Exotic Vegetables

Exotic Vegetables and Fruits for exotic health benefits

Exotic Vegetables are those which are of the foreign region, and not of native growth is known as exotic vegetables. These are known for their unique taste, nutritional value, and various health benefits. They are essential for a balanced diet and good health as they contain various micronutrients and phytochemicals. These nutrients help many health benefits like in reducing weight, diabetes, cardiovascular health, and even cancer. 

Rapid rise in the production and cultivation of Exotic Vegetables in India:

In the past few decades, exotic vegetables were introduced in India and since then their demand is increasing every day. India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables, followed by China and is also a significant consumer market for the same. 

The demand for exotic produce is increasing and growing by 15% to 20% per annum.

The Indian exotic vegetables market is supported by the overall Indian fruits and vegetables market, which reached a volume of almost 322 million metric tons in 2020. And is further expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5% between 2021 and 2026 to reach a volume of almost 432 million metric tons by 2026. (Source-hexpertmarketresearch.com)

Farmers in India grow these vegetables in winters as they only grow better in cold conditions especially, in the month of September to November. The popular cities that grow these vegetables are Pune, Ooty, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Mahabaleshwar, and Nasik, etc. And they are cultivated in poly houses (a type of greenhouse where specialized polythene sheets are used as a covering material under which the crops can be grown).

These vegetables are gaining popularity in India day by day. While some of the Exotic Vegetables are well-known names in the Indian household, some are still gaining popularity by their use in international cuisines or in restaurants. Also, the prices for these vegetables are very high as compared to our seasonal vegetables which are not affordable for everyone.

Why the use and production of Exotic Vegetables is more prominent in India?

The use and production of these exotic vegetables is more prominent because of the following reasons:

  • Exotic vegetables are an important source of cash income for farmers.
  • These vegetables not only provide essential micronutrients but also contain a range of health– promoting phytochemicals.
  • These can also prevent nutritional deficiencies and reduce the risk of obesity and chronic disease including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
  • Also, correct cooking improves the nutritional value of exotic vegetables.

How to store exotic vegetables?

  • As exotic vegetables are grown in colder areas, they are also store in cold places/cold rooms such as storehouses where the temperature is less than 6-8 Degree Celsius. 
  • These cold rooms are very important for exotic vegetables as they prolong their shelf life and are also effective in reducing waste.
  • Also, the moisture or the water content is removed to store them for a long time.

Here are some of the most popular Exotic Vegetables along with their nutritional benefits. 

1. Asparagus Exotic Vegetables:

It is one of the most popular exotic vegetables because of its nutritional value and medicinal uses. It is low in calories, aids stomach acidity, and is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Cultivation: It is widely grown in India and also cultivated mainly in the tropical and subtropical regions of the country. Himachal Pradesh is the main producer of this vegetable. This vegetable is in high demand as it is not commonly available in local markets which makes it rare and expensive too.

What are the health benefits of asparagus Exotic Vegetables?

  • Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable that is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamins A, C and K.
  • It is a good source of antioxidants that helps in the prevention of harmful free radicals and may reduce your risk of chronic disease.
  • As a good source of fiber, asparagus promotes regularity and digestive health.

How to use asparagus in your diet?

Asparagus can be used in a number of dishes like salads, stir-fries, frittatas, omelets and pastas, and it makes an excellent side dish.

Did you know?

  • Eating asparagus is good for hangovers.

2. Broccoli Exotic Vegetables:

Broccoli is India’s most common exotic vegetable. It is also one of the most nutritious vegetables and rather exotic because of its green color and also crispy and tasty to eat. It is loaded with protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B9,  potassium, phosphorus, and selenium. Also contains antioxidants that have various health protective effects. It also helps in glucose control and reduces constipation as well. Which makes it rank as the world’s fifth-most famous vegetable. 

What are the health benefits of broccoli Exotic Vegetables?

  • Reduces the allergic reaction and inflammation because of the antioxidant, kaempferol.
  • It contains antioxidants that can help the body in a variety of ways. It is contains vitamin C, making it great for immunity.
  • Also, contains flavonoids which help recycle the vitamin C efficiently. It is also enrich with carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and other power packed antioxidants.
  • Broccoli is a good carb and is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating.

How to use broccoli in your diet?

Some of the popular broccoli dishes are: baked broccoli, broccoli salad, buttermilk chicken with chargrilled broccoli, chapati broccoli, broccoli soup, broccoli pasta, broccoli paratha etc.

Did you know?

  • The word broccoli comes from an Italian word broccolo which means “the flowering top of a cabbage”.

3.  Cherry Tomatoes:

The cherry tomatoes are small and round and taste much sweeter than normal tomatoes. These are quite expensive as well.

They are loaded with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, which promotes good health and plays a major role in bodily functions. Also, a good source of lycopene which can reduce inflammation and blood clotting.

