10 of the Healthiest Vegetables You Can Eat

No list of healthy vegetables would be complete without these nutritious powerhouses.

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Red onions in wicker basket on slate table top
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You’ll get the most out of this veggie’s cancer-fighting antioxidants by eating it raw; cooking onions at a high heat significantly reduces the benefits of phytochemicals that protect against lung and prostate cancer. Try combining chopped raw onions with tomatoes, avocado, and jalapeño peppers for a blood sugar–friendly chip dip. Finish with a splash of lime juice.

Before you get chopping, here are some extraordinary household uses for onions.

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Ripe young corn cob with leaves on black concrete background, copy space.


On the cob or off, it’s all good! A study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry found that the longer corn was cooked, the higher the level of antioxidants like lutein, which combats blindness in older adults.

Check out these simple tricks for cooking corn on the cob.

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Buttered Peas. Green Peas on dark background.


Tiny but mighty, one study in the International Journal of Cancer found that daily consumption of green peas along with other legumes lowered the risk of stomach cancer.

Add these other foods proven to prevent cancer to your diet, too.

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fresh green organic kale leaves on dark background. top view.
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Standing out even among all the leafy greens, this is one of the healthiest vegetables in your supermarket. Kale’s curly green leaves are chock full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that may lower levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. While you’re eating your leafy greens, think about adding these foods that can reduce your risk of colon cancer as well!

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Fresh raw broccoli in a wooden bowl on a dark background


Broccoli is full of cancer-fighting antioxidants. One study found men who ate five servings or more per week of cruciferous veggies (including these green vegetables) were half as likely to develop bladder cancers over a ten-year period as men who rarely ate them.

Boost your intake by adding these iron rich foods to your grocery list.

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Cutting board and knife with fresh organic red and green bell peppers sliced and chopped for meal preparation.

Red bell pepper

One medium pepper is light on calories (just 32 per pepper) but heavy on vitamin C, providing 150 per cent of the recommended daily value. The antioxidant is known to help ward off atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease.

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Washed fresh mini spinach in a colander on the old concrete table
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Spinach is packed with carotenoids—antioxidants that promote healthy eyes and help prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Cooking these green vegetables helps make lutein (a carotenoid) more absorbable by your body.

Don’t miss these foods that improve your eyesight.

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Heap of sprouted alfalfa seeds on a dsrk stone background
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Alfalfa sprouts

This tiny powerhouse is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects against lung cancer and helps maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, gums, glands, bones, and teeth. It’s also a good source of vitamin E, which may help prevent heart attacks and strokes, and lower the risk of death from bladder cancer.

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Fresh fried brussel sprouts in a black frying pan

Brussels sprouts

The antioxidants in these green vegetables can help detoxify cancer-causing free radicals, and with 80 per cent of your daily vitamin C in just 1/2 cup, also help fight heart disease and ward off cataracts. Try sautéing your brussels sprouts with a little bacon or olive oil and mustard for a smoky kick.

Avoid these frozen foods for better health.

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Pile of homegrown organic young beets with green leaves on dark stone table. Fresh harvested beetroots on black concrete background. Top view.
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Roasted or pickled, this root vegetable contains high levels of antioxidants that fight cancer, as well as lutein, which protects the eyes. But don’t throw out those leaves! Beet greens are the most nutritious part of the vegetable and can be cooked like other dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach, mustard greens, and kale.

Next, find out the fast food items nutritionists never order.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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