Photo by Andrew Morrell Photography via Creative Commons


40 Healing Vegetables, Nature’s Medicine


When we first launched Green Global Travel in November of 2010, we had a simple (if ambitious) mission: To learn how to travel, and live, more sustainably, and to share that knowledge with others. To some degree, we started the “Go Green Tips” section for ourselves, to encourage our ongoing education in all things eco-friendly.


From early tips on energy-efficient lightbulbs and shopping at thrift stores rather than buying new clothes, we eventually graduated to more complex topics such as how to choose a “Green” hotel and DIY rainwater catchment systems. The most important thing we learned along the way is that being Green isn’t about grand gestures, but the little decisions we make every single day. It’s about making more responsible choices that consider our impact on the planet.


Those choices extend to the foods we choose to put into our body. As we learn more about the environmental and health risks associated with GMOs and processed foods, we’ve gradually added a lot more organic fruits and vegetables to our diet. Recently we’ve been doing more research into the health benefits of certain foods, many of which have been proven to help prevent certain diseases. We decided an overview of these healing vegetables would be perfect for our 100th Go Green Tip, as it spotlights the crucial role nature plays in our general well-being. Hope you enjoy!



photo by PepperedJane via Creative Commons


ARTICHOKE– Helps fight Alzheimer’s disease because it is a source for Vitamin K, which limits neuronal damage in the brain. They’ve also been shown to aid digestion and reduce cholesterol.


ARUGULA– Helps fight prostate, breast, cervical, colon and ovarian cancers because it contains certain phytochemicalswhich have been found to counter the carcinogenic effects of estrogen.


ASPARAGUS– Helps treat irritable bowel syndrome because it is rich in prebiotics, which stimulates growth and activity of microorganisms in the gut.


BEETS– Helps fight coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and peripheral vascular diseases because the root is a rich source of glycine betaine, which lowers homocysteine levels.


BELL PEPPERS– Helps boost immunity and keeps skin youthful because it is a rich source of Vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant.


BOK CHOY- Helps protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers because it contains certain antioxidant plant chemicals (including thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates).


BROCCOLI- Helps fight the flu virus because is an exceptionally rich source of Vitamin C, which is a powerful natural antioxidant and immune modulator.


BRUSSEL SPROUTS– Helps prevent colon cancers because it contains sinigrin, which destroys pre-cancerous cells.



Photo by Color Line via Creative Commons


BUTTERNUT SQUASH- Helps the body protect against lung and oral cavity cancers because it contains vitamin A (more than that in pumpkin), which is a powerful natural antioxidant.


CABBAGE– Helps reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood because it is a powerhouse of phyto-chemicals, which are powerful antioxidants.


CARROTS- Helps improve vision because they are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in the liver, after which it is transformed (in the retina) to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision.


CAULIFLOWER– Helps prevent bladder, breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer because it provides special nutrient support for three body systems which are closely connected with cancer development as well as cancer prevention.


COLLARD GREENS– Helps prevent bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer because it provides nutrient support for the detox and inflammatory systems that are closely connected with cancer development as well as cancer prevention.


CORN (SWEET) – Helps improve vision because it is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that promote healthy sight.


CUCUMBERS-  Helps reduce skin irritations and puffiness and soothes sunburns because it scavenges free radicals, improves antioxidant status, and inhibits the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes.


EGGPLANT– Helps improve blood circulation and nourishes the brain because its skin has significant amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals, called anthocyanins.


Eggplant in garden

Photo by Eran Finkle via Creative Commons


GREEN BEANS– Help form healthy connective tissue because they contain a good source of absorbable silicon.


JICAMA- Helps with weight loss because it is one of the finest sources of dietary fiber and an excellent source of oligofructose inulin, which does not metabolize in the human body, making the root an ideal sweet snack for diabetics and dieters.


KOLRABI- Helps maintain healthy teeth and gums because the stem is a rich source of Vitamin Cwhich has  antioxidant properties and helps build connective tissue in the body.


KALE– Helps fight arthritis, joint pains, disorders of the immune system, and asthma because it is very rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which are thought to play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body.


LEEKS– Help improve immune functions because they are a rich source of Vitamin A, which maintains the integrity and health of the mucosal linings of your nose, throat, urinary tract and digestive tract.


LETTUCE– Helps keep your heart healthy because the Vitamin C and beta-carotene work together to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, lessening the buildup of plaque.


OKRA- Helps prevent diabetes because of superior fiber and other nutrients, which prove beneficial in normalizing blood sugar in the body.


ONIONS– Helps fight off illness because the phytochemicals improve the working of Vitamin C in the body, which gives you improved immunity.



Photo by Muffet via Creative Commons


PARSNIPS– Help reduce risk of stroke and high blood pressure because they contain potassium, which is essential for skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle function.