4. Zucchini

 Zucchini is a popular and a very healthy vegetable, with this you can also make healthy recipe. It is usually dark or light green in color. Also, it somewhat  looks like a cucumber but zucchini is not a type of cucumber. It is soft, sweet and browns very quickly on the stove. It is an extremely healthy vegetable that is a source of iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin A,  calcium, zinc. 

Health benefits of zucchini:

  • Zucchini is used to prevent constipation and also aids in digestion.
  • Lowers cholesterol and also has anti-cancer properties.
  • Contains magnesium which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. 
  • It is also a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A.
  • Also, contains lutein and zeaxanthin which protects the cells of our eye. 

How can you make the use of zucchini in your diet?

You can use them raw in salads, in a stew with other fruits and vegetables, baked with rice, lentils, and vegetables, stir-fried with oil, soups, and spaghetti/pasta. 

Did you know?

  • A zucchini contains more potassium than a banana.

5. Baby corn Exotic Vegetables:

This exotic vegetable is highly popular because of its unique and slightly sweet taste. These baby corns are regular corns which are plucked before their maturing time. Its nutritive value only slightly from mature corn and it is one of the most imported vegetables in the world. It is rich in calcium, zinc, folic acid, vitamin A and iron.

What are the benefits of baby corn Exotic Vegetables?

  • It is low in calories and also helps in weight loss.
  • It is rich in fiber which helps to relieve constipation issues.
  • Baby corn is low in glycemic index hence in control of blood sugar.

How can you use baby corn Exotic Vegetables in Indian cuisine?

You can use them in salads and dishes like Indian style pizza, pasta and sandwiches, baby corn fritters, chilli baby corn and also in rice and rolls/wraps. .

Did you know?

  • Baby corn has been recognized as one of the healthiest veggies.

6. Celery Exotic Vegetables: 

Celery is one of the expensive exotic vegetables. It is a crunchy and watery vegetable that is extremely healthy for the human body and can be eaten both cooked and raw. It has vitamins and antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids, vitamin K, magnesium, iron and folate. Additionally, it has a low glycemic index which makes it the best vegetables for diabetic people.  

What are the health benefits of celery Exotic Vegetables?

  • It prevents cancer
  • regulates blood pressure
  • Supports good digestion
  • Reduces inflammation- it has approximately 25 anti-inflammatory compounds that protects our body against inflammation.

How can you use celery Exotic Vegetables in your diet?

You can use celery in many different ways like celery soup, celery salad, celery smoothie, chicken-celery salad, celery juice, etc.

Did you know?

  • Cultivation of celery is believed to have started 3000 years ago in the Mediterranean region.
  • April is National Fresh Celery Month.
  • Celery can reach the height of 3.3 feet.

7. Chinese cabbage/Napa cabbage:

Chinese/napa cabbage is firmly packed, pale green in color with crinkly leaves and a white stalk. It is also known as Chinese white cabbage or Peking cabbage, or celery cabbage.

This vegetable is  resistant to cold and also very popular throughout the world, especially in the northern regions of the globe. 

There are two major types of napa cabbage; Chilili and Che foo. The type of Chilili produces cylindrical heads, erect, upright growing habits. On the other hand, Che-foo type forms a compact, round head of green-blade with white-petioled leaves.

It is a nutritious and inexpensive vegetable when compared to a lot of other vegetables. 

It’s taste varies based on if it’s raw or cooked. When eaten raw, it has a thin, crisp texture and a mild taste, and when cooked, it softens and gets sweeter.

This vegetable is low in calories, brimming with antioxidants like carotenes, thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Rich in vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin K, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and thiamine. And minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, and magnesium.

What are its health benefits?

  1. Napa cabbage is an incredibly low calorie green-leafy vegetable which makes it really good for weight loss purposes.
  2. It is brimming with many antioxidant plant compounds which helps in reduction of our body inflammation.
  3. Also, it is an abundant source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber which helps in good digestion. 
  4. It helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  5. Likewise in other cabbages, napa too has moderate levels of vitamin-K. It plays a potential role in bone metabolism by promoting osteoblastic activity in bone cells. 
  6. It  helps in regulating heart rate and blood pressure. 

How can you use Chinese Cabbage in your daily life?

You can use this cabbage in various dishes like noodle dishes, spring rolls,as well as stir-fries, cabbage curry, Indian fried cabbage, cabbage kathi rolls/cabbage egg rolls, cabbage rice, cabbage pasta.

Did you know?

The word “napa” in the name napa cabbage comes from colloquial and regional Japanese, where nappa refers to the leaves of any vegetable

How can you differentiate between Chinese Cabbage and Green Cabbage?

Green cabbage is the most common and is a tightly wrapped and round cabbage, while napa cabbage looks more like leafy lettuce. On the other hand, the leaves of green cabbage are thicker and almost rubbery. Like napa cabbage, it also gets sweeter when cooked.

