As most vegetables celery is a good source of filling fibre which could help weight control. Additionally celery contains good amounts of carotenoids, that may help maintain eye health, folic acid necessary during pregnancy to prevent spina bifida and for red blood cell production and may help prevent bowel and cervical cancers, and vitamin K which promotes blood coagulation. Celery may be added to soups and purees but also eaten raw with dips (instead of chips or bread) and salads.
Tomatoes are high in fibre that helps maintain a healthy digestive system and keeps us fuller for longer, vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects our bodies from the damage generated by free-radicals and also helps support our immune system, and the carotenoid lutein that gives tomatoes their bright red colour and is an antioxidant that research shows may help maintain eye health and lycopene which helps protect against prostate cancer as well as cardiovascular disease.
Watercress contain good levels of calcium which helps maintain healthy bones and has an important role in muscle contraction, vitamin C and lutein, an antioxidant that research shows may help maintain eye health and protect against certain cancers mainly prostate. Watercress are high in phytoestrogens called glucosinolates that research shows have cancer-protective properties. Glucosinolates may also help balance the body’s production of oestrogen, shifting production to less potent metabolites.
Sweetcorn contains good levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants responsible for its bright yellow colour that has been linked to eye health. Additionally, sweetcorn contains good levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant which also helps support the immune system , and B vitamins, especially folate, which research shows is needed to prevent spina bifida and may play a role in cancer protection, e.g. colon and cervical. Good levels of potassium. a mineral important in blood pressure regulation
Courgettes are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant which also helps support the immune system, potassium which is important to regulate blood pressure and deficiency may lead to muscle weakness and cramps, constipation and fatigue and lutein, an antioxidant that research shows may help maintain eye health, as well as contributing a good amount of fibre to your daily diet to keep you regular.
Carrots contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant responsible for their bright orange colour that the body can transform into vitamin A. Vitamin A is fundamental to maintain good vision in poor lighting conditions as well as keeping healthy skin.
Research indicates that the amount of beta-carotene available for absorption may be higher in cooked rather than raw carrots but to preserve nutrients, cook your carrots as gently as possible. Beta-carotene is fat soluble so add olive oil to your salads!
Parsley like other herbs contains good levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant which also helps support the immune system, vitamin K, which promotes blood coagulation and healthy bones, and certain antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation. It is really easy to add finely chopped parsley to soups and risottos but you can add it to salads and sandwiches an even make your own walnut and parsley pesto.
Basil contains vitamin K, which promotes blood coagulation and healthy bones, and certain carotenoids such as lutein , and antioxidant that may help maintain healthy eyes.
Basil can be added to tomato sauces, pasta, risottos, salads, etc and is very easy to turn into a health boosting pesto mixed with chopped spinach, garlic, pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil. A handful of parmesanwould add protein, but also saturated fat, and improve flavour. You can freeze it in small portions and defrost
Peas are pulses so they are high in protein as well as fibre. Fresh peas, when in season, are very tasty but frozen ones are available throughout the year and retain their nutrients as they are frozen quickly after harvesting.
Thanks to their bright green colour, peas are high in lutein, that may help keep your eyes healthy, as well as folic acid, necessary during pregnancy to prevent spina bifida and for red blood cell production and vitamin C, an antioxidant which helps support immunity.
Sweet potatoes contain excellent levels of beta-carotene which can be transformed by the body into vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy eyes, and acts as anti-oxidant to protect from the damage generated by free-radicals that has been linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Sweet potatoes are also rich in fibre and minerals such as potassium, important to regulate blood pressure and magnesium which is involved in energy production and necessary for bone/teeth formation.
Potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates when cooked simply e.g. baked with skin on, steamed, boiled although not when processed such as chips and mashed potato.
Potatoes are naturally high in potassium an essential mineral needed to maintain healthy blood pressure. Potassium deficiency could cause symptoms such as muscle weakness and constipation
Pumpkin and squash are high in carotenoids which can be transformed by the body into vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy eyes and acts as anti-oxidant to protect our bodies from the damage generated by free-radicals that has been linked to cardiovascular diseases and cancer. They also provide good levels of vitamin C an antioxidant that supports the immune system and can be depleted during long-term stress. Pumpkin also contains vitamin E that prevents fat oxidation linked to heart disease.
Spinach contains high amounts of betacarotene a precursor to vitamin A, important to maintain good night vision and lutein, an antioxidant that research shows may help maintain eye health and protect against certain cancers, mainly prostate.
Spinach also contain vitamin C, vitamin K and folic acid as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. Spinach is high in non-haem iron although it may not be absorbed easily because of the high oxalate levels found in these leaves.
Onions contain a plant compound known as quercetin, which research shows may help have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and help fight certain cancers. Onions are also rich in pre-biotics, which feed the good bacteria in our gut improving the ability of our intestines to keep bacteria and other pathogens out but also helping us absorb more nutrients.