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Five must-have vegetables in the vegan diet

Vegetables tomato garden

Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers or eggplants are some of the fresh, nutritious, healthy and versatile vegetables that should not be missing in the kitchen.

From the field to the table, tasty, versatile and very healthy. Vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, fiber, phytosterols, flavonoids and other antioxidants. The varied consumption of fruits and vegetables, inextricably linked to the Mediterranean diet, helps to ensure for our body many of these essential nutrients, according to the consensus of the medical and scientific community. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), daily intake of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of some diseases, while medical evidence shows that eating these natural foods as part of a healthy diet low in fat, sugars and salt (or sodium) helps prevent weight gain and reduce the risk of obesity.

Any season is good to enjoy vegetables such as tomato, cucumber, zucchini, bell pepper or eggplant (although it is always preferable in season to reduce the carbon footprint) that offer great versatility in a thousand and one affordable but very nutritious gastronomic dishes.

Multifunction steamer

According to data from the MAPA consumption panel, Spanish households consumed some 2,956 million kilos of fresh vegetables worth some 5,742 million euros, although per capita consumption is still far from the medical recommendations (five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day). With the help of experts from the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers’ Organizations of Andalusia (APROA) of Spain, we recall some of the reasons to eat vegetables, a basic pillar of the Mediterranean diet, declared intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO.

Tomato, the “king” of vegetables for its antioxidant power

This is one of the main attributes of tomatoes, although it is not sufficiently known by consumers. It is lycopene, a carotenoid with a high antioxidant power. But there is even more: it contains provitamin A (beta-carotene) and is rich in vitamins C and E. Another remarkable aspect is that the beneficial effects can be enhanced by combining tomatoes with other ingredients of the healthy Mediterranean diet. For example, if we crush and cook the tomato, combining it with extra virgin olive oil (as a dressing), it will facilitate the incorporation or absorption of lycopene in our organism. Among the curiosities to take into account, the tomato will reach its maximum peak of lycopene concentration with a riper fruit, with an intense red color.

Cucumber: Water, potassium and other reasons

Cucumber is one of the vegetables richest in water, so it provides very few calories (13 kcal per 100 grams). For its part, the most abundant mineral in cucumber is potassium, and in smaller proportions, phosphorus and magnesium are found. Cucumber consumption will not provide fiber, a low amount of vitamin C, provitamin A and vitamin E, and in lower proportions, B vitamins such as folate, B1, B2 and B3. And, its skin hides small amounts of beta-carotene, very important to take into account in the framework of a balanced diet.

Water kettles

Bell pepper: much more than fiber and low calories

The main component of the bell pepper is water, followed by carbohydrates, which makes it a vegetable with a low caloric intake. It is a good source of fiber and hardly provides fat. In the bell pepper we have a considerable source of carotenes, such as capsanthin, a pigment with antioxidant properties, present in those red peppers. Among the minerals, it is worth mentioning the presence of potassium and, to a lesser extent, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. As for their vitamin content, peppers are very rich in vitamin C, especially red peppers. In particular, it is worth mentioning their folate and vitamin E content, as well as provitamin A (which the organism transforms into vitamin A according to its needs), and to a lesser extent, vitamins of the B group such as B6, B3, B2 and B1. In short, the bell pepper should not be missing in a good frying, together with tomato and extra virgin olive oil.

Zucchini: a vitamin cocktail

The main component of zucchini is water, followed by carbohydrates and small amounts of fat and protein. With a moderate fiber content, its vitamin content stands out. It is also worth mentioning the discreet presence of folates, followed by vitamin C. This vegetable also contains B vitamins such as B1, B2 and B6. “Zucchini is a magnificent source of potassium, it also has other minerals in small quantities such as magnesium, phosphorus and iron. We can consider it as one of the star vegetables of our greenhouses, increasingly present on the tables of all Europeans,” remarked APROA.

Eggplant: salt and vitamin C supply

It highlights its contribution of salts, due to its potassium content, the most abundant mineral in this vegetable, and to a lesser extent phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and iron. It contains an intermediate amount of fiber compared to other vegetables while its main vitamin components are folates and vitamin C. It should not be forgotten that water is the main component in the weight of eggplant, as is the case with many other fruits and vegetables, making it a very suitable vegetable for all diets.

High quality frying pan

Fresh food “from the greenhouse to the table”.

Desde Aproa recuerdan que las frutas y hortalizas producidas en invernaderos solares son muy beneficiosas desde el punto de vista nutricional y también para el medio ambiente, sin olvidar su máxima calidad y seguridad alimentaria. No en vano, maduran en la planta, no en camiones refrigerados, y llegan en uno a dos días a los mercados, siendo productos frescos, “del invernadero a la mesa” a la par que sabrosos y versátiles en la cocina.

From Aproa remind that fruits and vegetables produced in solar greenhouses are very beneficial from a nutritional point of view and also for the environment, without forgetting their maximum quality and food safety. Not surprisingly, they ripen in the plant, not in refrigerated trucks, and arrive in one to two days to the markets, being fresh products, “from the greenhouse to the table” as well as tasty and versatile in the kitchen.