Vegetables are a part of the plant or tree that are consumed by humans to satiate their hunger. They can be consumed raw or cooked. Veggies do not include fruits, grains, cereals, and nuts.
These are often considered an important part of our diet and supply us with our daily needs of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and proteins.
People who consume vegetables regularly are often safe from many chronic illnesses especially due to their high nutritious content. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and tastes and can be classified into eight broad types.
The Various Types Of Vegetables are:
This is majorly the onion family. The structure of these vegetables is often originating from a base which looks like a bulb from where the leaves originate.
The leaves can either be flat or circular or may even be hollow with the leaf veins running lengthwise. The flowers are then clustered at the top of the stem and sometimes instead of flower clusters you might just find another bulb-like structure that can vegetatively reproduce.
Even the leaves of this vegetable family have an onion or garlic-like odor when crushed. The various vegetables under this category are:
• Brassica Family
The vegetables in this family are highly nutritious and have a high content of Vitamin C and fiber. They are also considered a source of carotenoids. The two major types under this category are:
- Cruciferous –This family includes vegetables which are suited to cool weather. These vegetables generally have four-petaled flowers. In general, these petals resemble a cross-like structure.These Cruciferous vegetables contain phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins along with fiber.
The distinctive taste and fragrance of this family of vegetables can be traced back to the presence of glucosinolates in all these vegetables. The list of vegetables that fall under this category are: Broccoli, Sprouts, Cabbage, Brussels, Cauliflower, Turnip & Radish.
- Leafy Green –Vegetables with dark green leaves are also a part of this family. These vegetables are rich in their calcium content. Some of these vegetables are: Bok Choy, Kale, Swiss Chard & Spinach.
These vegetables are generally popular during summers. They have a distinct texture which can be described as smooth with an edible thin peel over vegetable. These vegetables have a subtle flavor. Regarding their color, they generally range from light beige to deep green.
They hardly have any calories or fats and are generally rich in Vitamin, Iron, and Calcium. The vegetables in this category are:
• Edible Plant Part
A plant has various parts namely roots, stem, shoots, buds, flowers and at times bark. All these are edible in some plants while in others either of these can be consumed as a vegetable. Thus, a classification of vegetables can be made as per the part of the plant that they represent. Namely:
- Edible Stem – The stem is that part of the plant which supports it and has buds, flowers, leaves and further fruits on it. It performs many vital functions for the plants. Out of the various vegetables that we consume, the stems are: Asparagus, Carrots, Celery, Dandelion, Lotus Root & Sugar Cane.
- Edible Root – The roots are the support of any plant or tree. Many times, instead of the whole plant only the root is consumed as a vegetable. Such vegetables which are the roots of certain plants are: Carrots, Ginger & Radish.
- Edible Leaves – Humans have used leaves for consumption since prehistoric times. Vegetables which are primarily leaves of the plants in which they grow are: Garlic, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts & Salad Greens.
- Edible Flowers – Just like stem and root, certain flowers are also used as vegetables. These are: Artichokes & Capsicums.
These are those vegetables which grow under the ground and contain the nutrient reserves present in the roots. These vegetables are usually rich in starch. Some of the vegetables in this category are:
The fungus in itself is a kingdom and neither a plant or an animal. Only one type of fungi are edible, and that is Mushrooms.
Be very careful if you are picking them up from the wild, as some mushrooms may look edible but can be poisonous.
These are the seeds of the plant and are often consumed as vegetables in their immature form and pulses in their mature form. The list of leguminous vegetables is:
This is not a mistake, yes, many times fruits of a plant are often consumed as vegetables, and the best example of this is brinjal also called aubergine. It is ironical that brinjal is often called the king of vegetables due to the green crown like stem originating from its purple base and in reality it is not even a vegetable. Other such fruits used as vegetables are
Health Benefits of Vegetables
Vegetables are an essential part of our diet especially for those who are vegetarians and are completely dependent on a vegetable only to satiate their hunger. These are not only essential to satisfy our need but also provide energy to our body to perform and work on daily basis.
The other benefits of Vegetables are:
• Veggies contain antioxidants which further have innumerable benefits on our body like :
- Boosting immunity
- Prevention from cancer
- Prevention from cardiovascular diseases
- Might even improve your blood sugar levels
• Vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals of all types which help our body organs to stay fit, maintain our health and assist our organs in their daily activities.
• They are a rich source of fiber which maintains our digestive health. It also makes you feel full for longer. Thus, it prevents you from eating junk and assists in weight loss.
• Vegetables have a high water content which makes them fat-free.
• It helps in relieving stress.
• Various vegetables are really helpful for our skin. Many salons use vegetable peels for making your skin glow and blemish free.
• A diet full of vegetables ensures overall health and development of our body.
Vegetables should always be incorporated in our daily meals to makes sure we are consuming a balanced diet. The many benefits of vegetables also make it essential for us to include them in our meals.
Lastly if not all at least a few selected vegetables can be incorporated in our meals whether cooked or raw as salads, so that our body can extract the various benefits hidden in these gems.