8. Bok choy Exotic Vegetables:

Bok choy is a cruciferous, green leafy vegetable which is native to China. It is also known as Pak-Choy or Chinese white cabbage. It consists of elongated leafy stalks that radiate out from a central stem. The leaves are dark green, sometimes ruffly and sometimes flat. The stems are either white or a lighter green, depending on the variety. Bok choy has a crisp texture with a fresh grassy flavor that increases as you cook it.

Moreover, this vegetable can be harvest in minimum 60-70 days from seed sowing.

Also, it is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamins such as folate, vitamin B6. And minerals like magnesium, potassium, selenium and calcium.

What are the Health benefits of bok choy Exotic Vegetables?

  • Bok choy is rich in antioxidants which protects our cells from oxidative damage that can lead to inflammation and various chronic diseases. 
  • It helps in the prevention of cancer as this vegetable contains cancer-fighting compounds such as vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, folate, and selenium. 

Also, selenium may help to slow the growth rate of tumors. 

  • Furthermore, it is full of fiber, which keeps our digestive system healthy and may help to prevent colon cancer. 
  • Also, contains a flavonoid called quercetin which helps to reduce inflammation in the body and helps to reduce the risk of developing chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart issues, etc.
  • Rich in folate and vitamin B6 which helps  to remove homocysteine from our blood as too much homocysteine can damage our blood vessels, increasing risk of heart problems. 
  • This vegetable also helps to reduce your blood pressure naturally.

How can you incorporate bok-choy in your diet?

It is easy to make use of this vegetable in Indian and western cuisine. You can eat bok choy raw in the form of salads, roasted, or cooked in a soup, stir-fry like bok-choy and mushroom stir fry, or fried rice dish and pasta dishes or indian bok-choy stuffed chapati/paratha.

Did you know?

  • Bok choy is sometimes also called a “soup spoon” because of its leaf shape.
  • It may look a lot like celery, but it’s a member of the cabbage family.

9. Red cabbage Exotic Vegetables: 

Red cabbage has a peppery taste and crunch when you eat them raw, but becomes sweeter and softer when cooked like other cabbages. It’s sometimes also called purple cabbage since its leaves are a dark purple-reddish color. This variety of cabbage gets its purple-reddish color from the flavonoid anthocyanin and the acidity level of the soil where it’s grown. 

It is smaller and denser than our normal green cabbage, and has a more peppery taste. 

Although it tastes almost similar to green cabbage, it is richer in its nutrient content. This is an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, cooked, or fermented and added to a variety of dishes. 

Furthermore, red cabbage is a good source of vitamin K and provides small amounts of calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which can help build and maintain healthy bones. It is also high in fiber.

What are the health benefits provided by red cabbage Exotic Vegetables?

The health benefits provided by the red cabbage are almost similar to other cabbage variety:

  • Red cabbage may benefit your heart because it is high in anthocyanins, like those found in red cabbage, and is link with lower blood pressure. They’re also link to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Like all cabbage varieties, red cabbage is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and is a low-calorie source of dietary fiber. Red cabbage is also high in antioxidants, especially anthocyanins. These nutrients in red cabbage help keep the body healthy and may help reduce the risk of health conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease. 

How can you incorporate red cabbage Exotic Vegetables in your diet?

  • Add this versatile vegetable to soups, stews, salads, and coleslaw sandwiches. 
  • Also, steam them and use them to make dumplings and momos fillings or braise with apples, carrots, and beets. 
  • You can also roast or sautéed it with meat and beans or can be shredded and used as a nutrient-rich garnish for soups, salads, and warm dishes. 

Did you know?

  • Cabbage originated in China, sometime around 4,000 B.C. And it is consider to have been cultivated longer than any other vegetable – For almost 6000 years to be precise.
  • Also, red cabbage is used as an all-natural dye in food or on fabric.

if you don’t like vegetables then after watching this video, you will definiely like them

10. Lettuce Exotic Vegetables:

There are so many varieties of lettuce greens coming up at the market, each one more beautiful than the next. 

It is consider one of the most popular and nutritious vegetables. Be it in our sandwiches or burgers, it doesn’t fail to surprise with its taste and versatility. It is also a perfect party snack for all health-conscious people.  

Lettuce is not only a major ingredient in salads but also often added to various dishes, such as wraps, soups, and sandwiches.

There are different varieties of lettuce, some of them are:

1. Butterhead lettuce:

Butterhead lettuce gets its name from its characteristically soft, light and buttery leaves that range from pale green to pale yellow green. 

It’s also known as cabbage lettuce due to its round shape. Its leaves have a crumple look that resembles flower petals. Furthermore, it works well in egg-salad or tuna sandwiches and serves as a great tortilla replacement for wraps.

Butter leaf lettuce is brimming with vitamins and nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and iron, which help fortify bones and fight off inflammatory diseases.

2. Iceberg lettuce:

Iceberg lettuce is by far the most well known old fashion and most common. It is known for its tightly-ball shape heads. Also, has high water content and packs a powerful crunch. This a low calorie vegetable and has a crunchy texture and mild flavor and also pairs well with other vegetables and most salad dressings.

