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The 10 healthiest vegetables and how to cook with them

If you’re still riding that veggie-hating wave from childhood, it may be time for us to have a little chat. As much as we hate to admit it, Mom was right all along. Research from the University College London, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health in 2014, is pretty hard to argue with: Eating up to seven servings of veggies a day could reduce your risk of death at any point by 42 percent.

So we can all agree that vegetables are good, but which ones are the “cream of the crop”? Based on their nutrient profiles and potential to fight disease, these are the top 10 veggies you’ll want to add to your cart on your next shopping trip:

1. Tomatoes

Image: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Though technically a fruit, tomatoes are most often served like a vegetable. Full of lycopene, these beautiful red orbs (and all tomato-based products) are renowned for their cancer-fighting capabilities. Not only are they chock-full of vitamin-y goodness (from vitamins A to K), but they also keep our blood pressure in check and help to reduce the number of free radicals in our bodies.

How to eat them: Heirloom tomato recipes

2. Broccoli

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Few foods measure up to the disease-fighting potential of broccoli. This cruciferous veg is packed with antioxidants that help reduce the risk of stomach, lung and rectal cancers. And because broccoli is rich in beta carotene, vitamin C and folate, it is also good at boosting your immunity to colds and flus.

How to eat it: Sesame-ginger frittata with broccoli and shrimp

More: 15 protein-packed foods you probably didn’t know could fill you right up

3. Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts
Image: Meal Makeover Moms/Flickr

These little green veggies are especially important for pregnant woman because they’re packed with folic acid, a B vitamin that prevents neural tube defects. Brussels sprouts are also packed with vitamins C and K as well as fiber, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids.

How to eat them: Stuffed chicken breasts with a side of Brussels sprouts

4. Carrots

Image: liz west/Flickr

These orange wonders are loaded with eye-, skin- and hair-enriching nutrients. They’re also the richest vegetable source of some important antioxidants, like vitamin A. And because they’re rich in vitamin C, carrots protect your cardiovascular system from damage.

How to eat them: Carrot-raisin muffins

5. Squash

Summer squash
Image: JanTodd/Getty images

A good source of anti-inflammatory nutrients like vitamin C and beta carotene, squash, especially summer squash, can help treat dozens of conditions, including asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Squash is also rich in potassium, magnesium and fiber.

How to eat it: Summer squash ravioli

Next Up: Sweet potato

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