MyPlate Exploration: Other Vegetables

 

This is the last installment of the MyPlate vegetable subgroup flavor exploration! Today we conclude with a bang, exploring the uses and flavors of the vegetables in MyPlate's Other Vegetables category.

For a closer look at the earlier explorations, check out the links below...

The "Other" vegetable group is a little bit tricky, because it is made up of vegetables that simply don't fit into any other category. Let's take a look.

What's in the Other Vegetable Group?

MyPlate has listed all of the following vegetables as part of the other vegetable subgroup...

  • MyPlate Other Vegetable GroupArtichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Green Peppers
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Turnips
  • Wax Beans
  • Zucchini

That's a lot of vegetables. For brevity's sake, we're going to narrow the list down to 10 vegetables to explore: artichokes, asparagus, beets, cabbage, celery, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini. These are some of the most common "other" vegetables, and they are representatives of their vegetable families. For example, since cabbage and Brussels sprouts are related, we've chosen just one of the two to study. Does that make sense?

All right then, here we go!

What Nutrients Do These Vegetables Contain?*

Since this vegetable group is so diverse, we're changing the structure of this section to feature each vegetable individually, highlighting each one's top 5 biggest nutrients.

ArtichokeArtichokes: These tasty plants are edible only when they've formed flower buds. Those flowers are actually the artichokes that you're familiar with. Once the buds start to bloom, the artichokes are no longer edible. So put together a bouquet for dinner tonight! The nutrition data below is for one medium artichoke, boiled without salt.

  • 41% Daily Value (DV) for Fiber
  • 27% DV Folate
  • 22% DV Vitamin K
  • 15% DV Vitamin C
  • 13% DV Manganese and Magnesium

Did you know that asparagus used to be classified in the same plant family as onions and lilies? Now it's part of the asparagaceae family. Here are its top 5 nutrients.

  • 70% DV Vitamin K
  • 20% DV Vitamin A
  • 17% DV Folate
  • 16% DV Iron
  • 13% DV Copper, Thiamin, and Vitamin C

Beets get their deep red color from betacyanin. Although there are many different varieties of beets, the rich red ones are perhaps the most well-known. Their top 5 nutrients are...

  • Beet37% DV Folate
  • 22% DV Manganese
  • 15% DV Fiber
  • 13% DV Potassium
  • 11% DV Vitamin C

Now let's talk cabbage. Cabbage is chock-full of glucosinolates, sulfur compounds that could reduce a person's risk of cancer (source). Glucosinolates are also responsible for much of the flavor of a cabbage. In terms of nutrients, a cabbage has...

  • 48% DV Vitamin C
  • 10% DV Folate
  • 6% DV Manganese
  • 6% DV Fiber
  • 4% DV Potassium and Calcium

Aaaaand here are the to 5 nutrients that you can find in celery...

  • 37% DV Vitamin K
  • 9% DV Folate
  • 9% DV Vitamin A
  • 8% DV Potassium
  • 6% DV Fiber

Let's not forget about eggplant! Did you know that eggplant is technically a fruit? However, like the tomato, MyPlate treats eggplants as vegetables. The top 5 nutrients you can find in eggplant include...

  • Eggplant11% DV Fiber
  • 10% DV Manganese
  • 5% DV Folate
  • 5% DV Potassium
  • 4% DV Vitamin K

Let's move on to green beans. Green beans have been around for a long time, and now there are well over 100 different varieties. When it comes to nutrients, you can find...

  • 30% DV Vitamin C
  • 20% DV Vitamin K
  • 15% DV Fiber
  • 15% DV Vitamin A
  • 12% DV Manganese

Mushrooms are another fun member of the other vegetables category. These fungi do not contain any chlorophyll, which means that they don't need sunlight in order to grow. Mushrooms are also the only plant sources of selenium, which is key to good health. Here are the top 5 nutrients that you can find in mushrooms...

  • 17% DV Riboflavin
  • 13% DV Niacin
  • 11% DV Copper
  • 10% DV Pantothenic Acid
  • 9% DV Selenium

Okay, we're almost there! Next on the docket are onions, which are quite bitter when raw, but which soften to a mellow sweetness when cooked.

  • Onion20% DV Vitamin C
  • 11% DV Fiber
  • 10% DV Vitamin B6
  • 10% DV Manganese
  • 8% DV Folate

Zucchini are the grand finale of this vegetable rundown. Let's take a look at what nutrients they've got...

  • 35% DV Vitamin C
  • 14% DV Vitamin B6
  • 11% DV Manganese
  • 10% DV Riboflavin
  • 9% DV Folate and Potassium

Phew! That was a lot of data! Let's take a look at what all this means.

What are the Health Benefits Associated with Other Vegetables?

Let's begin with vitamin C, which topped the nutrient list for a bunch of the featured other vegetables. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can protect your body from free radical damage. It also reduces your risk of many chronic diseases and helps your body absorb iron. Stock up on these other vegetables to get your daily dose of vitamin C!

AsparagusFolate is another big hitter of the other vegetable group. After all, 7 out of the 10 featured vegetables in this group had folate in their top 5 nutrient list. Folate is critical for the creation of new cells. Everyone needs enough folate, but it is especially vital that women of childbearing age get enough folate. Look for it in foods like beets, asparagus, and artichokes. And remember, folate may reduce your risk of cancer. Check out what the National Institutes of Health assert, "Several epidemiological studies have suggested an inverse association between folate status and the risk of colorectal, lung, pancreatic, esophageal, stomach, cervical, ovarian, breast, and other cancers."

Now let's talk copper. You can find copper in mushrooms and asparagus. According to the National Institutes of Health, "Copper works with iron to help the body form red blood cells. It also helps keep the blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy."

Let's wind things up with a look at why eating a varied diet rich in vegetables is important. Research published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute has revealed that "high intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a modest reduction in major chronic disease risk." Furthermore, the study "Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in US adults: the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study," published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found "An inverse association of fruit and vegetable intake with the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in the general US population." And finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain, "Consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risks for numerous chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease." So, eat a variety of veggies every day in order to reduce your risk of disease!

How Can I Make Other Vegetables a Part of My Diet?

There are lots of ways to serve up the vegetables from this diverse group. Let's take a moment to zoom in on my favorite free recipes -- which ones will you try first?

What do you think? Any of those recipes worth a try?

Oh, and before you go, here's a free handout with the highlights from today's post. Get your copy today!

Other Vegetables MyPlate Handout

For more great vegetable resources, check out the Nutrition Education Store! Remember, we are here when you want to look your very best!

I Heart Fruit and Veggies Poster
Vegetable Bulletin Board Kit
Veggie Photo Poster
Rainbow Salad Bookmark

*Data from http://nutritiondata.self.com/ for 1 cup of chopped, raw vegetables, unless otherwise specified.

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