If you only get to eat one thing for the rest of your life, it should be vegetables!
Simply put, vegetables are awesome in so many different ways. Not only can they provide all the macro- and micronutrients the body needs to function, but they are what makes eating food delicious and interesting. Steamed, grilled, sautéed, roasted, blanched, puréed, or raw – there are so many different ways to cook vegetables and use them as vehicles for sauces and dips. We want you to get to a stage in your relationship with food where you feel weird not having some kind of vegetable with every meal.
A Nutrient and Health Benefit Powerhouse
While not every veggie can be considered a “superfood”, many like kale are chock full of vitamins A, C, and K// as well as an excellent source of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Together, these vitamins and minerals help you to have healthy skin, strong bones, and a healthy heart.
Vegetables are also an incredible source of fiber, which helps keep your digestive tract clean and healthy. They provide the necessary good bacteria your gut needs in for good digestion and nutritional intake. The majority of many chronic diseases today are generally attributed to poor gut health, so take care of it!
Eat the Rainbow
In order to maximize the nutritional benefit of eating vegetables, we also encourage you to “eat the rainbow”. Each vegetable based on its color and type will have different nutrient contents. No “single vegetable” is the best for you – in fact, many of them lack a full nutrition profile (as is the case with ALL foods). And so, like with all foods, a balance across the board of all the different options available to you is the best and tastiest!
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard and bok choy are packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C and K, which protect cells from free-radical damage. These foods are also high in bone-preserving calcium.
Crunchy and leafy, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and cauliflower) are especially delicious when roasted with a little bit of salt and oil. Nutritionally, they can a natural compound called sulforaphane that blocks the inflammatory process and helps slow down cartilage damage associated with “wear and tear” (and old age).
Carrots, Red Peppers and Squash
These brightly orange- and red-hued vegetables get their distinctive color from carotenoids like beta-cryptoxanthin. Plant pigments also supply sweet potatoes, carrots, squash and red peppers with antioxidants. Research has shown that beta-cryptoxanthin and these antioxidants are great anti-inflammatories.
We love these vegetables because they are naturally sweet and add an extra flavor profile to the often earthy, more savory flavor profile of the dark green leafy vegetables
Onions, Garlic, Leeks and Shallots
We call these guys the Flavor Kings because they are the base for all delicious sauces, soups, braising liquids, and so forth. These pungent and flavorful vegetables are all members of the allium family, which are rich in a type of antioxidant called quercetin. Researchers are investigating quercetin’s potential ability to relieve inflammation in arthritis type diseases. Alliums also contain a compound called diallyl disulphine, which may reduce the enzymes that damage cartilage.
Eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes are all members of the nightshade family. These vegetables contain the chemical solanine, which some people claim aggravates arthritis pain and inflammation. However, most reports are anecdotal, and while it certainly might be true for some people, there are no scientific studies done to prove that they actually cause inflammation or make symptoms worse
Nightshade vegetables are rich in nutrients, making them a worthy addition to your diet. Simply test it. Eliminate nightshades from your diet for a couple weeks and slowly reintroduce them back into your diet. If you find that adding nightshades trigger issues, then remove them and choose something else from the rainbow of vegetables available to you!
RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Crispy Roasted Broccoli
- Preheat oven to 405 degrees
- Place broccoli in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Massage oil into the fuzzy heads of the broccoli and make sure they are head side up (stalk down)
- Season generously with kosher salt and red pepper flakes
- Spread out evenly spaced on a baking tray – do not crowd the pan or they will steam instead of roasting!
- Place in oven for 12-15 minutes until crispy and slightly charred on top (oven times will vary)
- Gently squeeze half a lemon over the broccoli just prior to eating!