You, like most people, probably don’t really care about vegetables. It’s just a fact of living in modern society that other foods are so much more appealing. If only there was a magic vegetable that you can just eat one of and never have to think about fruits and vegetables again!
The truth is, some vegetables matter more than others for reasons that you might not even know of, so I’m going to tell you which ones give you the greatest benefits and why. Even if you don’t care about getting your 5 a day, if you just focus on getting the best veggies you’ll get most of the benefits in the fewest servings possible.
Do you know what the color of your vegetables means for your health? What about the vital importance of red — not just green — veggies? You might be surprised: what you thought about healthy vegetables is only part of the picture. Who knows, maybe you’ll like the recipes in this blog so much that you’ll be sneaking veggies into your meals just for the competitive advantage!
In one word, it comes down to health. Americans are low in many critical nutrients for health. Most of these are the same nutrients you can find in vegetables, especially greens and reds. Without these, you are at a higher risk for every chronic disease that is facing the modern world.
According to an analysis of American diets, the nutrients Americans are lowest in:
That’s a long list.
Without enough fiber, you’re at a higher risk for cancer, heart disease, unhealthy weight gain, and inflammation.
You’ll see vitamin C insufficiency show up in your skin, your bone and joint health, and whether your immune system works well or not.
Not enough potassium corresponds with poor heart health on multiple levels. It goes on and on: plants provide nutrients that are essential for a long life.
June 17th is National Eat Your Vegetable Day, which falls just in the middle of National Fruit and Vegetables Month. With fewer than half of Americans getting enough of many of the nutrients in vegetables, make your goal to eat a vegetable with every meal for a day, week, or month to start a nutritious habit that will serve you for years to come. Support your health so you can focus on what’s important for you.
Nitric oxide is the signaling molecule that opens up blood veins and allows for greater blood flow. This is such an important molecule that a nobel prize was awarded for its discovery in 1998.
Nitric oxide levels go down with age, heart disease, metabolic disorders like diabetes, and a variety of other conditions like chronic inflammation.
Use antibacterial mouthwash regularly? You probably have low N-O levels; the mouthwash kills beneficial bacteria that play a role in converting nitrates to the active form of nitric oxide.
Use antacids like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)? You probably have low N-O levels.
Heart problems? Diabetes? Cancer? Inflammation? Yep. Each one impairs nitric oxide, and every chronic disease I’ve researched is in some way linked with changed N-O metabolism.
Thankfully, a lot of research shows that raising N-O levels with natural nitrates can have a clear role in promoting a healthy condition. This is one of the fundamental, but too often overlooked, beneficial nutrients in your vegetables that you should start paying attention to now!
Since it’s my mission to help you live a healthier life, I want to make sure you’ve got the resources to make the most of your vegetables. If you want to refresh your memory on all the benefits of healthy nitric oxide levels, check out these resources:
6 Healthy Benefits Of Nitric Oxide From Natural Nitrates
5 Performance Enhancing Benefits of Nitric Oxide and Natural Nitrates
Besides nitric oxide, there are thousands of special chemicals naturally found in plants that research has shown may be the missing link in today’s diets. These natural chemicals are called phytochemicals, and they have profound potential for improving your health. Just look at the research on anthocyanins and brain health, lutein which may help make exercise and performance easier, and the well-known isothiocyanates in plants in the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc.) and their potent role in fighting inflammation and cancer.
The thing is, focus too much on one vegetable, and you may end up doing more damage than good. Some vegetables have anti-nutrients which can interfere with your health by preventing other nutrients from being absorbed or by causing damage by themselves.
For most people at a normal dose, your liver can get rid of these harmful compounds. But if, for example, you eat kale and cabbage with every single meal, eventually those beneficial chemicals can get too high and harm your health.
That means you need to get a balance of vegetables in your diet. We’ve got the best red and the top green vegetables that you can cycle between to get the best the natural world has to offer without running the risk of eating too much of one anti-nutrient.
But I have to mention what’s on everybody’s minds by now: nobody has time to make vegetables with every meal. If you’re like most people, there’s too much on your plate to let you focus on getting enough greens on your plate every day. Resync Recovery is going to be the perfect solution for you.
Resync Recovery is a natural, vegan nitrate source that uses the highest quality ingredients available to give you some of the most important plant-based nutrients you might not be getting elsewhere.
Red beetroot, red spinach extract, and aronia berry provide an unparalleled dose of nitrates that are converted to heart healthy nitric oxide. Each of these also provide their own nutritional powerhouse, including potassium and antioxidant polyphenols, to give you a natural energy boost without the crash that you might get with caffeine.
