We all know that there are some vegetables that are considered “super foods” and are in turn really good for you. We have pinpointed a few specific vegetables that you should include in your diet frequently to maximise your health so that you can smash those fitness goals!

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1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a vegetarian staple, and for good reason. Broccoli is high in Vitamin C and dietary fiber, and has natural cancer-fighting properties thanks to sulforaphane. According to BBC News, broccoli is also rich in indole-3-carbinol which boosts DNA repair and apparently blocks the growth of cancer cells.

Cooking Tip: Another thing to remember, boiling broccoli reduces its super food properties, so stick to eating raw or stir frying. The more crunch, the more health benefits are locked in.

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2. Kale

Kale is a renowned super food. This vegetable can be cooked in a variety of ways, which gives it versatility in your kitchen. Kale is in the same family as broccoli, which means it carries a lot of similar health benefits. Kale is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, beta carotene, and calcium. Kale also carries sulforaphane which means it has anti-cancer properties. Kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, which is the DNA repairing agent that blocks the growth of cancer cells.

Cooking Tip: Boiling kale also decreases its cancer fighting properties, so stick to steaming or stir frying.

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3. Garlic

Garlic not only deters vampires, but it can lead to a healthier heart. Garlic is known to reduce the accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls of humans and animals alike. It is known to reduce calcification in people with high cholesterol. Garlic also has antibacterial properties and can be used to help treat infection or digestive issues. According to a physician named Ellen Tattelman, in World War II garlic was used to treat gangrene. Garlic contains Vitamins A and B, and trace amounts of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Garlic has also been known to regulate blood sugar levels for diabetics.

Cooking Tip: In order to maintain the health benefits of garlic, either eat it raw or crush it first, and wait to cook it. Crushing the garlic releases Allicin, which carries the anti-cancer and anti-bacterial properties that garlic is famous for.

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4. Mushrooms

Although mushrooms are considered a fungus, they are still sold in the produce aisle and many people believe them to be a vegetable, so they deserve a spot here. Mushrooms are high in B vitamins, essential minerals, phosphorous, and potassium. Not all mushrooms are good for you, but one that is, is high in anti-cancer properties and also encourages the body to absorb cholesterol so it doesn’t circulate through the blood. This mushroom is known as the Shiitake mushroom. Shiitakes also contain no fat and no cholesterol.

Cooking Tip: Mushrooms can be cooked, eaten raw, or used as a garnish. This makes them versatile and delicious!

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5. Bell Peppers

No matter the color, bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C. These vegetables are also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are important because they can protect the healthy cells in your body from the effects of free radicals. Just as your apple can rot due to oxidation, free radicals can cause inner damage that can lead to sickness. Bell peppers also contain vitamins A and B, as well as a good amount of dietary fiber.

Cooking Tip: Bell peppers are best eaten raw, lightly grilled, or lightly sautéed.

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6. Onions

Onions belong in the garlic family, and they contain vitamins A and B, similarly to garlic. Onions contain phenolics and flavonoids which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Onions are also very low in fats and sodium, while containing trace amounts of calcium, iron and zinc.

Cooking Tip: Onions are best eaten raw or lightly sautéed, as most of the vitamins are still present after cooking.

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7. Tomatoes

Last but not least, tomatoes. The tomato is one of the best vegetables out there. They can be cooked and turned into a sauce, eaten raw, or turned into a delicious salsa. Not only are they versatile and delicious, they are also immensely nutritious. Tomatoes contain the carotene known as lycopene, which is one of the most pungent antioxidants. Another plus about tomatoes, cooking them does not reduce the antioxidant, but is seen to actually increase lycopene. Tomatoes also contains vitamins A, B, C, E and K, as well as dietary fiber. Tomatoes have also been known to help protect the skin from UV rays.

Cooking Tip: Tomatoes are best eaten raw, cooked, stewed, steamed, or as a garnish. This vegetable is one of the best when it comes to super food properties, so eat as many as you can stand.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many naturally occurring properties in vegetables that can aid our body in recovery, or the fight against toxicity and disease. A raw, organic diet is the best way to go if you want to improve or maintain your health although this may not fit in with your lifestyle or your fitness goals. By including plenty of vegetables in whatever diet plan you choose to follow, you can maximise both your health and performance!