5 Obscure Healthy Vegetables that You Need in Your Life

oca

Vegetables are an essential part to any healthy diet, but it’s always a good idea to rotate what you eat and discover new flavors, textures and nutrients that Mother Nature has to offer. Unfortunately, common knowledge surrounding vegetables is limited, leaving many of us out of the loop on a bounty of delicious produce. Here are 5 healthy vegetables you don’t want to miss for both their taste and nutrition!

1. Celeriac

celeriac

Celeriac is a root vegetable that is widely cultivated in Europe and the Mediterranean, but not so popular and readily available in the US. It may very well be the vegetable world’s ugliest duckling, but it is what is on the inside that counts. In one cup of celeriac (otherwise known as celery root, turnip-rooted celery or knob celery), there are 66 calories, 468 milligrams of potassium, 2.8 grams of dietary fiber, 2.3 grams of protein, 20% of the RDA of vitamin C, 15% of the RDA of vitamin B-6 and a good amount of calcium, iron and magnesium.

2. Kai-Lan

kai-lan

Also known as “Chinese Broccoli” or “Chinese kale”, Kai-lan is a dark green leaf vegetable that has thick steams, blue-green leaves and flower heads akin to those of broccoli. In one cup, there are 20calories, 230 milligrams of potassium, 2.2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein, 41 percent of the RDA of vitamin C, 28 percent of the RDA of vitamin A and a good amount of calcium, iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium.

3. Kohlrabi

kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is commonly eaten in German-speaking countries and is also featured in northern Indian cuisine. It is also called “German turnip” or “turnip cabbage”. It has a similar taste and texture to that of broccoli or a cabbage heart but it is milder and sweeter. While they may appear both in green and purple, the edible parts are almost always pale yellow. In one cup, there are 37 calories, 473 milligrams of potassium, 3.9 grams of dietary fiber, 2.3 grams of protein, 139 percent of the RDA of vitamin C, 10 percent of the RDA of vitamin B-6 and plenty of calcium, iron and magnesium.

4. Oca

oca

You will see oca with a number of alternative names, such as uqa or the New Zealand yam. It is cultivated in the central and southern Andes and introduced to Europe in 1830 and New Zealand in 1860. It is a popular table vegetable in New Zealand, where it is simply called “yam”. It comes in many colors, including yellow, orange, pink, apricot and red. In 100 grams, oca offers more than 60 percent of the RDA of vitamin C, 12 percent of the RDA of zinc, 55 percent of the RDA of vitamin B-12, 8 grams of dietary fiber and only 30 calories.

5. Samphire

samphire

Samphire is named after the patron saint of fisherman, Saint Pierre. Samphire grows in rocky salt-sprayed regions along the coast of northern Europe, along the sea in on coastal marsh areas. Samphire generally sums up a few edible vegetables that grow along coastal areas, such as the rock samphire and golden samphire. In 100 grams of raw samphire, there are 45 calories and 3.1 grams of protein.

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Photo Credit: Denna Jones, Raphaël Labbé, Ted Major, Skankså Matupplevelser, Mesohungry

Aylin Erman
Aylin Erman

Aylin is founder of GlowKitchen, a food blog with an emphasis on vegan and gluten-free fare. Aylin has been living in Istanbul, where she is founder and CEO of a cold-pressed juice and healthy foods company JÜS (www.jusistanbul.com).