12. Sweet Potatoes
Classified as a root vegetable, sweet potatoes stand out for their vibrant orange color, sweet taste and impressive health benefits. One medium sweet potato contains 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and a good amount of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. It’s also high in a form of vitamin A called beta-carotene. In fact, one sweet potato fulfills 438% of your daily vitamin A needs. Beta-carotene consumption has been linked to a significant decrease in the risk of certain types of cancer, including lung and breast cancer.
Specific types of sweet potatoes may also contain additional benefits. For example, Caiapo is a type of white sweet potato that may have an anti-diabetic effect. In one study, people with diabetes were given 4 grams of Caiapo daily over 12 weeks, leading to a reduction in both blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
Summary: Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which may decrease the risk of some types of cancer. White sweet potatoes could also help reduce blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
13. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a very nutrient-rich vegetable. One cup (190 grams) of cooked collard greens contains 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 27% of your daily calcium needs. In fact, collard greens are one of the best plant sources of calcium available, along with other leafy greens, broccoli and soybeans.
Adequate calcium intake from plant sources can promote bone health and has been shown to decrease the risk of osteoporosis. Collard greens are also high in antioxidants and could even reduce your risk of developing certain diseases.
One study found that eating more than one serving of collard greens per week was associated with a 57% decreased risk of glaucoma, an eye condition that can lead to blindness. Another study showed that a high intake of vegetables in the Brassica family, which includes collard greens, may decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
Summary: Collard greens are high in calcium, which could reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The regular intake of collard greens has also been associated with a reduced risk of glaucoma and prostate cancer.