Praised as the holy grail of all things edible, vegetables get a reputation for being the healthiest foods on the planet. Despite diet restrictions and food preferences, vegetables can make it onto the menus of any eater, from radical vegans and gluten-free dieters to Paleo enthusiasts. Unfortunately, Mother Nature’s seemingly perfect gems come with a fair share of flaws-some more than others. That said, loading up on certain veggies can actually compromise your health instead of boosting it. It’s important to learn about the vegetables that are not healthy.
Now don’t get us wrong- many vegetables rank high on the universal list of superfoods that’ll do wonders to your wellbeing. And just because we don’t consider these whole foods the healthiest doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still put certain fruits and grains to shame health-wise.
Relatively speaking, these veggies lack nutrients and are simply not as healthy as one might think. That said, we don’t recommend banishing them from your diet altogether, but rather abstaining from gorging on multiple helpings, or featuring them regularly on your daily menu. Here are 5 veggies that don’t measure up health-wise to their nutrient-rich counterparts.
1. Sweet Corn
A summer staple and barbecue must-have, sweet corn takes the stage as an uber popular, warm weather favorite. Unfortunately, the juicy hand-held veggie has been subject to GMO, or genetic modification. The GMO process injects corn with new genes, which in turn has damaging effects on the human body. Our systems don’t recognize these foreign proteins, and this reaction can result in sensitivities, hormonal fluctuations, and damage to the digestive tract. Meanwhile, an ear of corn carries a boatload of starch which translates to carbohydrates. That said, you might want to reconsider munching on this high-carb food if you’re trying to shed a few!
Snack on carrots instead! These sweet, crunchy delights are bursting with nutrients and make a fulfilling alternative, especially in the summer. Your taste buds will fall in love with these drool-worthy Balsamic Roasted Carrots.
While white potatoes do fall under the veggie food group, they’re considered more of a starch than their leafy green counterparts. Meanwhile, potatoes have a high glycemic index (one of the highest levels of any whole food!) which triggers dramatic blood sugar fluctuations, ultimately increasing your blood insulin levels which can lead to issues like weight gain. Finally, they latch onto pesticides and retain them more than other veggies, which can damage your nervous system.
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, make a wonderfully nutritious, decadent alternative that offers more vitamins and minerals than the white potato. Whip up mouthwatering recipes like this 3 Ingredient Smashed Sweet Potatoes or these Stuffed Sweet Potatoes next time potatoes are on the menu!
3. Brussels Sprouts
These fibrous veggies serve as major gas and bloating culprits that, for those without steel stomachs and a tip top digestion system, might cause some discomfort after eating. Brussels sprouts contain raffinose, a complex sugar that humans lack the enzyme to digest. As a result, this sugar gets transported to the intestines where bacteria then attempts to break it down, and this process invites major gas and flatulence. Meanwhile, research suggests that the vitamin K in brussels sprouts could possibly promote blood clotting. Yikes!
Yummy alternatives include collard greens, kale, and broccoli, which all share the same family as Brussels sprouts. Dish up these Healthy Collard Greens to get your dose of cruciferous veggies!
Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned, the ever-popular pea comes in a variety of forms and has squeezed its way into the diets of many. These chewy veggies carry a higher amounts of calories and carbs than many other vegetables due to their starch content, so keep an eye on your helpings and consume peas in moderation! Meanwhile, peas contain small amounts of purines, a chemical your body breaks down into uric acid. Uric acid can have a negative effect on your kidneys, so people with impaired kidney function or similar conditions should avoid peas.
5. Summer Squash
Delicious and juicy, these vibrant veggies carry a hearty dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body most certainly appreciates. Unfortunately, summer squash has earned a spot on the dirty dozen list due to its reputation for carrying high amounts of pesticides. The colorful vegetable oftentimes contains pestisides known as organophosphate insecticides. Deadly when consumed in high amounts, these chemicals can damage the nervous system and compromise your overall health. Research also suggests the oxalates in summer squash can contribute to kidney stone development.
Load your plate up with delicious anti-inflammatory veggies like bok choy and beets instead! This Creamy Cabbage and Bok Choy Slaw makes a perfect summer dish, and will boost your health while putting smiles on your guests’ faces.
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