Home > Vegetables and Health > Powerhouse Vegetables

Powerhouse Vegetables

By: Lynn Jones - Updated: 16 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Powerhouse Vegetables Vitamins Minerals

Want better health more energy, and the ability to fight off disease? Add more of the following powerhouse vegetables to your diet! While all vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients, the vegetables profiled in this article are veritable treasure troves of nutrition.

Beans, Peas, and Legumes

Inexpensive and versatile, beans are packed with B vitamins, especially folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin, as well as magnesium, potassium, and phytonutrients. They’re also a good source of protein, fibre, and antioxidants. Dried beans contain more of the water-soluble vitamins than canned beans, but both are good for you. Beans are part of the Legume family, which includes string beans, lima beans, peas, lentils, chick peas (garbanzos), soybeans, peanuts, and all forms of dried beans.

Soybeans deserve special mention. Soybeans are a complete protein – a good meat substitute - and a great source of vitamin E, potassium, folic acid, magnesium, and selenium. In addition, they’re rich in phytoestrogens, compounds which mimic the human oestrogen hormone. Common forms of soy include tofu, soy milk, soy cheeses, soy cold cuts, soy “ground beef”, soy “sausage”, tempeh, edamame, and soy flour. A half a cup of tofu contains about 40 percent of the protein, 25 percent of the calcium, and almost 90 percent of the iron needed by an adult woman. Soy is also a good dairy substitute for people who are lactose intolerant.

Broccoli and the Brassicas

Broccoli is a much-touted powerhouse vegetable. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotenes, calcium, and iron. One cup of broccoli provides 100 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C and it’s a great source of iron. Broccoli also supplies significant amounts of vitamin E, vitamin B6, and fibre. Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family, which also includes Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and many dark, leafy greens such as collards, kale, Swiss chard, and mustard greens. Find out more about more members of this vegetable family in Brassicas. The lesser-known brassicas are also nutritional powerhouses: why not learn more how to cook them? See the articles under Cooking Vegetables for tips.

Spinach and Leafy Greens

Spinach is rich in vitamins C and E, beta-carotenes, luteins, the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, B6, and folic acid), omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and many other micro- and phytonutrients. Spinach is the most popular of the dark, leafy greens, but collards, kale, mustard greens, and Swiss chard are also packed with the same nutrients.


Tomatoes, a member of the nightshade family, are rich in vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and is one of the carotenes that give tomatoes their bright red colour. (Yellow and orange tomatoes do not contain lycopene, but are still good sources of vitamins and minerals). Tomatoes are one of the few sources of dietary lycopene: other sources include watermelon and grapefruit. Try to eat tomatoes or another lycopene-rich food daily.


Another member of the nightshade family, potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates - needed for energy - as well as fibre, vitamin C, and potassium. They also contain many minerals and B-complex vitamins (especially vitamin B6). One potato (with skin) supplies 45 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, and more potassium than a banana or a serving of broccoli. One type of potato, the Russet Norkotah, contains 40 percent of the daily requirement of iron.

Winter Squash, Pumpkin, and Sweet Potatoes

The pumpkin is a powerhouse vegetable that’s often overlooked. Rich in alpha-carotenes, beta-carotenes, vitamin C, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, and fibre, it’s a great source of nutrition. Fresh, tinned, or frozen, the orange winter squashes - including pumpkin, butternut, buttercup, and Hubbard - should be a mainstay of every diet. Read more about this vegetable family in Squash, Cucumbers, and the Cucurbits. Sweet potatoes, although not a squash, are another orange vegetable in this nutritional grouping: they’re rich in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and fibre.


Bell peppers are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium. A ripe pepper (red, orange, yellow, etc.) contains twice as much vitamin C and ten times as much vitamin A as an unripe green pepper (although all peppers are good for you!) One cup of raw red peppers contains almost 300 percent the necessary daily amount of vitamin C and 100 percent of vitamin A. Orange peppers are an especially good source of the carotene lutein – important for eye and skin health.

Add these delicious, nutritious powerhouse vegetables to your diet, and watch your health and energy improve!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Robyn
    Re: Growing Squash and Pumpkins
    @Freemind - They will happily grow on a teepee type arrangement. They are fine growing up high, you can stablise them if you thing…
    17 July 2018
  • Freemind
    Re: Growing Squash and Pumpkins
    Was given some onion squash seeds. Have four successful plants 3 of which have squash growing on them. I put up sticks because they…
    16 July 2018
  • Kamel
    Re: Everything You Need To Know About Brassica Vegetables
    search for any work i am agricultural engineer vegetables and foods
    22 June 2018
  • ella_TP
    Re: Growing and Using Artichokes
    Artichokes are best planted as began seedlings in trenches eight inches profound, fixed with one inch of fertilizer or decayed…
    26 February 2018
  • Rabby
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    I've been doing my own pickled onions for myself and my family for 30 years and I di them the same every year . I have about 10 of…
    16 February 2017
  • MrsF
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    I've done my 1st jars of onions today using 1/2 a 4kg pack of Parrish's onions. I'm using Sarsons pickling vinegar with…
    30 October 2016
  • Silverfox
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    When making a brine for pickles you need a tablespoon of salt for every pint of water, leave pickles in for no more than 24hrs. 3…
    28 October 2016
  • Pickles
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    I live in Spain and am having great difficulty in buying pickleing onions, anyone got any idea where I can buy them as I need…
    16 October 2016
  • Ian
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    Hi, I am in the process of doing some pickle onions. Yesterday I made a brine solution with approx 5 ltrs water and went a bit…
    5 October 2016
  • Minety15
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    Hi, I've been given a jar of pickled shallots and they are soft, does anyone know if it's possible to crisp them up again…
    30 September 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the VegetableExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.