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Green and leafy vegetables and roots, form important items in a balanced diet. The former supply vitamin A and C and iron, and the latter supply calories and vitamin C. 
For a well balanced diet a daily consumption of 30 gms of green leafy vegetables, 100 gms of roots and tubers and 100 gms of other vegetables is recommended.
A balanced vegetarian diet reduces the risk of coronaty events while providing all nutritional needs. The risk of obesity, high blood pressure.



A Vegetable is defined as a non-woody plant cultivated for the table and of which the roots, tubers, stems, leaves and fruits are consumed. Unlike cereals and pulses vegetables  need more amount of labour to grow and transport them; for they require constant attention and frequent watering, and tend to perish on the way to the cities if transport facilities are poor.


In the context of nutrition, vegetables can be divided into the following groups:

  • Green and leafy vegetables: Cabbage, cauliflower, coriander, lettuce, spinach.

  • Other vegetables: Brinjal, cucumber, drumstick, bitter gourd(karela), parwar, white pumpkin, tindola, tomato.

  • Roots and tubers: Potato, sweet potato, onion, beetroot, carrot, radish, yam.

  • Legumes: Double beans, french beans, green peas, cluster beans(guar phali).
 Green and leafy vegetables and Other vegetables:

These vegetables contain a high proportion of cellulose which human intestinal juices (unlike those of herbivorous animals) cannot digest. It thus remains unabsorbed and increases the bulk of the intestinal contents

These vegetables are helpful in weight reduction diets as they give a feeling of satiety but provide few calories. They bulk and water content also helps in the treatment of constipation. They are rich source of carotene, vitamin C and potassium. 

Vitamin C content of some green and leafy vegetables, and other vegetables
Vegetables Vitamin C per 100 g(mg)
Bitter gourd 96
Cabbage  124
Cauliflower 66
Coriander 135
Drumstick 120
Drumstick leaves 220
Tomato 31

Roots and tubers:

The root of a plant serves two functions: 

  • It acts as an anchor

  • It absorbs water and minerals

A tuber is a storage organ, and is a short thickened portion of an underground stem, a common example being the potato. More calories can be derived from an acre of potatoes than from growing most other crops.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are rich in starch. Potatoes contain 75% water, 20% starch and only 2% protein; It is rich in amino acid lysine. The vitamin C content of freshly dug main-crop potato is high (30mg per 100 gms) but it is reduced to 8 mg after storage for 9 months. 
Cooking unpeeled potatoes conserves most of the vitamin B and C, and salts in the skin. Peeling a potato and cutting it into pieces before it is boiled reduces its vitamin content considerably. If cooked potatoes are reheated, there is a further loss of vitamins. 

Carrots are rich in carotene; the red variety contains 10 - 15 times more carotene than the yellow variety. 

Onions are widely used in tropical countries. The white variety contains more water than the brown or the red variety and can't be stored well. 
Onions have a pungent taste, and as water evaporates during storage, the pungency is increased. The principal chemical constituent in onion, which gives it it's taste and pungent odour and brings tears to the eyes, is the sulphur containing volatile oil, allyl ropyl bisulphide. If uncooked onion is consumed the volatile oil is excreted through the lungs and saliva giving a characteristic odour to the breath.
Vitamin C content is higher in green onions, especially in their central parts than in the stored ones. Raw, fresh onion can be a cheap source of vitamin C, paricularly for poor villagers.

Legumes Dried legumes like gram, peas and beans are grouped as pulses. Green legumes like green peas, french beans, and cluster beans are used as vegetables. Green peas contain about 7% proteins, and supply about 100 kcal per 100 gms. 
Cluster Beans Guar gum made from cluster beans is frequently used as a thickening agent as well as for providing dietary fibre. A dietary supplement of guar gum crisp bread decreases fasting blood sugar.


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