So now that we’ve looked at the world’s more exquisite fruits, let’s focus on some vegetables you probably didn’t know existed. The veggies listed below are imported from countries all over the world, including from such historically rich locations like the Far East and Mediterranean basin.
Yardlong/Asparagus Bean – Would you believe that this nutrient-heavy veggie has its origins in China? Well, you can believe it – the asparagus bean was first cultivated in southern Chinese province of Yunnan. Over the years, the harvesting of this vegetable has spread to the Caribbean region, the southern United States and to countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Vegetables of all stripes have a sterling nutritional reputation, and the asparagus bean is no exception. If you are trying to shed pounds, eating asparagus beans would make for a good start – 100 grams of this vegetable contain a mere 47 calories. To put this in proper perspective, this figure accounts for only 2.5 % of a 2,000 calorie per day diet.
Aside from trimming unwanted pounds from your waistline, asparagus beans represent a veritable goldmine of vitamin C. 100 grams of this underappreciated veggie gives the body 31% of the vitamin C it needs every day. Asparagus beans are rich in folate, a type of B vitamin that improves the body’s ability to repair damaged cells, ward off depression and maintain optimal brain function. Folates also help ensure healthy pregnancies. Vitamin A, which bolsters the immune system, maintains healthy eyesight and strengthens bones (among other things), is yet another essential nutrient found in Asparagus beans.
Kai-lan – Asparagus beans are far from the only Chinese vegetable worth buying. Kai-lan, nicknamed the “Chinese Broccoli,” gives asparagus beans a run for their money when it comes to nutritional value. Adding Kai-lan to your diet is a great way to increase your intake of vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium. Furthermore, researchers have found this particular version of broccoli has anti-inflammatory prosperities, and is flush with cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
Parsley Root – Parsley is a herb with ancient roots (pardon the pun), as it was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for ornamental purposes. During the middle ages, parsley gained fame for its medicinal properties. Eventually, this leafy herb was used to garnish dishes and treat bad breath, two roles that it still fills today.
While the leafy version of parsley is world-famous, many people are unaware that a second type of parsley exists. The alternate form of the parsley plant, known as root parsley, has a rather distinct appearance; it could accurately be described as a carrot-shaped plant. Unlike carrots, the root of this plant has a whitish coloring with a slight brown tinge. Like carrots, parsley roots can do wonders for your body, providing your body with the following nutrients:
- Vitamins A, C and K
Parsley root can be cooked or eaten raw. Before enjoying this European import (parsley root has been a popular vegetable in Germany and Eastern Europe for centuries), remember thoroughly wash the parsley root, similar to how you would clean other veggies. Don’t overdo the cleaning, however – the skin of the parsley root contains much of this plant’s flavor.
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the medicinal benefits of parsley root. Like its leafy cousin, parsley root can help the body treat a number of medical problems, ranging from irritating conditions to more serious health issues. Over two millennia ago, Greek doctors used parsley root to fend off indigestion, muscle spasms, flatulence and menstrual disorders. Even today, parsley root can be a useful tool in controlling chronic liver and gallbladder diseases.
Celeriac – It’s hard to believe, but celeriac is actually a close relative of celery. You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise upon first seeing celeriac, as this root vegetable looks much more like a warped turnip than a celery stalk. With its rough, bumpy and spotted exterior, celeriac certainly won’t win any awards for its beauty.
Rejecting celeriac because of its appearance, however, would be a classic case of judging a book by its cover. Once the skin is pealed away, celeriac becomes much more palatable to your taste buds, as its taste is strikingly similar to celery. Like its more popular cousin, celeriac holds a bonanza of nutritional benefits. Here are some reasons why celeriac deserves a place in your daily diet:
- Celeriac is very low in calories, as 100 grams of celeriac will only contribute a mere 42 calories to your diet.
- If you’re looking for antioxidants, you can’t go wrong by picking up some celeriac at the grocery store. Celeriac contains several potent antioxidants, such asfalcarinol, falcarindiol, panaxydiol, and methyl-falcarindiol, which can eliminate dangerous free radicals inside the body.
- There are few foods that are better sources of vitamin K, a nutrient that makes bones stronger, reduces inflammation, and enables blood to clot, among other benefits. 100 grams of celeriac provides you with a whopping 41% of the daily recommended intake of this underrated vitamin.
- In addition to vitamin K, significant amounts of nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber and potassium are found in celeriac.
Salsify – If you though celeriac looked strange, get a load of salsify. This vegetable, which originated in North Africa and around the Mediterranean region, looks like massive dark brown carrot. With its leaves cut off, salsify could pass for a large stick.
Sure, salsify may not qualify as eye candy, but it more than measures up to more popular vegetables when it comes to nutritional value. For example, one cup of raw salsify injects the body with 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of fiber, 18% DV of vitamin C and 8% DV of calcium. As an added bonus, you can enjoy this root veggie without worrying about your diet; a cup of raw salsify only accounts for 109 calories.
Komatsuna – As you might be able to tell by its name, komatsuna hails from the island nation of Japan. Komatsuna is a classic leafy vegetable, and is a well-known source of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. It shouldn’t be hard to incorporate komatsuna into your diet – this Japanese vegetable makes for an excellent salad ingredient.
The proceeding article was written by an employee of Natural Knowledge 24/7.