As people try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, many turn to “superfoods” from distant corners of the globe, like goji berries, avocados, moringa, spirulina, and acerola cherries. But nutritious foods can also be found just a stone’s throw away. Not a lot of people know that there are local alternatives that are just as rich in vitamins and vital nutrients. And because they are grown closer to home, they strengthen the regional economy and are more eco-friendly. In this article we’ll reveal five vegetables that are cultivated in Germany and will do your body good.

1.     Kale – For an extra portion of vitamin C

Kale is one of the most vitamin-rich vegetables out there, and scores extra points for providing a variety of useful nutrients. There are 105 milligrams of vitamin C in just 100 grams of kale – almost twice as many as are found in an ordinary lemon that has to be flown in at great expense, and enough to cover your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

This curly, dark-green member of the cabbage family also contains vitamin E, which neutralizes free radicals and counteracts premature skin aging. Furthermore, kale can provide you with vitamin K, which is important for blood coagulation and bone health.

Kale can prevent inflammation and strengthen vison

There is scientific evidence that a plant-based diet can have anti-inflammatory effects and other health benefits. The orange-yellow carotenoid lutein is one reason for this. It is found in many plants and is also present in kale in large quantities. A study performed by Linköping University in Sweden discovered that the higher the lutein levels in the blood, the fewer the inflammation markers.

In addition, lutein helps to protect the macula lutea on the retina of your eye and fight inflammation or dryness of the eye, especially when you spend a lot of time looking at a screen while you work. At 200 milligrams per 100 grams, the winter vegetable is also an excellent source of calcium, providing almost a quarter of the recommended daily allowance of 900 grams for adults. Furthermore, 100 grams of kale contain 2 milligrams of iron, covering our daily needs.

Kale’s superpower – Omega-3 fatty acids

Usually vegetables are low in fat, and kale is no exception. The one gram of fat contained in kale is a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, which serves as an anti-inflammatory and thins the blood, improving blood flow.

It’s also good to know that kale contains secondary plant substances that are beneficial to our health. Some of these are carotenoids, which counteract inflammation and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, don’t forget that if you ingest a small amount of fat with the kale, e.g. olive oil, your body will be able to better absorb the carotenoid.

2.     Spinach

It turns out Popeye was right – spinach is great for strengthening your muscles. This was confirmed by the results of a recent study conducted by a medical college in Sweden. You shouldn’t get your spinach from the can, however, but eat it fresh and only slightly heated, e.g. blanched, so that most valuable nutrients and vitamins are not lost.

Spinach builds muscles and fights overweight

Spinach contains large quantities of vitamins A and C and beta-carotene and is rich in minerals. With the help of the vitamin B6 in spinach, your body transforms sugar into energy, which can help protect you from high blood pressure. In addition, this green super-veggie nourishes your muscle cells.

Now you’re probably wondering how this works!

The oft-maligned nitrates that are found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables are actually beneficial to your body. They have a positive effect on its energy-producing cells. Plus they reduce oxygen use, which means the cell metabolism in your body is fortified with enough energy. As a result, your muscles can receive sufficient energy and nothing stands in the way of their growth.

3.     Swiss chard

For centuries Swiss chard has been valued as a medicinal plant, used to fight anxiety and nervous conditions as well as constipation.

A lot of minerals – Only a few calories

Swiss chard is rich in minerals such as iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, and also contains vitamins A and C. Plus it only has 16 calories per 100 grams. By way of comparison, cucumbers, which are some of the lowest-calorie vegetables thanks to their high water content, have 15 calories per 100 grams.

Swiss chard for healthy digestion

Swiss chard contains more fiber than most other leafy vegetables. And fiber helps to increase your feeling of satiety and binds bile acids in the intestine. This can lead to a reduction in cholesterol levels. In addition, fiber promotes digestion and therefore good gut health.

4.     Beetroot

Beetroot is not a particularly popular food. It is, however, one of the healthiest vegetables around. Here are four good reasons for you to eat more beetroot:

Beetroot protects your liver and gall bladder

Red beet is rich in betaine (also called trimethylglycine or TMG), a substance occurring in plants which stimulates liver cell function, strengthens the gall bladder, and helps keep the bile ducts healthy and free of obstruction. It not only helps digestive processes run smoothly, it also helps the body to completely eliminate metabolic wastes and toxins.

Beetroot is good for your heart and blood vessels

Trimethylglycine also helps protect you from cardiac and vascular diseases. In addition, beetroot contains large amounts of folic acid, which has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. Eaten regularly, it can lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Two hundred grams of beetroot cover 50 percent of the daily recommended intake of folic acid, which transforms various toxins and protects you against vascular diseases that can cause strokes.

Beetroot improves your mood

Trimethylglycine is also a mood booster that increases our levels of serotonin, the “happy chemical.” In the dark months of winter in particular, you can fight the blues with beetroot.

Beetroot regulates your blood pressure

Beetroot is rich in nitrates. Inside the body, nitrate is transformed into the nitrite ion, which stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the blood, widening the blood vessels. This leads to lower blood pressure. This is a simple way to regulate your blood pressure with the help of nitrate-containing vegetables. By the way, nitrate can also be found in kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and black salsify.

5.     Black salsify

Black on the outside and white on the inside – used in former times to treat snake bite, today this root vegetable is often considered the asparagus of winter. After peas and beans, salsify contains the most nutrients of any variety of vegetable, especially calcium and phosphorus. Black salsify can have the following positive effects on your body:

Calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth

Calcium is a building block of strong bones and teeth because it forms hard tissue in your body. In addition, calcium is involved in the transmission of neural impulses. Along with calcium, phosphorus is needed to build strong, healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus also has the job of stabilizing the pH value of your blood and structuring the cell membranes of your body.

For metabolism and gut flora

It is distinguished by its high content of the soluble fiber inulin, which is good for your metabolism and gut flora. Thanks to its low fat and calorie content, you can eat a lot of black salsify without gaining weight. The high potassium content also has a diuretic effect. Black salsify is in season between October and February.

Our tip: It’s best to wear gloves when cleaning and peeling black salsify, because the juice can make your fingers dirty and sticky.

Now you know all about five local vegetables that can easily hold their own against superfoods from around the globe. The next time you cook, why don’t you include at least one of these super-veggies? Try it and enjoy!