Everyone knows that vegetables are good for one’s health but everyone may not know which veggies are the real powerhouses when it comes to specific vitamins, antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic compounds. Here are a few healthful superstars that grow very well in hardiness zone 6, which includes nearly all of New Jersey.
Kale is a nearly perfect leafy green vegetable. Low in calories a single cup of kale provides 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. Kale is high in vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamin K among its other properties helps protect against some cancers as do the carotenoids, flavonoids and other antioxidants which kale provides. Kale is rich in omega-3, a great anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering compound. The fiber and sulfur components are also active detoxifying agents.
Kale reputedly contains more iron per calorie than does beef.
Arugula is gaining recognition not only for its unique, almost peppery taste but also for its admirable levels of A, C, and K as well as calcium and iron, rivaling kale in its content of these useful substances. Arugula offers glucosinolates which the body converts into immune system boosters and anti-carcinogens.
Arugula is also rich in beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin all of which are helpful in preventing macular degeneration as well as some cancers.
Carrots are what Grandma always told you were good for your eyes and it seems like Grandma was correct. The carotene that produces vitamin A helps fend off cataracts and macular degeneration. It also helps control free radicals.
Falcaronol is a compound that seems to lower the risk for breast, colon and lung cancer; carrots are rich in this substance.
Loaded, as one might expect, with carotenoids carrot consumption can help counter heart disease; rich in soluble fiber carrots reduce blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of stroke. Carrots also contain compounds which seem to help detoxify the liver.
Collard greens are possibly not the first vegetable to cross one’s mind when thinking about super healthy foods to add to the seed order but it turns out that there is more to the humble collard than meets the eye.
Collards may be the number one cholesterol busting vegetable commonly grown in the west. In at least one study collards outshone mustard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage when it comes to flushing bad cholesterol from the system.
And collards contain a pharmacy of cancer fighters including glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin. These powerful glucosinolates boost the detox and anti-inflammatory systems.
Who knew that these common, popular and tasty veggies, all easy to grow in the backyard could be so beneficial to human health? Now that the secret is out, be sure to leave room in the corner of the garden for these life enhancing and delectable crops.
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