Superfood vegetables are the latest trendy superheroes around. Who needs Superman when you can have a handful of nutritious vegetables to keep you healthy, strong and most importantly, live a long, happy life.
For those who are do not know about superfoods, allow me to give you a short and simple explanation. Superfoods are basically foods that are packed with nutrients needed by the body in order to function at its optimum state. Most superfoods are usually rich in these three nutrients; antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats.
Superfood Vegetables In Abundance
In Malaysia, unsurprisingly, superfoods have been part of our diet for the longest time. Too bad, it took us years to realize this. However, no more living in the dark because today is the day you will find out about common superfood vegetables. It also helps that since they are grown locally these vegetables will also kind to your pockets.
1. Bok Choy
Bok Choy or white cabbage is rich in essential vitamins and nutrients that prevent cancer. This is due to their anti-inflammatory properties such as the compounds indole, nitrile and sulforaphane.
Besides, the calcium and potassium content in bak choy lowers blood pressure and promote heart health. To top it all off, one cup of bok choy contains 140 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin A and over 75 percent of vitamin C.
Everybody knows that broccoli is one of the more renown superfood vegetables among the health conscious. It is packed with fiber, antioxidants to fight cancer, and vitamin C to aid in iron absorption. While the calcium content in broccoli is not as much as available in glass of milk, it is also still a great source of calcium to help control blood pressure and build strong bones.
Besides, broccoli is easy to prepare and delicious! Check out Butterkicap’s recipe for roasted broccoli and Miso. Yum!
3. Red Cabbage
Besides being pleasing to the eye, red cabbage is rich in vitamin C. This makes it a great antioxidant-rich, immune booster.
Besides, it has cancer-fighting flavonoids that also aid in weight loss due to the release of hormones that can metabolize fat and may suppress appetite. Dieters, take note!
Carrots are rich in beta carotene which we all know is able to convert Vitamin A. This helps in improving your eyesight. Besides, beta carotene in this superfood vegetable is also an antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Carrots are also probably one of the first few vegetables you introduce to your babies. It’s just an easy sweet flavor to accept and grow to love. It’s a superfood vegetable that the whole family can enjoy. Butterkicap’s milk confit carrot recipe is one of many carrot recipes you can try.
5. Beansprouts (Taugeh)
Taugeh or beansprouts may be the least favourite superfood vegetable but the next time you catch yourself picking it out from your char kway teow, think of this two facts.
Firstly, beansprouts are rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll cleanses our blood and detoxifies our system. It has the ability to regenerate our bodies on a cellular and molecular level. Secondly, beansprouts have 5 times the protein, 6 times the vitamin C and 7 times the B Complex Vitamins content compared to other leafy greens.
If you’re an advocate of zero waste, this superfood vegetable fits the bill. From the flesh to the seeds, pumpkins are filled with iron, zinc, and fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene. Meanwhile, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Some local recipes to try include pumpkin in coconut gravy and sweet pengat labu.
Spinach is a superfood vegetable. It is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100-gram serving of spinach contains 28.1 micrograms of vitamin C. That is 34 percent of the recommended daily intake!
Besides, spinach, like any other leafy greens, contains chlorophyll which is known as a cancer-fighting substance due to its ability to block carcinogenic amines that are formed when grilling foods at high temperature. So, the next time you’re making steak, make sure you serve some spinach salad on the side.
8. Kai Lan
Kai Lan is the Asian cousin of kale and just like kale, it is power-packed with the same nutrients such as it is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, calcium and iron.
Although Kai Lan has a stronger, more bitter taste than Kale, it has cancer-fighting properties such as glucosinolates that can be converted into highly active mustard oils called isothiocyanates (ITCs) that have been found to induce Phase II enzymes, detoxifying enzymes. These enzymes facilitate the removal of carcinogens from the body, and to stimulate apoptosis (self-destruction) in cancer cells.
9. Bitter Gourd
Ahh bitter gourd, a well-loved side in every banana leaf restaurant. You may think the reason why it is loved by many is because it is fried but it also happens to be one of the superfood vegetables that has a rich source of iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins like A and C.
It contains twice the calcium of spinach and beta-carotene of broccoli. Bitter gourd also contains various anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help in lowering bad cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s not all. It strengthens the immune system, improves respiratory health, boosts skin health and contains anti-ageing properties.
Eggplant is one of the superfood vegetables that is loved by all Malaysians. Due to its unique taste and texture, it is an ideal ingredient in a variety of our local dishes from simple sambal stir fry to chicken asam pedas. Eggplant is low in calories and sodium, and is a great source of dietary fiber, potassium, and B as well as B6 vitamins.
Do you know why it’s categorized as a superfood vegetable? Egglants contain nasunin, an antioxidant that helps the brain by protecting the lipids in brain cell membranes that let nutrients in, and waste out. Besides, eggplants also contain anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that reduce blood pressure and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Be Super with These Superfood Vegetables
So, do you have all of these superfood vegetables in your pantry? Hopefully the answer is yes! Let’s all move towards a better and healthier lifestyle in the future. If not, get yourselves to the nearest grocery store and stock up on these superfood vegetables. They are cheap, delicious and healthy. What more could you wish for?