Taro has a high starch content, making it a high calorie vegetable choice. In large quantities, this makes it a unhealthier option in comparison to other vegetables. Taro can be prepared in a variety of ways, but is commonly associated with with being in stews and soups as it has a great ability in absorbing fats.
Butternut squash is a well loved, hearty vegetable because of its sweet taste and nutty flavour profile. Whilst we think of butternut squash being an excellent replacement for high carbohydrate foods like spaghetti, it is actually a high carbohydrate food itself. Those looking for a low-calorie swap can over indulge on this sweet vegetable and still feel unsatisfied.
Celeriac has been hailed as an low-calorie swap for potatoes, but most people don’t know that the high levels of vitamin K means that some people need to avoid this food. High consumption of vitamin K can impact blood clotting, therefore anyone with a condition that impact the way their blood clots should avoid the swap to celeriac.
High in fibre and promoting healthy digestion, turnips have been in people’s diets since 2000 BC, but they can be tricky to grow. Commonly attacked by pests, they also become flavourless and woody if they grow too large. This means that those who choose to cook with turnips will cook them in heavy, creamy sauces to mask the flavour and texture making them less healthy in context.
Pinto beans need preparation before cooking which can often be overlooked. Phytates can interfere with the body’s natural ability to absorb calcium. Pinto beans need to be soaked to reduce their concentration of phytates, so they can be an unhealthy choice as they impact the body’s natural function.
Fava beans can do more than just encourage flatulence and bloating like lots of beans. If you have the rare genetic disorder, glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase deficiency, eating fava beans can cause gallstones, jaundice, fatigue and shortness of breath. Not off the list for those with G6PD is also even death, simply for consuming too many fava beans!
Not just high in carbohydrates, sweet potatoes also contain beta-carotene. If someone was to consume large quantities of sweet potato it could result in vitamin A toxicity. This is when excessive amounts of vitamin A accumulates in the liver, known formally as hypervitaminosis A. If you develop this, you may even see your skin and nails turn orange!
Jerusalem artichokes have a reputation for causing flatulence, but there’s more to it than not wanting to eat these in public. Due to their high inulin content, they are known to cause digestive discomfort which, for those who haven’t had them before, is a recipe for a very uncomfortable time. They need to be eaten in small quantities to build up tolerance.
Lima beans have their own special way to cause uncomfortable feelings that result in flatulence. There is a possibility that they can contain harmful compounds too. Anti-nutrients and linamarin have been found in lima beans which cause larger digestive issues when eaten in high volumes.
In the skin of a parsnip, the toxin furocoumarin can be found. Found at its highest concentration in the peel, if a parsnip is damaged, it can allow contact and penetration into the flesh of the vegetable. This toxin can cause stomach aches and, if skin comes into contact with this toxin and then UV light, it can cause a painful skin reaction.
Acorn squash is a starchy vegetable in comparison to vegetables like broccoli or spinach. Because of this, it makes it higher in carbohydrates. Whilst someone looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake might choose to switch to vegetables over grains, there are healthier, low carbohydrate vegetable options available.
Cassava can have severe consequences if it isn’t prepared correctly. Naturally, cassava contains forms of cyanide and is toxic if ingested. Cassava has to be cooked and soaked prior to cooking to make this toxin harmless. If done incorrectly, the impact on the person eating can be very severe.
Lentils are a type of legume, making them (technically) a vegetable. They contain an essential amino acid called lysine. If lysine is consumed in large quantities it can impact kidney function, cause gallstones and increase cholesterol levels. Like others in the legume family, lentils can also cause stomach discomfort and even diarrhea.
These little harmless looking green pods have been linked to negative impacts on kidney health. Their high protein content, when consumed in large amounts, can actually affect the way kidneys function. Aside from the kidneys, the higher level of uric acid in the body could also cause joint pain.
Okra can have gastrointestinal consequences for some people. This can include gas, diarrhea, cramps and bloating in those who already have existing bowel disorders. This is because okra contains fructans, but they also contain high levels of oxalates. So not only can okra have an impact on the bowels but also can increase the likelihood of having kidney stones.
Eating too much Swiss chard can have a negative impact on kidney health. Containing antibutritive oxalates, eating swiss chard in large amounts can increase both urinary oxalate excretion and calcium oxalate stones. The side effect of kidney stones for this rainbow delight isn’t a healthy one.
The jicama root is a safe and enjoyable part of the vegetable however, the beans and vines are a different story. Containing their own natural incesticide known as rotenone, this makes the part of the vegetable toxic for consumption. A study has found that eating a small amount of rotenone can increase risk of Parkinson’s.
Amaranth is known to collect nutrients from its environment like all plants. Due to the environment required to grow it, this can mean higher levels of nitrates because of the fertilisation process. Amaranth has also caused allergic reactions that include breathing difficulty, skin rashes and itching.
Corn has been a staple in many diets across the globe, from BBQ’s to family evening meals. What most don’t know is that it’s a food high in starch, can prevent those from loosing weight when consumed in larger quantities and can spike blood sugar levels. Another cause for concern is the genetic modification that has happened to this vegetable.
