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Food & Drink

Top 10 vegetables to grow and eat for health

Growing your own food doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have never gardened, start small using containers or a small plot of land.

Plant vegetables you really like to eat.
Several vegetables that grow well in Iowa made it to the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach “Top 10 Vegetables to Eat for Health” list.

Choose to grow and eat the following vegetables to boost your health:

• Broccoli

• Brussels spouts

• Carrots

• Kale

• Pumpkin

• Red bell peppers

• Spinach

• Sweet potatoes

• Tomatoes

• Winter squash

These vegetables earned their ratings by providing at least 20 percent of the recommended dietary intake for one or more nutrients such as Vitamin A or potassium.

Each vegetable was also rated for its oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). This measures the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. Consuming high-ORAC foods may help protect cells from damage by oxygen radicals. This, in turn, may slow down the processes associated with aging in both the body and the brain.

Numerous publications are available to download and print as you plan and plant your garden.

Go to the extension store online at and enter either the title of the publication of interest in the search box:

•Planting a Home Vegetable Garden

•Small Plot Vegetable Gardening

•Container Vegetable Gardening

With questions, contact your local county extension office or enroll in classes to become a master gardener.

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