From Dr. Mercola:
Most vegetables are very low in calories and net carbs, while being high in healthy fiber and the valuable vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal health. As a general rule, vegetables are a nutritional cornerstone.
Eating plenty of vegetables can help reduce your risk for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. For example, one 2010 study found that eating just one extra serving of leafy greens a day reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 percent.6
Vegetables also contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else.
Plant chemicals called phytochemicals help reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, remove old cells and maintain DNA. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have:
✓ Lower risks of high blood pressure and stroke
✓ Lower risks of certain types of cancer
✓ Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss
✓ Higher scores on cognitive tests
✓ Higher antioxidant levels
✓ Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress
✓ Lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease7
✓ Lower risk for eye diseases
✓ Fewer digestive problems
Vegetables Are the Ultimate Among Low-Net Carb Foods
Many of these benefits are actually due to the high fiber content in vegetables. The fiber in vegetables is broken down into health-promoting short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by your gut bacteria, and SCFAs have been shown to lessen your risk of inflammatory diseases.8
Your liver converts these short-chain fats into ketones that nourish your body and provide important signaling functions.
The fiber content also promotes optimal gut health in general by nourishing beneficial gut bacteria. Leafy greens, which have some of the highest fiber content in the vegetable kingdom, also activate a gene called T-bet, which is essential for producing critical immune cells in the lining of your digestive tract.9
These immune cells, called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), help maintain balance between immunity and inflammation in your body and produce interleukin-22 (IL-22), a hormone that helps protect your body from pathogenic bacteria.
ILCs even help resolve cancerous lesions and prevent the development of bowel cancers and other inflammatory diseases, including obesity. So which are the “superstars” within the vegetable kingdom? Here I’ll review five different categories of veggies worth your daily consideration.
Top Performing Sprouts
Sprouts deliver high amounts of nutrients in small packages, including antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that protect against free radical damage, so in terms of volume you can get away with eating far less.
The vitamin and essential fatty acid content increases dramatically during the sprouting process. Sunflower seeds, for example, typically contain 30 times more nutrients than whole organic vegetables!
The fiber content also improves when sprouting, and the protein