Vegetables are essential in a healthy diet, adding fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other beneficial chemicals.

Which vegetables are most beneficial? Usually, those vegetables with the deepest, most vibrant colors are the ones packed with more nutrients. However, all vegetables bring nutrients essential to your diet, different from those in other vegetables, and you should vary your diet. For instance, parsnips are low in vitamin C and beta-carotene, but they have high levels of fiber. Beans have high levels of fiber, vitamin B, calcium and iron, not so much vitamin C. So don't limit yourself and vary your choice. This is your best chance to get everything you need.

Aim for 3 to 5 servings of vegetables every day.

A serving of cooked vegetables is about four heaped tablespoons.

A serving of raw vegetables, washed, peeled and chopped, will be from 1/2 cup to 1 cup, depending on the type.

Top vegetables

There is no need to be fancy. Start with broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. Add cabbage or cauliflower, and beans, including soy beans. Every week try one or two among kale, spinach, chard, spring greens, and other green leafy vegetables, bell peppers of any color, and mushrooms.

Use plenty of garlic and onions as condiments. Leeks and celery are also good.

A selection of colorful herbs and vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers, onion, tomato and more.