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10 Best vegetable of the season: boosting immunity

1. Broccoli

It is a rich source of vitamins K and C, folate (folic acid) potassium and fiber. It is a delicious vegetable having dozens of nutrients. It has been described as the most nutritious vegetable amongst all vegetables. Scientific studies reveal the present of 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin in a special combination, where they enhance the detoxification process, which includes activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants.

Other benefits are:-

  • As a best supplement for vitamin D deficiency
  • Anti-inflammatory agent due to the presence of flavonoids and kaempferol
  • Enhance bile secretion and lower down the cholesterol level
  • Antioxidant activity reducing oxidative stress
  • Increase the digestion rate in the body
  • Show anti-microbial activity and prevent the overgrowth of bacteria, Helicobacter pylori

2. Carrots

They are the richest source of vitamin A. They contain beta-carotenoid which is used in liver to synthesize vitamin A that is transformed in to rhodopsin in retina. Rhodopsin is a purple pigment, which is required for the night vision.

Other benefits are:-

  • Antioxidant: Carrots are a pack of valuable amounts of antioxidant like vitamin C, phytonutrient like beta-carotene (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein), Hydroxycinnamic acids (caffeic acid, coumaric acid and ferulic acid), Anthocyanindins (cyanidins and malvidins). Therefore, it is worthwhile to say that carrots contain outstanding antioxidant activity.
  • Cardiovascular Benefits: Due to the presence of antioxidant molecules, it benefits in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CAD). The presence of polyacetylenes show the anti-aggregatory properties, which prevent excessive clumping of red blood cells, thereby decreasing the risk of heart attack.
  • Improving Vision: The addition of carrots in diet twice or thrice a week strengthens the eyes and lowers the rate of glaucoma (it is a damage to the optic nerve). The scientific evidences reveal the presence of geranyl acetate which has been observed to be associated with reduced rate of cataract.
  • Anti-Cancer Benefits: Carrots can lower down the risk of colon cancer due to the presence of polyacetylenes, falcarinol specifically.

3. Beetroot

They are the powerhouse of various nutrients, vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, A, C, nitrate etc. It is among the most recommended vegetable as it has shown effective results in lowering systolic pressure. The other account is that in beetroots nitrates are present, which is converted in our body into nitric oxide that helps in relaxing and dilation of blood vessels. Thus, they help in lowering the blood pressure.

The top recommendations for beetroots are:-

  • Increasing stamina: The presence of nitrates also boosts up the energy levels of the body and enhance stamina.
  • Anti-inflammatory: In beetroots betaine is present, it protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from various stress. It also protects internal organs, reduces coronary heart diseases risk and other chronic diseases.
  • Immune booster: Beets are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium and manganese. They serve as an essential component for healthy nerve and muscle function, bones, liver, pancreas and kidneys
  • Reducing birth defects: In beets B vitamin folate is found abundantly, which reduces the risk of birth defects.
  • Detoxification Support: The presence of betalin pigments has a very integral role in body's detoxification process. They effectively scavenge the membrane bound toxins and remove the toxin from the body.

4. Cucumber

About 95% of content in cucumber is water and other constituents are vitamin K, B, C and copper, potassium, and manganese and unique polyphenols. Presence of such nutrients help in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

  • Anti- inflammatory agent: The higher concentration of water makes it a coolant agent for the body. It helps in the cooling of body during inflammation.
  • Rehydrating agent: It acts as a rehydrating agent and calm down the body
  • Calm down the brain: It contains fisetin, a flavonol which acts an inflammatory and protects nerve cells aging and prevents impairment in memory and learning.
  • Relief from stress: Cucumbers contain multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 (biotin). B vitamins are known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress.

5. Pumpkin

It is widely used vegetable and popular for various purposes. It contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, beta carotene pigments and various minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It also contains carbohydrates (sucrose), salts and proteins.

The health benefits are:-

  • Cholesterol and weight management: It has very low calorie value containing 26 calories per 100 g of fruit. It doesn't have saturated fats. It contains huge amount of fibers, which keeps you full for longer time and helps in controlling cholesterol and weight management.
  • Antioxidants: It is rich in many oxidants and scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
  • Rich source of vitamin A: It is rich in vitamin A that helps in maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It also helps in protecting against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Zeaxanthin: It is a natural anti-oxidant. It acts as UV (ultra-violet) rays filter in the retina of eyes. Thereby, it protects eyes from UV rays.
  • Breath freshener: In Ayurveda, pumpkin has been reported to release the excess heat from stomach, which causes bad breathing. It stops the inflammation of odor-causing bacteria.
  • Pumpkin seeds: They are the excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. It keeps good health of the heart. In addition, other sources like protein, minerals and health-benefiting vitamins are found in concentrated form. It has been estimated that 100 g of pumpkin seeds provide 559 calories, 30 g of protein, 4987 mg of niacin (31% RDA), selenium (17% of RDA), zinc (71%), 110% RDA of iron, and amino acid tryptophan and no cholesterol. 

6. Beans

Beans are one of the healthiest vegetable and rich in green color. They are rich in carotenoids, lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin, vitamins B (B2, B6 and folic acid), impressive antioxidant capacity, phenolic acids or vitamin C. They also contain quercetin and kaempferol, catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins, minerals like calcium and magnesium. The abundance of such highly valuable compounds classify it as an important and healthy food.

The regular intake of beans have numerous benefits like:-

  • Antioxidants: As it contains good amount of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and mineral like manganese. The presence of various carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin and flavonoids (quercetin, epicatechins, catechins, kaemferol and procyanidins. All of these molecules provide health-supportive antioxidant properties.
  • Cardiovascular Benefits: The presence of various antioxidant molecules also have direct cardiovascular benefits. They balance the fat level in the blood and protect from oxidative stress. There are various evidences, which show the presence of omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that also support the heart.
  • Anti-inflammatory: The presence of strong carotenoid and flavonoid contents make beans as a unique anti-inflammatory vegetable.

