Vegetables are a source of important vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Because vegetables differ in the vitamins and minerals they contain, it is important to eat a variety of vegetables. Cabbages, plantains, peppers and leafy green vegetables like poke greens and kale are rich sources of vitamin C. Deep orange and dark green vegetables are high in vitamin A. Broccoli, spinach, collards and kale are dark green vegetables that contain calcium and iron. Cabbage family vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, turnips and rutabagas help prevent certain cancers.

Fresh vegetables are naturally low in fat, calories and sodium. Extra fat and calories can come from cooking or other types of processing. If you add fat, oil, margarine or lard when you cook vegetables, you also add fat and calories. If you buy frozen vegetables with special sauces, you may also be adding fat and calories. You can buy frozen vegetables without special sauces and get the same nutrients as fresh vegetables. Some canned vegetables have added salt. While the salt adds flavor, it also adds extra sodium to your diet. When you shop for canned vegetables, look for vegetables with no salt added.

To find out more about the vitamins and minerals in vegetables, read the files for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium.

To test what you learned, take the Quiz on Vegetables.

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