It’s no secret that vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, but did you know some vegetables are better than others at driving weight loss and helping you achieve better health? For instance, spicy vegetables such as peppers have compounds that heat up the body and help accelerate weight loss, while the high fiber content in vegetables such as broccoli and artichokes can keep you feeling full for longer periods of time and thus help control your appetite.
The following vegetables can help improve your immunity, speed your metabolism, and help you shed excess weight so you can feel lighter and healthier. Start eating these veggies more frequently to benefit from their powerful health-boosting properties.
Beets are a good source of fiber and contain high levels of magnesium, which helps promote fat loss and increase lean muscle mass. Beets also contain betalains, which are phytonutrients and antioxidants that help reduce chronic inflammation. Beets are also high in fiber, and have been shown to lower cholesterol and improve bowel function. Place beets in a juicer with carrots and apples, eat them raw in salads, or roast them with goat cheese and hazelnuts.
Hot peppers contain a compound called dihydrocapsiate that increases body temperature, which can help accelerate fat burning. Hot peppers also contain capsaicin, which has been demonstrated to improve metabolic syndrome and obesity. Start adding more peppers to salads and stir-fries to boost your metabolism and drop excess weight.
This cruciferous vegetable contains a compound called sulforaphane, which helps reduce inflammation. Sulforaphane also helps convert white fat tissue in the body to brown fat, which helps burn more calories. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, which has been shown to lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that can trigger inflammation and interfere with weight loss. Prepare broccoli in a vegetable steamer, or add to stir-fry recipes.
This leafy green is especially high in protein, which increases your metabolism and helps you build muscle. If you’re lifting weights or doing strength-training and anaerobic exercises, spinach can help you build lean muscle tissue. Spinach also contains membranes called thylakoids that help regulate appetite and curb food cravings. Spinach is extremely versatile — add it to salads, smoothies, and stir-fries, or sauté it with olive oil and fresh garlic.
Onions contain an antioxidant called quercetin that increases metabolism, prevents the formation of new fat cells, and helps regulate blood glucose levels. Quercetin also helps reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Onions are also high in fiber, which means adding this veggie to meals can help you stay full for longer periods of time. Add raw onion slices to salads, or add it to marinades for Mexican and Asian dishes.
This healthy leafy green is high in protein, iron, and calcium. Kale binds to bile acids in your intestines, which then catch any fat you eat before expelling it from your body in the form of waste. Kale is high in fiber and water content, which helps contribute to a lasting feeling of fullness. Sauté kale in olive oil, with fresh garlic, pink Himalayan salt, and red pepper flakes, or add to salads for extra crunch and texture.
Raw, crunchy carrots take a long time to chew and eat, which can help with digestion. Like kale, carrots also contain high amounts of fiber and water, which help create feelings of fullness. Roasted carrots are found to have three times the amount of antioxidants as raw carrots, and can help fight inflammation.
Cauliflower is loaded with fiber, potassium, and many other vitamins and nutrients that help drive weight loss by boosting your immunity and energy levels. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower may cause bloating, but can be steamed and pureed to make them easier on your digestive system.
Collard greens are a great source of fiber as well as vitamins A and K. Collard greens are also especially high in calcium, and can stimulate fat cells to release fat. Evidence suggests that people who consume high amounts of calcium generally have a lower body mass than their counterparts.
This aquatic plant that belongs to the cabbage family offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that make it an ideal weight-loss food. Watercress helps fight chronic inflammation, contains more calcium than milk, and is high in vitamin C. Watercress is also high in alpha-lipoic acid, which may help ward off type 2 diabetes. Add watercress to salads and soups for extra nutritional value.
Green beans contain more than twice the amount of fiber than leafy greens, which means this healthy veggie can keep you feeling full until your next meal. Fiber is an ideal weight-loss nutrient because it slows digestion and helps you maintain regular bowel movements. Consistent bowel movements help remove fat from your intestines, which helps prevent fat from being absorbed into the body. Snack on raw green beans sprinkled with sea salt, or sauté them in olive oil, garlic, and your favorite seasonings.
One boiled artichoke contains roughly 10.3 grams of fiber, which is nearly half the daily recommended amount for women. Artichokes are also high in vitamin C, magnesium, folate, and potassium. Artichokes can help you stay full for long periods of time, since they rank as one of the highest-fiber vegetables. Add artichoke hearts to salads and homemade salsas, or use them in stews and stir-fries.
Cabbage is another antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse that reduces chronic inflammation. This cruciferous vegetable balances blood sugar levels, helping reduce the risk of diabetes, and boosts your immune system, allowing it to fight off free radicals more efficiently. Cabbage is high in water content and prevents bile from storing fat after meals, helping lower cholesterol levels. Add cabbage to wraps, salads, tacos, soups, and stews.
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