Matching Your Body Parts To Their Best Veggie Mates!


8 Min Read

Eating right isn't just about eating healthy. It's just as important to ensure you're eating the right vegetables to keep each part of your body working well. For instance, getting in those green leafy veggies will keep your bones strong, but your skin may need sweet potatoes while you heart might favor tomatoes! Once you've worked out the nutrient math, all you need to do is match the right vegetables to each body part to keep those wheels turning.

Popeye may have had his can of spinach, but what if you could match each body part to a vegetable that’s made to power it up? The human body is a marvelous machine, and feeding it with the nourishment it needs can be exciting if you just know how. While your eyes may require more vitamin A, your digestive system may love its fiber. That’s where a quick matching up can help you figure out if you are getting the right nutrients for each part of your body. Here’s a roundup of the ideal vegetables!

Food For Your Eyes: Looking Beyond Carrots

While chowing down on carrots may seem like the best way to look after your eyes, it’s time to look further! Carrots have always been favored for their high levels of beta carotene that can be used to generate vitamin A, a vital nutrient for eye health. However, zeaxanthin and lutein found in collard greens, kale, and spinach may actually make these green vegetables an even better choice. In addition to protecting your body from macular degeneration that comes with old age, these vegetables can offer protection from high energy wavelength light responsible for retinal damage.1

Broccoli For Stronger Bones

When it comes to bone power, calcium-rich broccoli comes out ahead of other calcium-rich vegetables, including spinach. That’s because it’s much easier to absorb calcium from broccoli. Unlike spinach which has a high quantity of calcium, but which your body finds hard to absorb, broccoli has an absorption rate of about 61 percent. That’s even higher than milk (32 percent), a source that’s got far more press for being a rich calcium source. A cup of boiled broccoli contains about 94 mg of calcium.2

Skin-Friendly Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain natural antioxidant vitamin E, which is also a popular nutrient in a number of cosmetic formulations in beauty care. The vitamin can help protect your skin from free-radical damage and UV ray damage, lowering your chances of developing wrinkles or other signs of premature aging. In addition, these root vegetables also contain high levels of vitamin C, necessary for the production of collagen that keeps your skin supple and elastic. Studies have also shown that vitamin A, a nutrient which the tuber contains, can protect your skin from sun damage.3

Brain Food: Green Leafy Vegetables To Stay Sharp

While there are a number of foods vying for top spot when it comes to brain food, one green rules the roost. Green leafy vegetables seem to edge out other contenders like free radical-fighting sweet potatoes that combat inflammation and cauliflower that’s packed with vitamin K (which improves cognitive function and cuts oxidative stress as well as inflammation). Greens like kale, spinach, collard greens, and mustard greens have been hailed as a great brain food by the American Academy of Neurology.4 Kale in particular is rich in vitamins A,C,E, as well as selenium. It combines antioxidant power with nutrients needed to maintain overall brain health and cut the risk of stroke. Flavonoid- and antioxidant-rich spinach protects the brain from neurodegenerative damage. Research backs this upby showing how these dark green leaves can decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.5

Luscious Red Tomatoes For Your Heart

When it comes to a vital organ like your heart, there are multiple vegetables that you need to consider. Tomatoes while technically fruits are used like vegetables in our food. Rich in potassium which is great for the heart, as well as carotenoid lycopene, tomatoes promote good cardiovascular health. Tomato juice helps keep your blood vessels open, reduces bad cholesterol, and even cuts your risk of a heart attack due to its cardioprotective ability.6 Kale too is a superstar here – this fiber-rich, vitamin-packed leafy vegetable is also high in omega 3 fatty acids that are good for the heart.7

Enrich Your Blood: Go Green

The American Red Cross highlights greens like spinach, collard, and kale for their rich iron content. But they also mention less commonly used ones like beet greens and dandelion greens. These vegetables keep your body plied with enough iron to create hemoglobin needed to transport oxygen in your red blood cells to various parts of the body. Without this oxygen supply, you’d be left feeling exhausted and grumpy.8

Kidneys Cry Out For Onions

Onions are listed by the National Institutes of Health as one of the smart vegetable choices for those with chronic kidney disease.9 Loaded with flavonoids that inhibit lipid peroxidation, onions reduce fat deposition in your blood vessels, easing the load on your kidneys.10 Onions also have anti-inflammatory properties, important for the defense of your body against cardiovascular disease, a common complication of kidney disease.11

Detox Your Liver With Garlic

Garlic is a great liver cleanser and contains large amounts of both selenium and allicin. The pungent vegetable can get your liver enzymes going, boosting your body’s ability to flush toxins from its system. The diallyl sulfide in garlic and fresh garlic homogenates offers your liver protection from chemically induced hepatotoxicity.12 Fresh garlic extracts can also help protect you from hepatitis.13

Nervous About Nori?