To keep lettuce fresh, refrigerate it in a sealable bag with a damp paper towel.

3. Romaine lettuce:

This variety of lettuce is higher in nutrients than iceberg lettuce. It bears green, crunchy leaves with large veins. And, It has a slightly sweeter, bolder flavor than iceberg. 

Moreover, this vegetable is not only an excellent source of folate and vitamin K but also vitamin A which acts as a potent antioxidant and is vital for skin, eye, and immune health.

Moreover, romaine is a good source of phenolic compounds, particularly caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid. These antioxidants are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, inflammation, and certain cancers 

How can you use these lettuce Exotic Vegetables in your daily life?

Some of the best lettuce recipes are Caesar’s salad, baby lettuce, citrus fruits, and feta salad, lettuce-paneer rolls, chicken tacos, vegetable tacos, spicy chicken lettuce wrap, and many more. 

You can customize the role of lettuce in your meals as per your liking. 

Did you know?

  • Lettuce shouldn’t be store near apples, bananas because they produce ethylene which causes lettuce to ripen super fast and start to decay rapidly.
  • It is the second most popular fresh veggie in the US, behind only the potato.

11. Kale Exotic Vegetables:

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that has a slightly bitter or even peppery taste when you eat it raw. It is a vegetable that you can eat raw or cooked. It has become more popular than ever due to its health benefits.

Moreover, this vegetable is rich in antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin. Also, nutrients like fiber, vitamin A, pyridoxine, vitamin K and vitamin C, folate. And, also omega-m fatty acid and minerals like phosphorus, potassium, calcium and zinc.

What are the Health Benefits of kale Exotic Vegetables?

  • Helps in good eye and bone health and a strong immune system (vitamin A)
  • Aids in cold and chronic disease prevention (vitamin C)
  • Good for blood clotting and bone building (Vitamin K)
  • Helps in brain development (Folate)
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin give kale it’s dark green color and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Lowers cholesterol because it has good fat-omega-3 fatty acid
  • Further, helps in weight loss as it has a high water content but few calories.

How to make use of kale in your diet?

Sautee kale, kale salad, kale pasta, kale chips, vegetable stock, kale in scrambled eggs/kale omelette, kale-spinach smoothie, etc.

Did you know?

  • Kale leaves were most commonly used in restaurants as decorative garnishes prior to its popularity.
  • One cup of kale provides more vitamin A and K than you need in a whole day.

12. Parsley Exotic Vegetables:

Parsley is one of the most versatile herbs. There are two types of fresh parsley frequently found in markets and other food shops. They are commonly two types of parsley: curly leaf parsley and flat leaf parsley. Curly leaf parsley, also called French parsley, is used as a garnish. Flat leaf parsley, also called Italian parsley, has a stronger flavor.

Today, it’s widely used as a fresh culinary herb or dried spice. It’s bright green in color and has a mild, bitter flavor that pairs well with many recipes. The herb is high in vitamin C, A, K and also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.

What are the Health benefits of parsley Exotic Vegetables? 

  • Prevents lines and wrinkles
  • It has an essential nutrient (vitamin A) that plays a key role in our immunity and eye health. 
  • Also, a great source of vitamin K, a nutrient that supports bone and heart health.
  • It is rich in antioxidants which can help soothe inflammation.
  • Parsley may help keep our kidneys healthy by fighting inflammation and reducing high blood pressure.
  • It contains essential oils, including apiol and myristicin, which have antibacterial effects and fight potentially harmful bacteria.

How to use parsley in our daily diet?

Stir fresh leaves into a homemade sauce, mix finely chopped leaves into your salad dressings, sprinkle fresh or dried leaves on top of a fish dish/chicken dish, and finely chop stems into a potato salad, garnish on pastas or soups, parsley rice, chutney, dried parsley in a homemade tomato sauce, etc.

Did you know?

  • Parsley is a natural breath freshener and is often added to shampoos.
  • According to legend, parsley sprang up where the blood of the Greek hero Archemorus was spilled when he was eaten by serpents. 
  • The name “parsley” comes from a Greek word meaning rock celery as this plant thrives on rocks and walls.

13. Colored bell pepper Exotic Vegetables: 

Colored bell pepper is especially favorite among kids due to its bright and varied colors. They are available in yellow, red, and green colors. They are another common and widely used vegetable in the list of exotic vegetables.

Moreover, red, orange, and yellow Bell Peppers have very similar health benefits to one another. Red Bell Peppers also contain lycopene, an antioxidant or carotenoid that helps fight free radicals in your body. Yellow and Orange Bell Peppers are also rich in carotenoids.

What are the health benefits of colored bell pepper Exotic Vegetables?

The health benefits of bell peppers include 

  • reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, 
  • controls diabetes, 
  • brings relief from pain and eases inflammation, 
  • boosting immune system, 
  • keeping skin and hair looking youthful, 
  • maintaining eye health 
  • plays a protective role in certain types of cancers.

