Gym Spotlight, P-Town Fitness
Everyone knows how important it is to eat your veggies, but too many people get stuck in their routine of carrot sticks and iceberg lettuce salads, missing out on the benefits that a variety of vegetables will provide.
Optimize your nutritional intake by adding these 10 vegetable superfoods to your regular diet. All are fiber rock stars that fill you up and slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. That means you’ll improve your blood glucose balance and eliminate hunger between meals. Read on to see what other benefits each one of these delicious veggies provides.
With only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and no fat per cup, kale is one of the best greens out there. Full of iron, folate, calcium and vitamins A, C and K, it helps you maintain healthy bones and is great for detox and weight loss. Packed with antioxidants, kale also helps fight off certain cancers by neutralizing free radicals in the body.
To fit kale into your diet try making them into chips. They are easy to bake and provide the same crunch as a potato chip. Just tear them to the size you want, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pop them in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Red Bell Peppers
One medium sized pepper contains only 37 calories, no cholesterol and less than one gram of total fat. They also deliver almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and have the perfect mix of vitamins A, C, magnesium and B6 to create a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy vision and cells in the body.
Add strips to a simple stir-fry or enjoy them as a raw snack in place of your regular carrot or celery sticks.
Twenty calories, only 4 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of protein per cup make broccoli the perfect addition to your diet. It’s a great anti-inflammatory and has enough vitamins A and K to help your body metabolize vitamin D, which helps the body absorb the calcium you need for healthy bones and to repair skin damage. Broccoli also contains lutein, which works to thicken your arteries and fight heart disease.
Steam broccoli with garlic and lemon for a tasty side dish, or eat florets with hummus for an afternoon snack.
The average baked sweet potato, served plain, has just over 100 calories, no fat or cholesterol and provides roughly 15 percent of your recommended daily fiber. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene that produces vitamin A in the body as needed, helping to prevent sun damage and burn body fat.
Baked sweet potato fries are a great alternative to regular French fries. Serve them up with chili or beans on top to make it feel like you’re indulging in something decadent.
One half cup of asparagus only has 20 calories, no fat or cholesterol and only trace amounts of sodium. Chock-full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, including folate for heart health and inulin, which helps kidney function, asparagus is a dieter’s dream at only four calories per spear. With those stats you can eat as much as you want, guilt free.
Asparagus makes a great addition to any barbeque. Throw them on the grill with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and just leave them until they reach the tenderness that you prefer.
With all the different types of mushrooms available, finding one with the flavor and texture that you like should not be a problem. Typically low in calories, all under 50 per serving, they also have insignificant amounts of fat and are low in carbohydrates. With vitamins B6 and B12, mushrooms are a great immunity booster and help flush toxins out of the body.
A lean protein and a meaty texture make mushrooms a great meat replacement, and therefore a great weight loss tool. Throw strips of shitake on the grill or grind up button mushrooms with ground beef to cut the fat and calories of your burgers.
One bunch of spinach has only 78 calories, 10 grams of protein and 9 milligrams of iron. Add to that the vitamin A that boosts white blood cell counts that fight off infection and the antioxidants that keep osteoporosis and high blood pressure at bay, and you’ve got a powerful defense for your immune system.
Try adding spinach to your usual salads. Get creative and throw in strawberries or mango with a little balsamic vinegar for a savory lunch.
You can eat half a cup of sliced radishes and consume less than 10 calories, only 2 grams of carbohydrates and a whole gram of fiber. Low in sodium and cholesterol free, radishes have a peppery bite that make a great addition to any meal, and have vitamin C that studies show may help protect against asthma.
Slice them up for a crunchy snack or toss them into your salad for a little extra kick.
*While these last two are technically considered fruits, they are often mistaken for vegetables and versatile enough to be eaten on any occasion. Therefore, we think them worthy of making the list of super veggies.
Averaging around 22 calories and no fat, tomatoes are a dieter’s dream. Known to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, tomatoes are full of lycopene, niacin, folate and other important nutrients.
Get the most out of our little red friends by processing them first. Dice them up with a little olive oil and basil and serve with whole-wheat crackers for a filling snack.
Half a cup of avocado has around 135 calories, and although a lot of those calories come from fat, most of it is monounsaturated, which makes it a heart-healthy snack that helps lower cholesterol and control blood pressure. They also have 25 essential nutrients, only five to seven grams of carbohydrates and are a good source of fiber and protein.
Swap out your usual fat-filled salad dressings with sliced or mashed avocado for a creamy treat.
Incorporating these foods into your diet will help you round out your nutritional intake and get all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. Has it made you rethink your veggie routine, or do you have something to add to the list? Let us know what you think, and feel free to share with us how you incorporate these superfoods into your diet.