Women of all ages should be paying more attention to their daily intake of vegetables. As I have said in the past, I think that in this century more than ever before, humans are being exposed to many toxins and pollutants that create inflammation in our bodies -- and can lead to many health problems down the road.
The beauty about vegetables is that they are nature's anti-inflammatory agent. So incorporating them into your daily diet is essential for a long and healthy life. With so many different varieties of vegetables to choose from, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Here is a list of some vegetables that I feel are the most beneficial to women and some that don't carry the same punch.
Spinach is one of the most versatile vegetables because you can use it in so many dishes. It can be eaten raw, steamed, sauted or added to a casserole or pasta dish. It's full of nutrients that help strengthen the muscles and heart. For women especially, it has a lot of fiber that can help keep your digestive system moving. It's full of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, lutein and many strong antioxidants. Spinach easily tops my list of favorites and you cant' get enough of it. For pregnant women, spinach is also rich in iron, which is proven to help with a healthy pregnancy.
I know a lot of people think that kale is a new thing. Although this leafy green vegetable is very trendy right now, it's been a staple in ancient cuisine and used for centuries. Kale is incredibly good for your muscles, immune system and heart. It's full of vitamin K and vitamin C, and it's rich in fiber, containing all the essential components that you need in a good vegetable.
Broccoli rabe is a very sophisticated vegetable. If you really want to entice your taste buds, you could add broccoli rabe to any dish. It's especially delicious in pasta, and also works as a great side dish to a healthy protein like chicken or fish. The beauty about broccoli rabe is that it has some vegetable protein and vitamins C, K and B.
Wow, what a vegetable -- although a lot of people consider it a fruit. It has high levels of vitamin A, and lycopene, and can be part of just about any meal, including one of my favorite drinks -- a Bloody Mary.
Now let me preface this next list by saying all vegetables are good for you and you can't really go wrong adding any type to your diet. But, some don't carry the punch you might expect.
Radishes -- They're pretty to look at, have a unique flavor, and some vitamin C, but that's it.
Cucumbers -- A vegetable with high water content that's great for facials, but from a nutrition point of view they don't carry much weight, besides some vitamin K.
Eggplant -- It's a tasty vegetable that is often used as a meat replacement in various vegetarian dishes, but with the exception of some fiber, eggplant isn't high in nutritional value.
So there you have it, the best and the weakest vegetables that women should consider.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.