The other added ingredients synergies to enhance your health: turmeric extract is an incredible anti-inflammatory; ginger helps fight fatigue and oxidative stress; mango promotes the health of your tiniest blood vessels; and inulin may support healthy gut bacteria, which has wide-reaching beneficial effects.
There’s no sugar added to Resync Recovery because I want it to truly help you, not contribute to more damage. That’s the same reason why all my products are oxalate free, and quality certified too — I want you to rest knowing that Resync stands for quality, transparency, and health. Add all these alongside your daily nutritional value of vitamin C, and you’ve got a supplement with powerful effects!
In the plant world, color coordinates with function. Interestingly, your green veggies can have many of the nutrients of your orange, red, purple, or other colored veggies — it’s just the green chlorophyll is so strong that it covers up the other colors in your vegetables.
Regardless, there are unique benefits of eating the rainbow; different colored vegetables have different nutrients. Many of the benefits are tied to natural plant chemicals called phytochemicals; the chemicals that make vegetables uniquely beneficial are the same that give a plant its color and it’s flavor.
You’ll find carotenoids in your orange, yellow, red and green vegetables. Anthocyanins are in your dark red, blue, and purple fruit and veggies. Incredibly potent antioxidants called isothiocyanates are only found in dark green leafy vegetables. Curcuminoids cause the yellow color of turmeric, and they work incredibly well to fight oxidation and inflammation at the cellular level. Even your white veggies like ginger or onion have strong beneficial effects tied up in their strong flavors.
Looking at just reds and greens for comparison, you’ll notice that there are many similarities that make them both excellent choices for boosting the nutritional value of your food. Here are some of the more important nutrients in most red and green vegetables.
Benefits of Green and Red Fruit And Vegetables
✔️ High fiber for gut health, which impacts immunity, mental health, and inflammation
✔️ Vitamin C which is a front-line antioxidant that scavenges free-radicals and is crucial for muscle, bone, joint and skin health
✔️ Vitamin A, including beta-carotene and other plant-based carotenoids, for immune, skin, hair and nail health
✔️ Vitamin K for bone and heart health
✔️ Potassium, the heart healthy electrolyte, key for balanced blood pressure, kidney health, and for optimal hydration. Beets in particular contain healthy amounts of both sodium and potassium
✔️ Natural folic acid which prevents neural tube defects during pregnancy and supports methylation (detoxification, immune response, genetic expression), and helps lower excessive homocysteine levels for total heart health
✔️ Other B-vitamins which are essential for burning calories, cellular repair, and making proteins
✔️ Omega-3 fatty acids which promote cholesterol health and serve key anti-inflammatory roles
✔️ Minerals: iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper - essential for healthy connective tissues, heart health, and daily function
✔️ Rich in chlorophyll which can reduce harmful toxins
✔️ Rich in ellagic acid, quercetin and hesperidin, along with other beneficial plant chemicals
This is just scratching the surface of a deep well of research which shows how important vegetables are for health. So, what color vegetable should you eat the most?
Red vegetables are so packed with nutrients that it’s almost better to ask, what are red veggies NOT good for?
In the body, red vegetables provide a spectrum of anti-inflammatory plant chemicals that work like no other pain-reliever or anti-inflammatory can. They fight oxidative stress — a smoldering damage that makes you age faster — at the source, and also have side-stream benefits like pain relief, better performance, cognitive enhancement, and more.
It comes as no surprise that the best red veggies on my list are also powerful nitric oxide boosters, essential for energy, heart health, exercise, and immune function. If you want to know how to combine these vegetables to synergize their benefits, giving you the best benefit possible, check out my blog: Make The Best Of Your Veggies: Synergy Of Whole-food Nitrate Combinations.
On the more intuitive side of things, the red veggies correspond to the root chakra. Red vegetables are at the center of your foundation and balance — which makes perfect sense considering how foundational they are to your health!
The nutrients in red fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer, support joint, heart, and immune health, and fight pain and inflammation. Here are some of the most powerful plants to paint your plate red.
Red spinach is taking the sports supplement industry by storm. Recent research shows that just a fraction of the amount of red spinach can produce substantial endurance gains compared to beetroot extract. Red spinach extract also has vitamin E, potassium, and is loaded with inflammation-fighting antioxidants for your physical and mental health to put you at ease whether you’re facing a tournament or adding grace to your years.
Red spinach contains essential amino acids, nitrates, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamins C and E, phytoecdysteroids, folate, and potassium. So far, it is shown to regulate blood sugar levels, improve kidney function, and make exercise easier by lowering the amount of air you have to breathe to make work happen. All in all, red spinach is one of the most concentrated sources of nutrients in the plant kingdom.