7. Cabbage

When we eat steamed cabbage, the fibers bind with bile salts of our liver, which results into the more bile secretion that eventually lead into decreased cholesterol level in the body. New research shows cabbage contains various glucosinolates. One of them is sinigrin, it has shown valuable action in cancer prevention. Other shows that short cooked or steamed cabbage is more effective than long cooked process.

So, there are numerous benefits of cabbage:-

  • Antioxidant: Cabbage is a good source of vitamin C and manganese, and polyphenols. When we don't 'have sufficient amount of antioxidants, the oxygen metabolism gets compromised that results into oxidative stress in our body. Furthermore, severe or chronic oxidative stress increases the risk of cancer.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: The presence of polyphenols also contribute in anti-inflammatory activity.
  • Improving digestive system: As explained earlier, it is the powerhouse of poly nutrients such as glucosinolates, polyphenols, and amino acids. They have potency in strengthening the stomach and intestinal linings.
  • Improving cardiovascular strength: As cabbage has the capability to bind with bile juices it thereby helps in lowering down the cholesterol levels. This property makes cabbage heart friendly.

8. Spinach

Spinach is an extremely nutritious vegetable. It is a house of polynutrients including ranges of vitamins and minerals, which have a very effective role at physiological level. Interestingly, presence of phytochemicals show very active role in preventing chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease and ageing. Spinach contains vitamins A synthesized from ß-carotene, C, K and folate. Minerals like calcium, iron and potassium. Other nutrients in smaller quantities are vitamin E, some B vitamins – thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2) and B6, and the minerals magnesium, manganese and zinc. The phenolic compounds are carotenoids, ß-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The phytochemicals are chlorophyll, glutathione, a-lipoic acid and betaine. Most importantly, spinach has very low calorie energy.

There is a huge role of spinach in our body:-

  • Nerves and cognition capabilities: with advancing age, there is retardation in neuronal and cognitive functions and feeding spinach helps in rejuvenation of the brain.
  • Antioxidants: The presence of antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids and phenolic compounds that deactivate free radicals and other oxidants, rendering them harmless. The presence of such compounds reduces the risk of DNA damage, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Anti-Aging: Spinach contains good amounts of carotenoids, which keeps skin lustering, glossy and clean. It withdraws the symptoms of aging.
  • Improving eye sight: Spinach contains good amount of lutein and zeaxanthin. They are accumulated in the eyes and protects against age-related eye problems, such as macular degeneration and cataracts formation.

9. Peas

Green peas are starchy, contain phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA), vitamin E. The recent evidence shows that peas contain a polyphenol called coumestrol, which have potential to reduce the risk of stomach cancer. The presence of unique polyphenols play a vital role in our body as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The other recent studies approves the presence of saponins like pisumsaponins I and II, and pisomosides A and B. when these saponins are coupled with phenolic acids like ferulic and caffeic acid, and flavanols like catechin and epicatechin, they produce a remarkable results such as lowering down the type 2 diabetes. Peas are one of the Mama's favorite kitchen recipe and everyone takes it for granted.

So, eating peas benefits us in a lot of ways as described below:-

  • Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory benefits: Peas are loaded with polynutrients containing vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and carotenoids and wide array of these power pack nutrients place them in the category of healthiest food. They give us antioxidants to keep our body rejuvenated and increase longevity. Furthermore, these combinations also act as anti-inflammatory like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
  • Regulation of Blood Sugar: Peas are outstanding in protein and fiber contents. Peas have very deep impact on the regulation of our digestion and insulin control. By virtue of that they have shown effective role in blood sugar control.
  • Promotion of Heart Health: Peas contain vitamin B derivatives (vitamins B2, B3, and B6) in good quantity and omega-3-fatty acids, particularly (ALA). The appropriate levels of vitamin B keeps homocysteine level in the balanced form, which is pre requisite to control the cardio-vascular diseases.

10. Celery

It is a crunchy, low-calorie vegetable possessing the properties like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The scientific studies reveal the presence of unique non-starch polysaccharides such as apiuman, which acts as an anti-inflammatory molecule. The presence of antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids are not the molecules which categorize it as an important vegetable, but the identification of other molecules such as dihydrostilbenoids like lunularin as well as furanocoumarins like bergapten and psoralen contributes a lot. They protect us from unwanted oxygen damage to our cells, blood vessels, and organ systems. With prior to their importance in our diet the consumption of vegetable by boiling gives maximum benefits of those polyphenolic molecules.

  • Supports digestion: In spite of carbohydrates based polysaccharides, the celery contains pectin based polysaccharides like glucoronic acid, apiuman. Such polysaccharides are very beneficial and has been observed to improve the integrity of the stomach lining, stomach ulcer (gastric ulcer), and balanced levels of stomach secretions.
  • Protecting Cardiovascular System: Oxidative stress and inflammation in the blood stream raise the risk of many cardiac problems such as atherosclerosis. There are various potential phenolic compounds present such as phthalides for example sedanenolide and butylphthalides. They have been reported as smooth muscle relaxants, diuretics, and lower the pressure inside the blood vessels.

The traditional use and scientific studies show the relevance and the importance of adding variety of vegetables and fruits in our dietary system. To make our life healthy, pleasant, and harmonious and stress free, it is important to include all types of natural nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, polyphenols and polysaccharides in our diet. Thus adding those fruits and vegetables in our daily routine will improve the health.

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