Vegetables are an essential component of maintaining a healthy diet. Eating vegetables lowers the risk of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Since vegetables contain lots of fiber and potassium—which is really good for your body—consuming them also lowers the risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Vegetables keep your body strong by building up your inner parts like bones and kidneys.
Although children do not have to worry about many of the health issues that grownups do, eating well as a child leads to good dietary habits as an adult. Below is a list of facts about some of the most common and popular vegetables.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber and natural sugars called sucrose and fructose. They are also delicious and are the main ingredient in other beloved foods like ketchup and marinara sauce. Tomatoes grow from plants that thrive in gardens. In fact, in the United States alone 93% of gardeners grow tomatoes in their yards! Although tomatoes are associated with Italy because they appear in many Italian recipes, China is the currently the number one producer of tomatoes in the world and the U.S ranks second.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods a person can eat because it contains a natural substance called “sulphoraphane” that helps to prevent cancer! Broccoli is very rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, folate, beta carotene and fiber—all natural compounds that are healthy for the body. The word “broccoli” is derived from the Italian word “brocco” which means arm or branch.
Lettuce contains a lot of dietary fiber and it is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B and beta carotene, which are healthy for your body. Lettuce is 95% water and the darker the lettuce leaf is then the more nutritious it is. Although it is considered an edible vegetable, lettuce is actually a member of the sunflower family.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin B6, vitamin E, beta carotene, fiber, magnesium and potassium. Spinach also contains a substance called “zeaxanthin” which helps to keep eyes healthy.
Corn is an excellent source of fiber. It contains vitamins C and B and potassium so it helps to balance the body’s fluids against the intake of salty foods that can be unhealthy when overeaten. Corn grows on stalks and comes on the cob. In fact, corn on the cob is one of the most popular ways to eat corn. Corn is also used for cornmeal in polenta and corn syrup and it is used in the USA in place of sugar from sugar cane. It is also the main ingredient behind corn flour and corn oil and it can be used to make starch and some types of whiskey.
Carrots are rich in vitamin A that helps improve people’s vision, even at night! Carrots have natural sugars that are very healthy for the body and they are also full of fiber. Younger carrots are also rich in folate which is one of the B vitamins that supposedly helps prevent birth defects in babies. Carrots were the earliest vegetables grown by humans and in the past their leaves were used to decorate the hats of royalty! Carrots are often linked to rabbits because bunnies love to snack on them!
Pumpkins are a good source for vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Pumpkins are also rich in natural sugars and that is why they taste sweet and are so popular in pies! The name “pumpkin” comes from the Greek word “pepon” which means “large melon.” In October in America, pumpkins are hallowed out and carved to look like smiling faces. These “jack-o-lanterns” are then left in front of houses or stores on display in honor of October 31st, the holiday called Halloween.
Beans are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B and fiber. Beans are a great source of folate (a B vitamin) that keeps your blood healthy and helps children grow. Pregnant women are encouraged to eat beans because they are good for both the mommy and the baby growing inside her. There are many different kinds of beans but all of them have similar nutritional value.
Potatoes are one of the most popular kinds of vegetables. Potatoes can be served with different dinners in various ways, usually mashed, baked or roasted. Potatoes can also be turned into chips or French fries. When potatoes are turned into crisps or fries they can become fattening due to the oils that they are cooked in. However, potatoes themselves are very healthy. They are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B3 and fiber. They are also full of carbohydrates and glucose which is a good way to get energy. Potatoes have been cultivated by people for thousands of years.
Onions are full of many vitamins including vitamin C which is essential to human health. They are rich in fiber and a substance called beta carotene which turns into vitamin A once it is eaten. Onions are also rich in a B vitamin called folate that helps to rejuvenate the body. Onions have no fat and come in a number of colors, most commonly white, brown and red. They are full of natural acid that is released when the onion is cut—it’s also what makes anyone peeling onions tear up!