The catch? In its raw form, red spinach is also high in oxalates, which can lead to kidney stones and can block the absorption of other minerals. Moderate the amount of amaranth you eat and consider an oxalate-free supplement like Resync Recovery to minimize that risk.
Aronia berries are a concentrated source of unique antioxidants plus a remarkable amount of dietary nitrates. Even the types of aronia berries that have the lowest levels of nitrates make ruby-red beets pale to a paltry pink. Research in humans is still catching up, but studies show that aronia may have promising effects on inflammation in athletes and may lower cholesterol and triglycerides, among other benefits.
Chokeberry is an excellent source of anthocyanins. These antioxidants are highly water-soluble and they move into the vascular system easily, meaning they are gone within 24 hours. That means you need to eat anthocyanins more often since your body cannot store those water-soluble phytochemicals.
Elderberry is a good runner up to aronia if you can’t find it in the store. You can cut your work out for you by opting for any one of Resync’s products. Being one of the most potent antioxidants ever discovered, aronia is in each one of Resync’s blends. You’ll find both aronia and elderberry in my Resync Collagen Blend and aronia is a star player in Resync Recovery and Resync Beverage — my newest hydrating sparkling beverage that gives your energy, your gut, your immune system, and your heart the daily boost it needs.
Red beet root is a good source of vitamin K, fiber, folate, potassium and nitrates. Beets also have phytochemicals called betalains, which improve heart health and performance independently of the nitrates and other beneficial nutrients in beets.
The problem is that you just don’t know how much of a benefit you’re getting when you down a couple pounds of roasted beets (yes, it takes the nitrates in about 2 or 3 beets to get the immediate benefits shown in research).
You can try beet juice as well, but you’ll have the same problems: concentrated doesn’t always deliver. Check out our table comparing nitrate doses from many different sources:
A standardized nitrate supplement一one that guarantees a minimum level of nitrates per serving—eliminates these issues. Beet powder supplements might provide a benefit, but going with a standardized and certified beet powder — Resync Recovery is one great option — makes sure.
There are plenty of other incredibly healthy red vegetables. Red tomatoes and bell peppers may reduce the risk of diabetes, osteoporosis and high cholesterol. Lycopene in red tomatoes is tied to reducing the risk of cancer. Radicchio is a good source of vitamins K, C and E, folate, copper, manganese and vitamin B6. Red chilies contain magnesium, copper, huge doses of vitamin C, and capsaicin. Capsaicin is clinically researched to reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to get your colors to get all the benefits plants have to offer!
Red Fruits and Vegetables
Green Fruits and Vegetables
Aronia berry, Acai berry, Black Currant, Blood oranges, Bilberries, Blueberries, Blackberry, Carrots, Cherries, Cloudberries, Cranberries, Red Currant, Black Currant, Elderberries, Goji berries, Guava, Hawthorn, Papaya, Pink grapefruit, Red grapefruit, Pomegranates, Purple cabbage, Radicchio, Radishes, Raspberries, Red amaranth, Red apples, Red Beets, Red bell peppers, Red cabbage, Red chili peppers, Red grapes, Red hot pepper, Red leaf lettuce, Red onions, Red pears, Red/Purple potatoes (with skin), Red Spinach/Amaranth, Red swiss chard, Rhubarb, Schizandra, Strawberries, Red tomatoes, Watermelon, and Wild strawberries
Artichokes, Arugula/Rocket, Asparagus, Avocados, Bok choy, Broccoflower, Broccoli, Broccoli rabe, Broccoli sprouts, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Capers, Cauliflower, Celery, Cilantro, Chayote squash, Chinese cabbage, Cucumbers, Edamame / Soy beans, Endive, Fennel/Anise, Green apples, Green beans, Green cabbage, Green grapes, Green onions / Scallions, Green pears, Green peppers, Herbs, Honeydew, Kale, Kohlrabi, Kiwifruit, Leafy greens (beet, carrot, collard, dandelion, mustard, radish, turnip, etc.), Leeks, Lettuce, Limes, Microgreens, Okra, Olives, Parsley, Peas, Pistachios, Snow Peas, Spinach, Sprouted seeds, Sugar snap peas, Tomatillos, Watercress, and Zucchini
Simply put, greens have the reputation they have because they’re such a common way to get so many of the essential nutrients you need. There’s a reason popeye was pounding cans of spinach — it ranks among the healthiest food on the planet.
Green veggies are associated with the heart chakra. With the amount of folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, nitrates, magnesium, and iron in most dark green leafy vegetables, I think the ancient Vedic traditions were on to something!
When you compare paler greens to dark-colored vegetables: the darker the leafy vegetable, the higher the nutritional content. So, choose darker green vegetables if you want to maximize the nutritional impact of your food.