How to include colored bell peppers in your diet?

Bell peppers can be consume raw in salads or marinated and tossed into pasta, pizza, fried rice and noodles. They can also be grilled and eaten with chicken and fish or other vegetables such as zucchini, onions, and tomatoes and served as a vegetable platter. They are also perfect for stuffing due to their hollow shape. 

Did you know?

  • A large red pepper has three times more Vitamin C than an orange. 
  • The color of a bell pepper typically indicates ripeness, not variety. 

14. Avocado Exotic Vegetables: 

Avocado is also called alligator pear. It has greenish or yellowish flesh with a rich, nutty flavour and buttery texture.  Avocados are nutritionally rich as it  provide thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin A, E and folate. And also in some varieties, the flesh contains as much as 25 percent unsaturated oil. They also supply more soluble fibre than other fruit and contain a number of useful minerals including iron, copper and potassium.

What are the Health benefits of avocado Exotic Vegetables?

  • Avocados are high in fat with 60 percent of this being monounsaturated fats. This helps to protect against heart disease and lower blood pressure.
  • They are also an excellent source of potassium, folate and fibre, all of which benefit the heart and cardiovascular system.
  • The avocado oil contains oleic acid and linoleic acid. These unsaturated fats are recommended as part of a balanced diet to help manage cholesterol.
  • It is a rich source of protective vitamin E as well as carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin which are to help keep the eyes healthy.

How can you use avocado Exotic Vegetables in your diet?

Some of the common avocado recipes are:

Avocado smoothies, salads, avocado toast, baked avocado, avocados with eggs, etc.

Did you know?

  • Half of an average-size avocado has 4.6 grams of fiber — the most of any fruit!
  • You want to ripe an avocado? Here is a quick hack for you. Place it in a brown paper bag with a banana or two which will ripe your avocado.

15. Jalapenos Exotic Vegetables: 

Jalapenos are small hot peppers which can be green at its initial stage or red when they are ripe. The sour-spicy taste with acidic afterburn is what makes these peppers unique and distinct. If you are looking to add something spicy then you are on the right track. Jalapeno will give you the right amount of spiciness in your life.

Moreover, India is one of the largest producers of jalapenos so availability is not an issue. It goes by several names such as Lalmirchi in Hindi, Lanka Maricha in Bengali, Menasinakai in Kannada. Also, Molagu in Malayalam, Mircha Kaya in Telugu, and Milagai in Tamil. 

Rich in vitamins A and C and potassium. They also have carotene, an antioxidant that may help fight damage to your cells as well as folate, vitamin K, and B vitamins.

What are the Health benefits of Jalapenos Exotic Vegetables?

  •  Many of their health benefits come from a compound called capsaicin. That’s what makes the peppers spicy.
  • Jalapenos may help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism, increasing fat burn and reducing your appetite. 
  • The heat released by jalapenos is a natural pain reliever. This can temporarily block pain receptors, and help you relax. But remember, it isn’t a great idea to apply jalapeno peppers directly on the skin.
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes are major risk factors of heart disease. But this chili pepper contains high flavonoids, vitamin C, A, and capsaicin, which is likely to help in the prevention of heart diseases and other risk factors.

How to use jalapeno in your diet?

Jalapeno goes well in stir-fries, gravies, pickles, pizza, eggs, burgers, dips, salads, stuffed jalapeno, jalapeno salan, etc.

Did you know?

  • August 19th is National Hot & Spicy Food Day. 
  • Jalapenos were the first peppers that traveled into space on a NASA shuttle. 
  • The name Jalapeños is derive from “Xalapa” which is the name of the city where they were traditionally cultivated.

16. Basil Exotic Vegetables: 

Basil is an herb in the mint family. It is a flavorful, green leafy herb that originated in Asia and Africa. It is by far the most used herb in the world. 

In India, Basil is a sacred plant. It is a symbol of eternal life, faithfulness, and love.

There are many different varieties of basils:

  • Sweet basil: it is the most popular and widely grown basil, and is famous for its use in Italian dishes. And It is commonly available in dry form in supermarkets. 
  • Bush or Greek basil: it has a strong aroma but mild flavor. It forms a compact bush with small leaves and can also be grown well in a pot.
  • Thai basil: it has a flavor like anise/licorice and is commonly used in Thai and Southeast Asian dishes.
  • Cinnamon basil: It is native to Mexico and has a cinnamon-like flavor and scent.
  • Lettuce basil: It features large, wrinkled, soft leaves with a licorice-like flavor and works well in salads or tossed with tomatoes..

Basil contains Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Iron, Manganese, Calcium, and essential oils. Additionally, it is also brimming with antioxidants, such as beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene. 

However, all these nutrients compounds happen to leave the herb during the process of drying. Therefore, use fresh basil leaves whenever possible to get the most of them. 

What are the health benefits of basil Exotic Vegetables?

