Eating nutritiously is hardly a black and white undertaking. How do you know you’re getting the nutrients your body needs? “When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the more colors you consume, the richer your diet will be in beneficial nutrients,” says Lanette Kovachi, MS, RDN, corporate dietitian for Subway ®.
Here's how 8 veggies stack up in terms of body benefits. Most vegetables are also a great source of fiber.
These green leaves are packed with iron, vitamin C, and an antioxidant called lutein, which benefits your eyes.
Cucumbers contain lignans, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Keep the skin on to up the nutrition content, says Kovachi. (At Subway, the cukes aren’t peeled, so consider adding them to your sandwich.)
Yes, they look purple, but red onions get their royal hue from their antioxidants, which can prevent cancer. They also have sulfur-containing compounds which cause that pungent smell. Plus, onions also contain a significant amount of vitamin C.
Jalapeno peppers are stuffed with a variety of nutrients, including vitamins A and C and potassium. Bonus, jalapenos are spicy peppers and that means you'll reap the benefits of capsaicin, a compound that studies suggest can boost metabolism.
Tomatoes boast a wealth of antioxidants. They’re especially rich in lycopene, which can lower your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Whether they're red, green, yellow, or orange, bell peppers can all come from the same plant. However, they differ in their degree of ripeness and their nutritional benefits. For example, red peppers have more lycopene, green peppers have more vitamin C, and yellow peppers have more lutein. So pick a color (or better yet, multiple colors) and pile them on.
Black olives, which have been allowed to ripen on the vine, contain monounsaturated fats — just like the oil that’s made from them. Eating foods with monounsaturated fats instead of foods with saturated fat can lower "bad" (LDL) cholesterol, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Red cabbage, which has a purple hue, is a surprising sandwich topper with high crunch power. Cabbage is high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which is good for bones.
Top Image Credit: Aneta_Gu/Shutterstock