PEAS– Help prevent birth defects because they’re an excellent source of folic acid, which is required for DNA synthesis inside the cell.


POTATOES– Help offset incidence of kidney stones because they are rich sources of magnesium, which can offset the accumulation of calcium in the kidney.


PUMPKIN– Helps your vision because it contains the highest levels of Vitamin A, which is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is essential for good sight.


RADISH– Helps protect against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers because it contains sulforaphane, which inhibits cancer-cell growth.



Photo by Frangrit via Creative Commons


RHUBARB– May help destroy cancer cells when baked for 20 minutes because it has natural chemicals called polyphenols. Exactly how these powerful chemicals work remains unclear.


RADICCHIO– Helps fight malaria because the bitter principle in the radicchio is lactucopicrin, which is a potent anti-malarial agent and also has a sedative and analgesic (painkiller) effect.


SPINACH- Helps  relieve dry, itchy skin and creates a radiant complexion because it’s a rich source of several vital anti-oxidant vitamins (Vitamin A, Vitamin C), which play a healing role in aging.


SHALLOTS– Help reduce cholesterol because they contain  allicin, which inhibits the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells.


SWEET POTATO– Helps support healthy blood sugar levels and treat anemia because it contains manganese, which is a pivotal component in the metabolism of carbohydrates.


SWISS CHARD– Helps strengthen bones because it is an excellent source for Vitamin K, which has a potential role in bone health by promoting bone formation and strengthening.


TOMATOES– Help prevents skin cancer because they contain Lycopene, a flavonoid antioxidant, which, together with carotenoids, protects cells and other structures in the body from ultraviolet rays.


Tomatoes on vine

Photo by Manjith Kainickara, via Creative Commons


TURNIP GREENS– Help inhibit the growth of tumors because they contain high levels of glucosinolate, which helps the liver process toxins and fight the effects of carcinogens.


YAMS- Help decrease risk of heart attack and stroke because they’re a good source of Vitamin B6, a nutrient needed by the body to break down homocysteine, which is an amino acid that can directly damage blood vessel walls.


WATERCRESS– Helps reduce wrinkles because it is a rich source of beta carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are needed to quench free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS).


ZUCCHINI– Helps reduce blood pressure because it is a good source of potassium, which is a heart-friendly electrolyte that counters the effects of sodium.  –by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett



This post was brought you in part by Hostel Bookers, who offer vegetarian-centered accommodations in countries around the world. 


If you like our post on 40 Healing Vegetables, then you may also like:

3 Amazing Berry Recipes For Better Cognitive Health

Mediterranean Recipe for Meatless Stuffed Peppers

Haitian Pumpkin Soup Recipe

The Best Sweet Potato Ravioli Recipe Ever!

30 Great Ethnic Food Recipes From GGT’s 1st Year

9 Responses to GO GREEN TIP #100: 40 Healing Vegetables, Nature’s Medicine

  • Franca says:

    Thank you for posting this list! I’m not doing that bad at all with my daily veggie ration. I’m so glad I am a vegetables lover and I don’t need to force myself like many do to eat this gorgeous food.

  • What a useful list! I’ve been adding most of these to my diet. it’s hard to stick to the healthy way of life all the time.

  • Vera says:

    I absolutely love vegetables and always have. There might have been the odd exception, like eggplant, but that was because it wasn’t cooked in a way I liked – now I appreciate it much more. It’s amazing how good something can taste once you prepare it to your liking, or combine foods you never thought of combining. In Australia for example, burgers come with sliced beetroot, and it’s so tasty! I also make a mean courgette/zucchini cake and remember fondly the purple potato dish a Tamil friend served to me as a dessert, with cream… I think vegetables have always been marketed as this healthy (=boring) necessity to most people, and it’s a well-kept secret that they are potentially the tastiest part of your meal – of my meals, at least:) Spread the word!

  • What a great list! Gotta keep variety in your diet and they say the more colorful your veggies are the more vitamins they pack.

  • Thomas says:

    I really need to pick up the fresh vegetable eating. I usually do frozen veggies and fresh fruit but I know I dont get the same benefits as i would fresh vegs. Since I only like going shopping once per month its hard keeping fresh veggies.

  • Andrea says:

    Excellent list and tips! I’ve been exploring nutrigenomics lately and the therapeutic power of vegetables is amazing. Good thing I’ve always loved them! I only eat organic as well. The toxic load on all of us since the 1950’s is both staggering and disgusting…

  • Ali says:

    Great list! Interesting how many of the vegetables that help prevent colon cancer are…well…not so friendly to the colon?

  • Nicola says:

    Love this acticle and your page! So inspirational… now, what veggies am I having for dinner?

  • Dan says:

    Great post!! We can easily forget just how good fresh vegetables really are for our body.

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