  • Basil reduces oxidative stress: It is a powerhouse of antioxidants which combats free radicals found in our body.
  •  Also, basil has got flavonoids, which boost your immune system, slow down the effects of aging. And protect your cellular structure from damage.
  • Helps in preventing cancer: holy basil contains phytochemicals that shield us from various cancers, such as skin cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer, and liver cancer.
  • Sweet basil contains eugenol which has anti-inflammatory properties that ensure that your digestive tract is healthy. 
  • It offers excellent skin benefits. It contains powerful and healing essential oils that cleanse skin from deep inside.
  • Further helps in dealing with depression as it contains adaptogen, an anti-stress substance.
  • Basil has detoxifying properties: Basil is a miraculous herb for our liver. It detoxifies our liver and plays a crucial role in preventing fat deposition in the liver. 

How to use basil in your diet?

Basil gives zest to tomato dishes, salads, zucchini, eggplant, meat seasonings, stuffing, soups, sauces, pastas, pizzas, basil tea, etc. it also complements other herbs and spices such as garlic, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper and rosemary.

Did you know?

  • It was used as an antidote for snake bites, and was believed to give strength during religious fasting.

17. Fennel Exotic Vegetables

Fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is native to the Mediterranean, but is now found throughout the world. It has a pale bulb and long green stalks with yellow flowers and it can grow almost anywhere. All parts of the fennel plant, including the bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds, are edible. It has a crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavor, making it a pleasant addition to any dish, whether eaten raw or cooked.

Fennel and fennel seeds provide important nutrients, such as vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and fiber and antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, limonene, and quercetin.

What are the health benefits of fennel Exotic Vegetables?

  • The powerful antioxidants in fennel, such as vitamin C and quercetin, can help reduce inflammation and levels of inflammatory markers.
  • May benefit mental health. 
  • Also may relieve menopausal symptoms. 
  • Promote good digestion and relieve digestive problems including heartburn, bloating.

Did you know?

  • In Chinese and Hindu cultures fennel was ingested to speed the elimination of poisons from the system, particularly after snake bite and scorpion stings
  • Fennel seeds have anise-like aroma and taste and are used in scenting soaps and scents.

18. Blueberries Exotic Vegetables

Blueberries are tiny fruits that are plump, sweet, and juicy, with a color that ranges from indigo to deep purple due to high pigment content called anthocyanin. They are also low in calories. They are brimming with antioxidants and phyto-flavinoids. These berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C.

What are the Health benefits of blueberries Exotic Vegetables?

  • Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, which are substances that help inhibit oxidative stress and free radicals that cause cell damage. And help protect against heart disease and reduce high blood pressure.
  • They also contain flavonoids, which helps to improve insulin sensitivity that help improve glucose metabolism in people with diabetes. 
  • Also, they are a source of manganese, which plays a role in healthy bone development.
  • In addition, the vitamin C in blueberries can improve collagen.
  • Eating blueberries may also provide a dose of happiness and help relieve symptoms of depression. Because it has flavonoids that decreases the risk of depression and anxiety.

How can you incorporate blueberries in your diet?

Some of favorite recipes featuring blueberries include Blueberry Mint Refresher, Blueberries and Cream Waffles, Black and Blueberry Pie, Blueberry Chicken Salad, Blueberry Cookies, and Blueberry smoothies, blueberry cake and pastries, muffins, etc.

Did you know?

  • People have been eating blueberries for more than 13,000 years.
  • Native Americans once called blueberries “star berries” because the blossoms make a star shape.

19. Raspberries Exotic Vegetables

Raspberries have rich color with sweet juicy taste and are enjoyable all year long. They can be used fresh or frozen. Also, it can be found in four different colors: red, black, purple, and gold. Red raspberries are the most common type found at the grocery store. 

Raspberries are rich in vitamin C, manganese and vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, iron, and potassium.

What are the Health benefits of raspberries Exotic Vegetables?

  • Raspberries are one of the lowest-sugar fruits which makes them a great option for a diabetic patient and also for weight watchers out there.
  • They are antioxidant powerhouses. Which helps in reducing inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging. 
  • It has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds associated with cancer protection by reducing the reproduction of cancer cells. 
  • Also, they are high in fiber which contributes to fullness, blunts blood sugar by slowing digestion, and supports good digestive health. 

How to include raspberries in your meals?

Raspberries work well in both sweet and savory meals. 

  • oatmeal with raspberries, garden salads, whole grain side dishes, yogurt, and desserts like smoothies, pancakes with raspberries, raspberries cakes, ice-creams.
  • Frozen, or fresh raspberries also make a great snack, paired with nuts, pumpkin seeds, or a few dark chocolate squares, or drizzled with nut butter.
  • fresh fruit cocktail with raspberries, pineapple, sliced peaches, and strawberries

Did you know?

  • Raspberries were once a symbol for kindness. 
  • Tea made from raspberry leaves, is thought to help in childbirth.
  • They are related to blackberries and roses.

