No single vegetable contains all nutrients required for our body to function properly and if we do not consume a large variety of vegetables
daily, we need to absorb nutritional supplements instead.
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and
bounds if green vegetables smelled
as good as bacon. (Doug Larson)
A great variety of nutrients is found in vegetables we consume. Green leaves - whether from cabbage or such leaf vegetables as spinach - are rich sources of vitamins A and C; vitamin A is essential for eyes and skin, while vitamin C is necessary to maintain a healthy connective tissue, Calcium, very important for the bone structure of growing children, and iron, necessary for healthy blood, are also provided by these plants.
Other green vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, also include some of the B vitamins, a large group needed by the body to extract energy from carbohydrates. Peas and beans furnish vitamins of the B group; only vitamin B12, which is not produced by plants, need come from other sources.
Roots and tubers, often considered as mere carbohydrate filters, are also vitamin-rich. One medium-sized potato can supply up to a third or more of the body's daily requirement of vitamin C, as well as some of the B vitamins. Sweet potatoes are similarly nourishing, and provide the body with vitamin A. Carrots are another source of vitamin A: carotene, a basis of the vitamin, was named after this vegetable.
Many vegetables are also important sources of proteins: peas and beans contain the highest proportion, but potatoes also have a significant amount, as do green leaves and the cabbage family, especially Brussels sprouts. All proteins consist of long folded chains of complex molecules called amino acids. The human body can make most of the amino acids it needs for its growth and repair, but some must come from the proteins we eat. Meat, fish and animal products such as eggs and cheese are complete protein foods since they contain the full complement of these crucial amino acids.
Invaluable the nutrients that vegetables contain!