Which veggies should I eat or skip? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Which veggies should I eat or skip?

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Most people typically don't eat enough vegetables.  Healthy eating plans usually suggest five to thirteen servings of veggies and fruit per day.  That is 2½ to 6½ cups per day.  Most Americans get a measly three servings of fruit and vegetables a day.  The benefits of fresh produce are apparent, though.  Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration, two common causes of vision loss.

However, some veggies can give you a better bang for your buck, when talking about nutrition and vitamins.  Nutrition and fitness expert Romen McDonald suggests consuming broccoli, asparagus, and spinach. "Eat those and you'll be getting a ton of vitamins and minerals in," said McDonald.

McDonald suggests that not all veggies are created equal. He listed the vegetables with the least nutritional value:
* Celery
Eight inches of celery only adds up a tiny six calories, but are you really getting any nutrients in return? The answer: Yes, but only if go beyond an eight-inch stalk, which provides a mere 1.6 percent of our daily requirement for calcium and 2 percent of our daily requirement for vitamin C.
 
McDonald suggest a better alternative would be carrots.  Rabbit's favorite snacks are loaded with eye-protecting beta carotene.  

* Cucumbers
The cucumber is another low-calorie veggie. One cup of sliced cucumber weighs in at only 16 calories. However, it's slim on nutrients, too.  In fact, cucumbers contain five percent or less of our daily requirement for potassium, manganese, magnesium and vitamin C.
 
The nutrition expert recommends purslane, a peppery herb that's high in heart-healthy alpha linolenic acid (a type of omega-3). It's also higher in beta carotene than spinach. You can toss it in salads, fold it into omelets, or use it as a crunchy green on sandwiches.
 
* Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables in the United States, along with potatoes (as French fries) and tomatoes.  Although that doesn't mean it's the healthiest option. While iceberg is low in calories and offers some vitamins and fiber, other dark leafy greens contain much more vitamin A and C.
 
A better alternative, according to McDonald, is Romaine lettuce.  This leafy green offers much more beta carotene than iceberg.

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