Uses of kale
The antioxidants in kale can lower the blood pressure and offer protection to the heart. At the same time, kale can increase good cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol in our bodies. Therefore, eating kale can help improve heart health.
Kale is rich in vitamins and minerals that are important for bone health and even strong bone formation. Remember that it is one of the vegetables that are high in vitamin K. And this vitamin can help lower the risk of bone fractures.
Protection against diabetes
The antioxidants and vitamins and minerals that you can get from kale offer protection against diabetes. This is because these compounds manage blood sugar levels. Antioxidants such as vitamin C can even help reduce other complications that can occur with diabetes.
Antioxidants help reduce the stress and damage that free radicals can cause cells. In particular, kale also has sulforaphane that can help prevent the formation of cancer. Like in most cruciferous vegetables, various studies are done to find the link between antioxidants and their anti-cancer properties.
How to enjoy kale
You can enjoy kale raw or cooked. They taste great in salads and sandwiches, but they also work well with garlic, onions, or some olive oil for quick kale chips. People also enjoy them in smoothies.
Spinach is more than just a popular favorite food of a childhood cartoon character. In real life, it’s also worth being our favorite because it’s packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Spinach is overall good for lower risk of cancer, digestive health, and healthy skin and hair.
Benefits of spinach
Vitamins and minerals
Spinach is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamins C, K, folate, iron, electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, and zinc. In fact, 3.5 ounces of raw spinach can provide you 70% of the beta-carotene that you can get from raw carrots of equal serving. Since beta-carotene is the precursor of vitamin A, your body can benefit from it for the immune system and eye and skin health.
Like other green leafy vegetables, spinach is also a good source of vitamins C, K, and the B-vitamin, folate. All of these vitamins are important for various body processes and functions, including protecting cells, wound healing, and synthesis and repair of our DNA.
Besides different vitamins, spinach can provide you minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Raw spinach at 3.5 ounces contains 15% of the daily value, and the fact that it has vitamin C boosts your body’s iron absorption. On the other hand, you can take advantage of the electrolytes potassium and magnesium as well.
Consuming foods that provide electrolytes is helpful for various automatic body processes. Electrolytes are also useful for hydrating the body and helping the rebuilding of tissues. Lastly, zinc is a mineral that is needed by the immune system to function properly.
Did you know that 100 grams of raw spinach contain 2.2 grams of fiber? This is why spinach can help those with digestive problems such as constipation. At the same time, fiber is good for the body, not just with digestion, but also for the cardiovascular system.
Phytochemicals and antioxidants
Another reason why you’ll benefit from spinach is that it’s an excellent source of phytochemicals and antioxidants. We know that having phytochemicals and antioxidants is the attribute to why vegetables like spinach may have cancer-fighting properties. They can protect cells from damages and even stimulate the immune system.
Uses of spinach
Lower risk of cancer
The phytochemicals and antioxidants in spinach can have inhibitory effects on cancer cells. You are also protecting the cells from the damages of free radicals that can cause cancer. Therefore, one can conclude that eating vegetables like spinach can help lower the risk of cancer because of the nutrients they can provide.
Spinach is a good source of fiber, which makes it helpful to get a regular bowel movement. At the same time, spinach contains electrolytes to promote a healthy digestive system. Some people even use spinach as an appetite stimulant by consuming it for appetizers.
Healthy skin and hair
Vitamins and minerals play a role in maintaining healthy skin and hair. Vitamin A manages oil production on these body parts. On the other hand, vitamin C is important for collagen-building to improve the structure of the skin and hair.
How to enjoy spinach
You can add raw spinach in your smoothie or breakfast eggs, but it also works great as an appetizer. A simple saute with olive oil improves its flavor. You can even make snacks healthier by using spinach as a dip with some goat cheese.
We always eat garlic in a lot of meals, but garlic is actually a good source of antiviral and antibacterial compounds and even phytochemicals. This delicious vegetable works as an antibiotic and even plays a role in cardiovascular health and cancer prevention.
Benefits of garlic
For starters, garlic’s distinct smell is actually an indication of its sulfur compounds. This very trait of garlic is also responsible for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Garlic can help the immune system, which is why it’s also common to treat cold and cough.
The phytochemicals in garlic offer a lot of health benefits for the body. They work as antioxidants, so they neutralize the negative effects of free radicals. They also work as antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
And lastly, they help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Uses of garlic
Garlic works as an antibiotic because of its compounds like diallyl sulfide. In particular, this antibiotic can fight campylobacter bacteria that can cause intestinal infections. What’s great with consuming foods like garlic is that they can inhibit various pathogens.
Garlic has anti-cancer potential because of its cancer-fighting properties, such as organo-sulfur compounds. There are even studies that eating raw garlic can lower the risk of developing lung cancer. And lastly, the compounds in garlic are effective in destroying cells that are related to the development of brain tumors.
How to enjoy garlic
Raw garlic is stronger in flavor, but consuming half a clove of garlic or adding them minced in various dishes can be beneficial for health. Garlic’s flavor works well in pesto, bread, salads, and potatoes. Some people also make garlic oil for flavoring dishes while taking advantage of its antimicrobial properties.
Along with garlic, another pantry staple is also a disease-fighting food. Onions are a good source of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. You can also use it as anti-inflammatory and antiviral, treat digestion problems, and prevent cardiovascular problems.