When it comes to nitrates, B-vitamins like folate, and some carotenoids, you’re actually going to get more in the best red vegetables compared to green vegetables. I’m going to include the green veggies here anyway because they might be easier to get and more familiar, but start getting more variety on your plate by getting some reds too!
Hands down, broccoli sprouts are the best source of isothiocyanates like glucosinolate. When these are eaten raw, those isothiocyanates trigger one of the most powerful detoxifying, anti-inflammatory signals known — right down at the genetic level. These isothiocyanates are also the best plant-based sources of sulfur, which is important for maintaining your antioxidant system.
The one draw-back? If you eat too many every day you run the risk of damaging your thyroid, especially if you’re deficient in iodine, which is not hard at all depending on where your vegetables come from. Make sure to eat other iodine-rich foods (go for seaweed) and get a variety of vegetables.
These unique anti-inflammatories come alongside a rich nutritional package: dark green leafy vegetables are amazing sources of vitamin C for immune, skin, and bone health, magnesium, potassium, and iron for blood health, and vitamin K for bone and heart health. These each come with a whopping dose of gut-healthy fiber for an overall healthy digestive system.
If you’re curious what are the best green veggies to boost nitric oxide, spinach ranks up at the top (alongside another healthy leafy green, arugula). It has all the benefits of other dark green leafy vegetables listed above, but without the glucosinolates. That’s a good thing because too much of those particular chemicals can cause thyroid issues, and spinach makes up for it by being even higher in healthy micronutrients than veggies in the cabbage family.
Just like red spinach, there’s a downside with too much green spinach too. Unless you’re eating an isolated spinach extract, like in Resync products, you might be getting too many oxalates, which can hurt the absorption of other minerals and can eventually lead to increased risk of kidney stones. I’ll reiterate that you can minimize this risk just by eating a wide variety of vegetables.
Being rich in vitamins A, E, K and C, folate and other B-vitamins, while also being one of the top-3 sources of natural nitrates, there’s a reason spinach has a reputation for being a superfood!
Offering vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and folate and a huge dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat means that the avocado can play a key role in getting some of the most important vitamins and minerals. Those healthy fats plus the magnesium, vitamin C, and B-vitamins make avocados a go-to food for healthy, clear, moisturized skin. Potassium and monounsaturated fats are a winning combination for heart health, with potassium’s ability to improve blood flow and kidney health, and monounsaturated fats and fiber known for reducing LDL cholesterol.
Small and mighty, kiwi is one of the best sources of vitamin C out there, and it has high amounts of specific forms of vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are critical anti-inflammatories that may have unique performance benefits. Kiwi is one of the few green vegetables to contain protease, a digestive enzyme that helps digest protein, so it pairs well with any protein-rich meal.
Differences Between Red and Green Fruit and Vegetables
✔️ Anthocyanins - polyphenol antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties for blood vessels, liver function, eyesight, the brain, joints and for the entire body. Can protect the liver, improve eyesight and reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
✔️ Lycopene: Contains antioxidants and anti-cancer properties- mostly found in tomatoes, and particularly when cooked. Improve vision, fight infection and protect against damage from tobacco smoke.
✔️ Betalains in red beetroot have unique heart-healthy benefits, even outside of the nitrates and other positive nutrients in beets.
✔️ Capsaicin and capsaicinoids in spicy red peppers are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce pain levels.
❌ Lutein and zeaxanthin
✔️ Lutein and zeaxanthin, and other plant forms of vitamin A that fight inflammation and may help to prevent cancer and promote eye health
✔️ Isothiocyanates like glucosinolates and sulforaphane which detoxify inflammation- and cancer-causing chemicals
I’ve given you a list of some of the most beneficial ingredients to promote your health on eat your vegetables day, but if you want to make eating these a tasty experience, you have to check out my new science-based cookbook. Part research review so you can dive deep into the science of performance and recovery, and part cookbook to make getting those benefits hassle-free and delicious.
If you liked this blog, you will love this book. Here is a sample of what you’ll find there; you’ll start feeling the benefits as soon as you flip to a page and start making one of my customized recipes!
Recover Every Layer of Your Body: 40 Science-Based Recipes Focusing On Better Sleep, Faster Recovery and Healthier Connective Tissues.
If you like healthy food, you will love these recipes and the science that backs them up!
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Helping you lead a healthier life,
The Resync Team
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USDHHS. Adequacy of U.S. Health Patterns. https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/previous-dietary-guidelines/2015/advisory-report/appendix-e-3/appendix-e-31-adequacy-usda-food-patterns. Accessed 14 June 2021.
Written by Barbara Depta and registered dietitian, Detrick Snyder, MPH, RDN. Updated on 6/14/2021.
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