Edamame became popular with the rise of the vegan diet due to it being a good source of plant based protein; however, this also comes at a cost of higher fat-levels too. Whilst some are increasing the volume of the vegetable to compensate for opting for vegan choices, it comes at a large caloric cost.
Whilst potato might be one of the most readily available vegetables for a low cost, it has been regarded by many as just another carbohydrate. This is because they are comprised of mostly carbohydrates with little other nutrition in comparison to other vegetables. When swapping out carbohydrates for vegetables, potatoes aren’t always the healthiest switch.
For those who have tried eggplant before, you’ll know the texture is very different from any other vegetable. Its sponge like make up makes it great for soaking up cooking fats like butter in sauces and stews, making it delicious but dangerously high in calories if consumed in this way. It also contains solanine, which is know for it’s ability to impact digestive health.
Sorrel is an unusual vegetable, but isn’t as healthy as it looks. It should only be eaten in small quantities if the consumer wants to receive the nutritional benefits. When eaten in large amounts, it can cause those with a weakness of kidney issues to be at risk of developing kidney stones.
Hailed as a superfood for it’s low calorie density, celery is popular among all the top celebrities. That’s not due to its health or nutritional value though, as chewing celery often burns more calories than the consumption of it. This isn’t a healthy way to enjoy veggies, or any food for that matter. Celery should really be chosen for its taste over popular diet culture myths!
Chinese cabbage is made up of goitrogenic compounds. If eaten in large quantities, this can impact the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. If this happens, the body then struggles to regulate it’s hormone balance for normal metabolic functioning. Chinese cabbage is one that should only be consumed in small quantities.
Well known around thanksgiving, yams are a popular dish on any family table. Similar to a sweet potato, they’re similar in that their health food status may not actually be true. They have a high carbohydrate content, making them a not so healthy switch from traditional options, and some people even choose to candy them.
Chillies are a great addition to dishes that need a little kick. Over many years, however, chillies have been bred and developed to unbelievable levels of heat. As it’s difficult to tell how hot a chilli could be by looking at it, it’s best to consume them in small quantities. Eating an incredibly hot chilli can have a negative impact on the body and cause severe stomach pain.
Whilst watercress is loved for its peppery taste and does, as the name suggests, have a high water content, it’s not actually as healthy as we think. Consuming too much watercress can have a negative impact on both the liver and the kidneys. It is also a natural laxative and a powerful diuretic.
Turnip greens are high in vitamin K. Whilst most would assume this is a positive thing and healthy, too much of this can be bad. Vitamin K can cause blood to clot faster and those with kidney conditions could see a negative impact on the ability to regulate potassium levels resulting in weakness and feeling very unwell.
Just because it says it’s a vegetable, doesn’t make it healthy. Whilst some might choose to grab a can instead of the fresh option out of convenience, this is likely having a negative impact on their health journey. Vegetables in a can require some kind of liquid to preserve them, and this can be high in salt, unknown chemicals and other preservatives.
The purple beets are humorously known for their ability to turn a person’s urine pink if eaten in large quantities, but too many of these can also impact liver function. They are also a vegetable that people don’t realise have a high sugar content, making them a choice that isn’t so healthy.
Trying to avoid sugar spikes is one of the first steps people may take on their health journey, and is why so many people turn to a diet full of healthy vegetables. Unfortunately, the vegetables that taste sweet have this flavour because of naturally occurring sugars. Whilst a better choice than candy, for example, they still impact blood sugar levels.
Just because it’s green, doesn’t make it healthy. A vegetable with high levels of vitamin K can have a negative impact for those on blood thinning medication. It’s also a vegetable high in fiber which can cause digestive upset when consumed too frequently.
Many people don’t know that rhubarb is toxic when first pulled from the ground. Whilst the root can be cooked, removing the toxins present in it’s raw form and making it safe for consumption, even if the leaves are cooked, they remain toxic. This is not a vegetable to be messed with!
Chard isn’t often associated with flatulence, but it can still cause digestive upset. It’s also important to look at personal family health to see if there is a history of liver or kidney issues, as chard can aggravate these problems if not consumed in moderation.
Another green, nutrient dense vegetable are collard greens. They’re not the worst of the bunch, but do have their drawbacks. All things must be consumed within moderation to be healthy, and eating too much of this vegetable can cause a slowing down of the ability to absorb calcium which can have negative impacts on bone health long term.
The reason green peppers are that color, rather than their more popular red and yellow counterparts, is because they haven’t had as long to grow and mature. This more raw version of a pepper has a lower nutritional value and harder to digest.
Spinach loses health value both when cooked and consumed uncooked. When cooked, the high water content means all the nutrients leak out. When uncooked, theres a risk of ingesting pesticides which aren’t good for the body and should be avoided wherever possible.
Some people force themselves to eat brussels sprouts because they believe they’re healthy even if they aren’t a favourite flavour profile, but this is more than just a warning to those eating them! They are actually known to cause both bloating and gas which can be incredibly uncomfortable.
Mustard greens have a high water content like other leafy vegetables. This means they lose a lot of their healthy, nutritional value when over-cooked, so its a fine balance when preparing them. They can be consumed raw, but care must be taken to remove any traces of pesticides.