20. Blackberries Exotic Vegetables

Blackberries are the versatile fruits that will surely be a delicious addition to any diet. A berry is small in size and  when ripe, is consist up of 20-50 single seeds known as drupelets. These berries which are immature are generally red or green and they later turn into purplish black, soft, juicy, fruits on ripening. 

They are nutrient-dense fruits that includes vitamins such as vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and the minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Also, a good source of amino acids and essential dietary fiber, and they do not contain any harmful cholesterol.

What are the Health benefits of blackberries Exotic Vegetables?

  • Several studies have shown that an anthocyanin extract found in blackberry juice provided protective effects against heart disease. They are also rich in vitamin C and potassium  which support a healthy heart.
  • It can help prevent tumor growth in our body.
  • They may also improve both motor and cognitive function. 
  • May be anti-inflammatory effects of blackberries may offer protection against inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
  • Blackberries have antibacterial properties, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects. This potentially may offer a natural therapy approach against tooth infections. 

How to use blackberries Exotic Vegetables in your diet?

You can use blackberries in form of blackberry ice-cream, tart, cakes, blackberry glazed chicken, smoothies, pie, pancakes, shakes, muffins, chocolates, etc.

Did you know?

  • The Greeks and the Romans used blackberry leaves o to treat various illnesses.
  • Blackberries also go by other names, including brambleberries, dewberries, thimbleberries.

21. Strawberries

It is the edible heart-shape red fruit which belongs to the rose family. They’re an excellent source of antioxidants and plant compounds such as polyphenols, vitamin C and minerals such as manganese, potassium and vitamins such as folate. And also sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. 

What are the Health benefits of strawberries?

  • Strawberries help in boosting our immune and skin health.
  • The antioxidants and phytochemicals present in strawberries may also help to reduce inflammation of the joints.
  • Strawberries are naturally low in calories, fat-free and low in both sodium and sugar which makes it good for body health.
  • Also folate present in strawberries plays an important role for normal tissue growth and cell function. This mineral is involve in many essential body functions, such as regulating blood pressure

How to use strawberries in your diet?

You can make use of these deliciously food strawberries in:

  • fruit salads. 
  • snack or dessert like cake, smoothies, shakes, pies, pancakes, jams, ice-creams, etc.
  • Strawberry yogurt
  • Strawberry cooler

Did you know?

  • Ancient Romans used the berries to treat everything from depression to fever and sore throats.
  • Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.

22. Artichokes:

Artichoke is a leafy vegetable. It is consider to be one of the world’s oldest cultivated vegetables which was grown by the Greeks and the Romans. This vegetable comes in two varieties: large, round artichoke and the long artichoke which is most commonly eaten. Artichokes are certainly delicious, easy to prepare, and fun to eat. 

Artichoke is high in nutrition and also low in calories. They are a good source of magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin C, iron and antioxidants like cynarin and silymarin. Also, it’s edible parts are one of the richest sources of polyphenols, fibre, minerals and inulin (prebiotic). 

What are the health benefits of artichoke?

  • Artichokes have anti-inflammatory properties and are used as a digestive aid to reduce bloating and promote regularity. 
  • It’s extract may also help in reducing bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol. Moreover, artichokes contain an antioxidant called luteolin which prevents cholesterol formation
  • Leaf extract may also protect the liver from damage and promote the growth of new tissues. 
  • It also increases the production of bile, which helps remove harmful toxins from your liver.
  • This vegetable is rank as the number one vegetable containing antioxidants, which help to combat oxidative stress related to chronic diseases and aging. 

How to include artichokes in your diet?

You can make spinach artichoke dip, roasted artichoke, soups and stews, stuffed artichoke, pizza, salad, pasta, fritters, tarts, kofta, artichoke sabzi, curry, etc.

Did you know?

  • Artichokes are one of the oldest foods known to humans.
  • According to Greek mythology, the artichoke became known through the Greek God Zeus.

23. Thai chilli

Thai chili has smooth skin that turns from immature bright green to a vibrant mature. It is available year-round. It kind of looks like a bird’s beak in its appearance. The chili is small, but is quite hot. The flesh is thin, crisp, and pale red, encasing a central cavity filled with small, round, and flat cream-colored seeds. Thai chili has a fruity flavor with a pungent heat that slowly builds and then lingers on the palate.

What are the health benefits in your diet?

  • Thai chili are a good source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can boost the immune system, increase collagen production, and help prevent vision loss. 
  • They also contain fiber, copper, potassium, vitamins B6 and K, and capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory benefits.

How to make use of thai chili in your diet?

These chilis are widely use in a variety of dishes like soups, salads, and stir-fry dishes, in a wide variety of sauces, pastes, and marinades, used as a condiment or eaten raw, both fresh and dried.

