June Nutrition Notes: Vegetables


According to the guidelines of MyPlate, half of our plate should be fruits and vegetables. However, we actually need more vegetables than fruits. Consuming a variety of vegetables is vital to obtaining essential nutrients.

Vegetables can be in a variety of forms, and different parts of the plant. Examples of the different parts are:

  1.  Roots: carrot, beet, radish
  2. Stems: celery, asparagus
  3. Leaves: spinach, kale, cabbage
  4. Flowers: artichoke, cauliflower, broccoli
  5. Fruits: tomato, cucumber, zucchini
  6. Seeds: chickpeas, corn, black beans

Furthermore, vegetables are also classified into different groups based on their nutritional content. These groups are:

  1. Dark Green Vegetables (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, bok choy): good source of fiber, vitamin A, and calcium. Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy, while calcium keeps bones strong.
  2. Red and Orange Vegetables (butternut squash, red peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots): contain beta-carotene and folate. Beta-carotene keeps the immune system strong, folate is important for red blood cells and reduces the risk of birth defects.
  3. Beans and Peas (black beans, garbanzo beans, soy beans, lentils): rich in fiber, potassium, and protein. Fiber keeps the digestive systems functioning properly and helps us feel full.
  4. Starchy Vegetables (green peas, white potatoes, lima beans, corn): contain potassium. Potassium helps our body regulate blood pressure and maintain it at a healthy level.
  5. Other Vegetables ( artichokes, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, cucumbers) .

Other Benefits of Vegetables:

  • Vegetables are low in calories, which can help us lower our daily caloric intake.
  • Vegetables have no cholesterol and are low in fat.
  • A diet rich in vegetables can reduce the risk of many diseases and protect against some cancers.