How Are Leafy Vegetables Valuable Nutrients?
Vegetables are pieces of living plants which are consumed either by humans or animals as food. The original meaning is now commonly used for more flexible terms, and refers to all green plant material together, to indicate all edible fruit material, including the leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, and even seeds. But, in today’s society, we tend to group vegetables together more accurately according to their type, for example, leafy greens are grouped together under the classification of green vegetables while carrots are grouped together under that of green fruits. Some common examples are spinach, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, squash, and tomatoes. In most of these examples, the actual vegetable is often recognizable to the casual customer, for instance, a leafy green leafy vegetable may not instantly be recognized as spinach, so the name may have to be given.
Some of the other commonly known vegetable categories are fruit, vegetable, legume, grain, root vegetables, and even vegetable form-meat, such as cattle. The word “vegetable” comes from the Greek word vege which means “of the vegetable,” and thus, refers to any edible plant material that is not fully fleshy. This became the basis for the division of vegetables into two major groups: fleshy and un-edible vegetable foods. Fleshe, an ancient Greek word, is commonly associated with the later division of vegetable types.
Fleshe is sometimes used to indicate classifications of vegetable materials based on their size. For example, onions and potatoes are usually grouped together because they are very similar in shape. Onions and potatoes, however, are actually a different class of vegetables, with onions being the smaller of the two and potatoes being the larger. Herbs also commonly group vegetables together based on whether they grow best in acidic or alkaline soil conditions. By extension, this means that herbs are grouped according to whether they can be used in conjunction with fruits or vegetables. For instance, basil and tomatoes are generally able to grow well together, while cilantro and onions will not.
A further classification is based on whether the plant parts fall off the stem or if they stay attached to the base of the plant. Many people mistakenly believe that the parts of a vegetable that remain on the plant do not count as vegetable matter. However, some parts such as the leaves, stems, and roots may contain vegetable matter even though these parts are not actual leaves, stems or roots. All parts of a vegetable plant can be used in soups, stews, and other recipes. Just remember that all parts of a plant, even stems and leaves, will eventually break down and become nutrients for the rest of the food.
A third classification is based on whether the vegetable has a solid form or only a seed or pod. Some examples of these include squash (which has a seed inside), sweet potatoes (which have a seed in the middle), and carrots (which usually have a seed for maximum flavor). While it is true that fruit vegetables such as melons, apples, bananas, pineapples and pears are all edible, others are only seasonings or garnishments and not actually edible at all. Vegetable soup is a good example of an edible vegetable.
Although it is possible to eat raw vegetables in many different cultures around the world, the health benefits of this diet depends upon your individual lifestyle. The best way to decide if a vegetable is a good source of vegetable fiber is to weigh it. Look for the following qualities: