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. Unlikecereals and pulses vegetables need more amount of labour to grow and transport them; for they require constant attention and frequent watering, andtend 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.
Brinjal, cucumber, drumstick, bitter gourd(karela), parwar, white pumpkin, tindola, tomato.
Roots and tubers:
Potato, sweet potato, onion, beetroot, carrot, radish, yam.
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 thusremains 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 helpsin 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
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 derivedfrom 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. Thevitamin 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 boiledreduces its vitamin content considerably. If cooked potatoes are reheated, there is a further loss of vitamins.
are rich in carotene; the red variety contains 10 - 15 times more carotene than the yellow variety.
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, whichgives 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 isconsumed 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 vitaminC, paricularly for poor villagers.
Dried legumes like gram, peas and beans are grouped as pulses. Green legumes like green peas, french beans, and cluster beans are usedas vegetables. Green peas contain about 7% proteins, and supply about 100 kcal per 100 gms.
Guar gum made from cluster beans is frequently used as a thickening agent as well as for providing dietary fibre. A dietary supplement ofguar gum crisp bread decreases fasting blood sugar.
VegetablesVitamin C per 100 g(mg)
Bitter gourd96Cabbage124Cauliflower66Coriander135Drumstick120Drumstick leaves220Tomato31