Selecting the Best Vegetables for Your Health
The Made in Oasis Complete Nutrition Guide contains a list of healthy foods to eat on the alkaline diet. This article reviews why we chose these specific vegetables and explains their health benefits. Vegetables are good for rebuilding and repairing your body, which is why we recommend fruit, which your body uses for cleansing, in the morning, and vegetables in the latter part of the day for lunch and dinner.
Some of the foods below are technically fruit in the scientific literature. Others are fungi and legumes. These items are grouped under "Vegetables" because of how they are used and eaten in the Alkaline Diet. These foods should be treated as a vegetable and eaten in the latter part of the day.
If there are any on the list you have not eaten before, now is an excellent time to try these healthy plants.
Avocados are high in potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, protein, and folate. Importantly, avocados contain oleic acid, which is linked with lowered levels of inflammation. (1) The alkaline diet is vegan, and avocado's creaminess can be an excellent replacement for some of the dairy in your diet.
Bell peppers are part of the nightshade family, like tomatoes. They have a high water content, which makes them hydrating. They also contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, and Vitamin E. In fact, bell peppers are one of the best sources for Vitamin C. One medium red bell pepper will give you 169% of the suggested daily intake of Vitamin C. (2) Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system.
Chayote Squash is an excellent source of Vitamin B9, Manganese, and Fiber. Early research shows that chayote may be useful for improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure. (3) Chayote also has very few calories but is rich in fiber. Dietary fiber helps you to lose weight and maintain weight loss.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Chickpeas are high in protein. Those who are new to the alkaline diet's vegan aspects will find that they make an excellent meat replacement. Because they are high in both protein and fiber, chickpeas can help control and lower blood sugar. And like avocados, they are rich in cancer-fighting oleic acid. (4)
Here's a fun fact - cucumbers are about 96% water. The Complete Alkaline Nutrition Guide recommends drinking a gallon of alkaline spring water a day, which should keep you hydrated. Along with that, vegetables with high water content, like cucumbers, can help protect you from dehydration. Dehydration leads to fatigue, drops in physical performance, and reduced metabolism, so staying hydrated is essential for good health.
Izote (Yucca) Flower/Leaf
Izote is rich in potassium and folate, which are linked to increased blood flow to the brain, which helps with cognition. Izote also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in reducing symptoms and pain associated with arthritis. (5)
Leafy Green Vegetables
Several leafy green vegetables are included in The Complete Nutrition Guide, including Amaranth and Dandelion Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Purslane, Sea Vegetables, and Turnip Greens. These dark leafy greens are high in Vitamin K, A, C, and E. These vitamins are essential for bone and blood health. These leafy greens also contain antioxidants that protect your cells and help block the early stages of cancer. (6) Please note that all lettuce are all recommended except iceberg.
Mushrooms are one of the highest vegetables in selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant, and low levels of selenium have been linked with cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and thyroid disease. (7) Because mushrooms are fat-free and low in calories, they are an excellent way to add flavor to your dishes. Please note that all mushrooms are all recommended except shitake.
Nopal cactus has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and neuroprotective properties. (8) These properties can protect our cells from damage from free radicals and prevent nerve cells from loss of function. Some research also shows that nopales can also assist men with prostate problems and those with diabetes.
Like chickpeas, okra contains protein. Many vegetables do not have protein, so this makes it somewhat unique. Okra also contains polyphenols. Polyphenols help protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Polyphenols are also crucial for brain health. They protect against inflammation and help with cognition. (9)
Olives are high in Vitamin E, Iron, Copper, and Calcium. Because of their unique properties, olives have been studied for their ability to help prevent bone mass losses leading to osteoporosis. And in fact, the rates of osteoporosis are lower in countries where people eat a diet rich in olives. (10) These same countries have lower levels of chronic diseases and cancer, and the compounds in olives and olive oil seem to have protective effects.
Onions are a great source of B Vitamins, Vitamin C, and potassium. The B Vitamins are essential for metabolism and nerve function. Vitamin C is necessary for your immune health. And potassium is needed for your muscles to function correctly. Onions also contain many cancer-fighting compounds. Studies show these compounds can slow the spread of some cancers. (11)
There are many different kinds of squash. Those with yellow to orange flesh are high in Vitamins A and C. These Vitamins are good for your immune system. Squash also contains compounds that are important for eye health. Plus, like cucumber, squash has a high water percentage, which makes it very hydrating.
Tomatillos are low in calories but high in nutrition. They contain potassium, which is essential for blood pressure levels, and Vitamins A and C. Tomatillos also have a chemical compound known as withanolides. Withanolides are natural plant compounds shown to cause cell death in colon cancer cells. (12)
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is responsible for their red color. Lycopene has been associated with a decreased risk of chronic disease and certain types of cancer, including breast and prostate cancer. (13) Tomatoes also include naringenin, a compound that can reduce inflammation.
Zucchini is a solid source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is vital for your microbiome; it fuels your gut-friendly bacteria. Insoluble fiber is necessary because it helps you feel full longer and reduces problems with constipation.
Choosing Your Vegetables
The alkaline diet is vegan, so these vegetables should be a staple in your diet. As always, we recommend you chose organic, non-GMO versions of these vegetables. Wash your vegetables in a mix of apple cider vinegar and water to remove any remaining chemicals that may be on your produce.
(1) Basu, Arpiita. "Dietary Factors That Promote or Retard Inflammation." PubMed, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16484595/.
(2) "FoodData Central." FoodData Central, ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search.
(3) Ibarra-Alvarado, C., et al. "Vasoactive and Antioxidant Activities of Plants Used in Mexican Traditional Medicine for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases." PubMed, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20645769/.
(4) Jukanti, AK, et al. "Nutritional Quality and Health Benefits of Chickpea (Cicer Arietinum L.): a Review." PubMed, The British Journal of Nutrition, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22916806/.
(5) Cheeke, PR, et al. "Anti-inflammatory and Anti-arthritic Effects of Yucca Schidigera: A Review." PubMed Central (PMC), Journal of Inflammation, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1440857/.
(6) Yan, Lin. "Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: USDA ARS." USDA Agricultural Research Services, 13 Aug. 2016, www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/new...
(7) "Selenium." National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), 23 Sept. 2020, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-Consumer.
(8) El-Mostafa, Karym. "Nopal Cactus (Opuntia Ficus-indica) As a Source of Bioactive Compounds for Nutrition, Health, and Disease." PubMed, Molecules, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25232708/.
(9) Sarubbo, F., et al. "Effects of Resveratrol and Other Polyphenols on Sirt1: Relevance to Brain Function During Aging." PubMed Central (PMC), Current Neuropharmacology, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883375/.
(10) Garcia-Martinez, Olga, et al. "The Effect of Olive Oil on Osteoporosis Prevention." PubMed, International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24975408/.
(11) Fujwara, Yukio, et al. "Onionin A, a Sulfur-containing Compound Isolated from Onions, Impairs Tumor Development and Lung Metastasis by Inhibiting the Protumoral and Immunosuppressive Functions of Myeloid Cells." PubMed, Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27393711/.
(12) White, Peter T., et al. "Natural Withanolides in the Treatment of Chronic Diseases." SpringerLink, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-41334-1_14.
(13) Agarwal, S., and A. V. Rao. "Tomato Lycopene and Its Role in Human Health and Chronic Diseases." PubMed, Canadian Medical Association Journal, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11022591/.