There's a good reason your mother told you to eat your vegetables; they're rich in vitamins, which you need to survive and stay healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eating generous amounts of vegetables can reduce your risk of chronic disease, including heart disease and certain cancers. The CDC also notes most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables. To get the most vitamins, eat a variety of vegetables and try new ones regularly.
Vitamin A plays an important role in vision, bone growth, reproduction and immunity, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. A diet high in vitamin A may lower the risk of many types of cancer, reports the ODS. The best vegetable sources of vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach and kale. If produce isn't readily available, canned, chunky vegetable soup is also an excellent source of vitamin A.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, helps heal wounds and protect the body from infections and viruses, according to the ODS. Vegetables that contain vitamin C include red and green peppers, broccoli, baked potatoes and tomatoes. Although peppers and tomatoes are technically fruits, they’re used in cooking as vegetables and are often considered vegetables.
Folate is a B vitamin that your body needs to produce and maintain new cells and prevent birth defects. Women who are folate-deficient when they become pregnant are more likely to give birth to premature or underweight infants or babies with neural tube defects, according to the ODS. In addition, both children and adults need folate to prevent anemia. Leafy green vegetables, like spinach and turnip greens, are the best sources of folate, but this nutrient is also found in black-eyed peas and asparagus.
Vitamin K is known as the clotting vitamin because without it blood wouldn’t clot, according to MedlinePlus. People with a vitamin K deficiency are more likely to have bleeding and bruising. Vitamin K is found in cauliflower, cabbage, spinach and other leafy green vegetables. If you take the blood thinner warfarin, ask your doctor how much vitamin K you should consume, as vitamin K affects how this medicine works.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body from infection and helps new blood cells grow, according to the ODS. Over time, not getting enough vitamin E may prevent you from fighting off infections. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and oils and vegetables. Spinach and broccoli are good vegetable sources. Avocados, which are technically fruits but eaten as vegetables, are also rich in vitamin E.