Benefits of onions
Vitamins and minerals
Onions are a good source of vitamins C, B6, and folic acid. You can also find manganese, calcium, iron in this versatile food source. A hundred grams of onion is equal to 7.4 mg of vitamin C. Remember that this vitamin is not just important for the various body processes, but it is also an antioxidant.
On the other hand, vitamins B6 and folic acid are important for the metabolism and normal functioning of the cells, respectively. But what about the minerals you can find in onions? For starters, manganese also plays a role in metabolism and other chemical processes in the body.
Calcium is necessary for bone health and the normal functioning of the circulatory system. And iron is a component of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for the transport of oxygen by the red blood cells around the body.
Antioxidants disarm free radicals to prevent damages to the cells from occurring. In onions, they have quercetin and sulfur that are both linked to heart health protection and preventing cancer. Simultaneously, this humble vegetable also has phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are related to the prevention of cancer. However, they also showed antimicrobial properties and various effects for the maintenance of overall health. Onion has disulfides, copaene, and vinyldithiins, to name a few phytochemicals.
Uses of onions
You can attribute the cancer-fighting properties of onions with its phytochemicals and antioxidants. However, substances like quercetin also play a role as anti-inflammatory and antiviral. Quercetin regulates histamine response and it even keeps the blood healthy for easier recovery and prevention of allergy.
Treatment for digestion problems
Besides the phytochemicals that help reduce digestive problems like ulcers, onions are also a good source of fiber. We all know that fiber helps with digestion as it promotes regular bowel movement. But at the same time, including fiber in the diet will help the good bacteria in your intestine reproduce.
Prevention of cardiovascular problems
The anti-inflammatory properties of onion can help cardiovascular problems. Quercetin plays a role in lowering blood pressure, and a compound called chromium regulates blood sugar. You can also prevent atherosclerosis that can cause other cardiovascular problems by consuming these compounds.
How to enjoy onions
Similar to garlic, onions are enjoyable both as raw and cooked. You can slice or chop them as flavorful additions in dips and sauces. They also taste great roasted and pickled on their own.
Tomatoes are fruits, but you can also consider them as vegetables, especially with the way we consume them. The great thing with these tasty vegetables is that they are packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and fiber. You can use them for cancer prevention, cardiovascular health, and healthy skin.
Benefits of tomatoes
Antioxidants and phytochemicals
With tomatoes, you’ve probably heard of the well-loved phytonutrient, lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant and phytochemical that exhibits cancer-fighting properties. Therefore, consuming foods that are a good source of lycopene can help lower the risk of cancer.
Tomatoes are also rich in beta-carotene, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid, which are beneficial for health because they can protect against diseases. They also play a role in decreasing inflammation and lowering cholesterol levels. And because they are antioxidants, they will neutralize the negative effects of free radicals.
Vitamins and minerals
Another antioxidant that you can enjoy in tomatoes is vitamin C. A hundred grams of tomatoes provides 13.7 mg of vitamin C. But at the same time, tomatoes also offer vitamins B9 and K. The former is important for the functioning of the cells, while vitamin K plays a role in bone health and blood clotting.
Speaking of blood health, tomatoes are a good source of potassium. Thus, tomatoes can help you protect yourself from heart diseases, and make sure your blood pressure is under control. Potassium is also an electrolyte for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles.
Having fiber to our diet is beneficial for the digestive system. And did you know the tomatoes are a good source of fiber? In fact, an average-sized tomato can provide 1.5 grams of fiber.
Fiber plays a role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. It’s also related to heart health because it helps lower the bad cholesterol levels and also reduce blood pressure. Therefore, tomatoes can offer protection both for the heart and digestive system against diseases.
Uses of tomatoes
Like with other vegetables that offer antioxidants and phytochemicals, tomatoes have shown cancer-fighting characteristics. Tomatoes are capable of lowering the risk of cancer because the antioxidants in them can prevent the formation of free radicals that can cause cancer. And because tomatoes have beta-carotene, they also play a role in the prevention of tumor development.
Maintaining our body’s blood pressure levels is always important for cardiovascular health. Remember that tomatoes are a good source of potassium, and this mineral supports the maintenance of cardiovascular health. In addition, tomatoes provide fiber and potassium that are both heart-loving nutrients.
You have probably seen various skincare products that mentioned tomatoes in their ingredient list. This makes sense considering tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C. This is because vitamin C is crucial for the body’s production of collagen, and it also works as an antioxidant.
How to enjoy tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes and cooked tomatoes are both tasty on their own or as an addition to different recipes. You can slice them as snacks, but they are also fantastic in sauces and dips. Tomatoes work well with a variety of other ingredients such as mozzarella, cheese, onions, jalapeno, and basil.
Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, dark lettuce, kale, spinach, garlic, onions, and tomatoes are packed with nutrients that can fight and prevent diseases. They taste great raw or cooked, and you can even grow them in a greenhouse. Refer to Krostrade.com to select your proper greenhouse for these crops.
You are what you eat, so why not enjoy something delicious but also beneficial for your health. These green leafy vegetables and pantry staples can fight off cardiovascular and digestive diseases. And they are even a good source of antioxidants that can lower the risk of cancer.