24. Brussels sprouts:

Brussels sprouts are compact packed leaves into spherical-shape heads and available year-round. These sprouts are name after Brussels, Belgium, where they are believe to have first cultivated in the 16th century. Their leaves color range from sea green to fern green. They have the flavor of the earth and the bitter sweetness of cabbage and also the younger the Brussels sprouts, the sweeter the taste.

What are the health benefits of brussels sprouts?

  • Brussels sprouts are especially rich in vitamin K, which helps in faster blood clotting and bone health.
  • They’re also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps promote iron absorption and also helps in tissue repair and boosting immune health. 
  • It also contains an antioxidant kaempferol that may reduce cancer growth, decrease inflammation and promote heart health.
  • Their high fiber content helps support regularity and gut health.
  • Also, they are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation, improve insulin resistance, cognitive decline and blood triglycerides.

How to use brussels sprouts in your diet?

You can add Brussels sprouts in casseroles, soups, roasted vegetables, and salad. 

Did you know?

  • Overcooked Brussels sprouts turn olive green and have an unpleasant sulfur odor.
  •  Steam-cooking fresh Brussels sprouts actually enhances their cholesterol-lowering powers.

25. Thyme:

Thyme is a herb from the mint family. It is easy to grow and usually thrive in rocky crevices and containers, usually having woody stems and a base. It has a distinct taste which makes it a staple in culinary practices. But now thyme is also fast gaining popularity for its medicinal qualities, such as its ability to help treat acne and high blood pressure.

Thyme is rich in various vitamin and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, copper, fiber, iron, manganese.

What are the health benefits in thyme?

  • Thyme essential oil- an extract from its leaves, is used as a natural cough remedy.
  • Thyme is brimming with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A which is good for our immune health and vision.
  • Thymol is also an ingredient in many pesticides — both outdoor and indoor — and is commonly use to target bacteria and viruses, as well as rats, mice, and other animal pests.
  • It also has antiseptic and antifungal properties which makes it a perfect ingredient in mouthwash. 
  • It is often use for aromatic and therapeutic purposes because of its active substance carvacrol which has shown to affect neuron activity in ways that boosts the feelings of well-being in our body.

How can you use thyme in your diet?

You can use thyme as a condiment or add it to pasta or rice, use fresh leaves or whole sprigs while preparing meat or poultry, and use it with fish.

Did you know?

  • Ancient Egyptians used to use the spice during the mummification process
  • Ancient Greeks used to sprinkle thyme in their baths.

26. Oregano:

Oregano is an herb which can be of use to flavor foods. It is consider a staple herb in many cuisines around the world. This herb has olive-green leaves and purple flowers and can be find as fresh, dried or as an oil. 

Also, contains antioxidants like thymol and carvacrol and an excellent source of fiber, vitamin K, manganese, iron, vitamin E, tryptophan and calcium. 

What are the Health benefits of oregano?

  • Oregano contains chemicals that might help reduce cough.
  • It also may help with digestion and with fighting against some bacteria and viruses because of its phytonutrients.
  • Oregano essential oil is especially high in carvacrol and thymol that can help prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals.

How can you use oregano in your diet?

This versatile herb can be of use in various cuisines and dishes like pizza and pasta sauce, can be used as a sprinkler on lamb, chicken, fish dishes and in soups or stews.

Did you know?

  • Oregano in Greek means Joy of The Mountain..
  • Ancient Greeks believed that cows that graze in fields full of oregano had tastier meat

27. Rosemary:

Rosemary is a fragrant herb native to the Mediterranean region and its plant is perennial (lives more than 2 years). It is a versatile herb which can be use as a culinary condiment, to make bodily perfumes, and for its potential health benefits. It can be use as both fresh and dried. 

This herb not only tastes good in culinary dishes, such as rosemary chicken and lamb, but it is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6.

It is typically prepare as a whole dried herb or a dried powdered extract, while teas and liquid extracts are made from fresh or dried leaves. 

What are the health benefits of the rosemary?

The herb has been hail since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Some of the benefits of this herbs are:

  • Rosemary oil may combat certain types of hair loss, including male pattern baldness and patchy hair loss.
  • Rosemary oil’s use in natural pesticides to kill certain insects. Additionally, the oil helps repel some blood-sucking insects, such as particular mosquitoes and ticks.
  • Rosemary may reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone that can have harmful effects on your body.
  • It’s oil may help by expanding your blood vessels, thereby warming your blood so that it reaches your fingers and toes more easily
  • The extracted oil may stimulate the release of bile, which is important in fat digestion, and activate your own antioxidant defense mechanisms to protect your liver.

How can include rosemary in your diet:

In cooking, rosemary is can be use as a seasoning in a variety of dishes, such as soups, casseroles, salads, and stews. Use rosemary with chicken and other poultry, game, lamb, pork, steaks, and fish, especially oily fish. It also goes well with grains, mushrooms, onions, peas, potatoes, and spinach.

Did you know?

  • During the 16th century, people used burned rosemary to disinfect rooms
  • Rosemary is a symbol of loyalty and love.

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