Sea vegetables are unsung heroes in our diets. Barring the staple nori wrapper on sushi, unlike the Japanese, not too many of us try seaweed or other sea vegetables in our soups, broths, stews, or stir-fries. However, these underwater plants are a great source of minerals and vitamins needed by the nervous system.14 Seaweed also provides your body with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid that’s needed for the normal development of your central nervous system.15

Carrot Top: Why Orange Vegetables Are Good For Your Hair

Orange and yellow vegetables which have lots of beta carotene are great for your hair. The vitamin A in them boosts oily sebum production to condition your hair naturally, giving you the healthy growth you desire. Vitamin E in the root vegetable also keeps your hair safe from sun damage. Vitamin C needed for collagen production is also present in orange and yellow vegetables in large quantities. The antioxidant power of the vitamins also offers a shield from toxins your tresses are exposed to.16

Fiber-Rich Cruciferous Vegetables For Healthy Bowels

Your digestive system loves fiber. The NHS recommends you get adequate roughage (about 30 g) to keep your bowel movements regular, prevent bloating, and maintain a healthy bowel.17 Cruciferous vegetables are especially good. So stock up on broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.18

Red Peppers For Respiratory Health

Diet plays a key role in respiratory system health, and foods that counter the oxidative stress of air pollution, cigarette smoke, and infections are best for your lungs.19 Red peppers in particular give you vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin.20

References   [ + ]

1.Fact or Fiction?: Carrots Improve Your Vision, Scientific American.
2.Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
3.Schagen, Silke K., Vasiliki A. Zampeli, Evgenia Makrantonaki, and Christos C. Zouboulis. “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging.” Dermato-endocrinology 4, no. 3 (2012): 298-307.
4.Brain Foods, AAN.
5.Morris, Martha Clare, Christy C. Tangney, Yamin Wang, Frank M. Sacks, David A. Bennett, and Neelum T. Aggarwal. “MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.” Alzheimer’s & Dementia 11, no. 9 (2015): 1007-1014.
6.Das, Samarjit, Hajime Otani, Nilanjana Maulik, and Dipak K. Das. “Lycopene, tomatoes, and coronary heart disease.” Free radical research 39, no. 4 (2005): 449-455.
7.Harper, Charles R., and Terry A. Jacobson. “Beyond the Mediterranean Diet: The Role of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease.” Preventive cardiology 6, no. 3 (2003): 136-146.
8.Iron Rich Foods, American Red Cross.
9.Diet – chronic kidney disease, US National Library of Medicine.
10.Nuutila, Anna Maria, Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä, Marjukka Aarni, and Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey. “Comparison of antioxidant activities of onion and garlic extracts by inhibition of lipid peroxidation and radical scavenging activity.” Food chemistry 81, no. 4 (2003): 485-493.
11.Nasri, Sima, Mahdieh Anoush, and Narges Khatami. “Evaluation of analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of fresh onion juice in experimental animals.” African journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 6, no. 23 (2012): 1679-1684.
12.Wang, Er-Jia, Yan Li, Marie Lin, Laishun Chen, Adam P. Stein, Kenneth R. Reuhl, and Chung S. Yang. “Protective effects of garlic and related organosulfur compounds on acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in mice.” Toxicology and applied pharmacology 136, no. 1 (1996): 146-154.
13.Ezeala, C. C., I. N. Nweke, P. C. Unekwe, I. A. El-Safty, and E. Nwaegerue. “Fresh garlic extract protects the liver against acetaminophen-induced toxicity.” The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness 7, no. 1 (2009).
14.Japanese Foods, Vegetarian Times.
15.Guesnet, Philippe, and Jean-Marc Alessandri. “Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the developing central nervous system (CNS)–Implications for dietary recommendations.” Biochimie 93, no. 1 (2011): 7-12.
16.Trueb, Ralph M. “Pharmacologic interventions in aging hair.” Clinical interventions in aging 1, no. 2 (2006): 121.
17.Good foods to help your digestion, NHS UK.
18.National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28, USDA.
19.Romieu, Int. “Nutrition and lung health [State of the Art].” The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 9, no. 4 (2005): 362-374.
20.Bell Peppers, The George Mateljan Foundation.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.