8 vegetables you should be eating and 8 you shouldn't

In the world of delicious food, vegetables don't always get the best reputation, surprisingly. While certainly considered nutritious, many veggies aren't exactly winning in the flavor category. In fact, according to Dr. Austin Robinson, only about 14 percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of veggies on any given day. 

When thinking about what vegetables you should be incorporating more into your every day, it helps to know which ones give you the most bang for your buck in both taste and nutritional value.

Do eat: Radishes

If you're looking for a veggie that's as tasty as it is nutritious, radishes will certainly not disappoint. Besides being juicy and full of flavor (either sweet or pungent, depending on the variety of radish), this root vegetable is extremely versatile, used in everything from salads to stews. Short on time? Give your radishes a quick slice and enjoy them raw for a super simple snack. "I like the peppery bite and nearly bitter taste of fresh radishes," Matt Bolus, executive chef at The 404 Kitchen in Nashville, told me. "To balance those flavors I like to eat them with fresh ricotta cheese, honey, and olive oil."

They're high in fiber and low in calories and carbs, so go ahead and get your munch on. 

Do eat: Cucumbers

Cucumbers are one of my favorite vegetables for a number of reasons. First off, you don't have to cook them (I'm all about saving time). Secondly, they are extremely refreshing (I love to toss a few slices in my water to switch things up). Finally, they make a good combination with just about anything tuna, tomatoes, hummus, watermelon, you name it. 

What's more, according to Huffington Post, cucumbers are actually considered one of the healthiest vegetables. They're chock full of nutrients, including potassium, vitamin K, and flavonoids, which are anti-inflammatory substances, that may help in reducing the risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. Did we mention cucumbers are also ridiculously easy to digest? Sounds like an all-around win to me.

Do eat: Zucchini

Like cucumbers, zucchini is also considered one of most easy-to-digest vegetables, which makes it a great choice for anyone who regularly experiences stomach woes. What's even better, they're just as easy to prepare, often requiring little no cooking at all. "Zucchini squash are so versatile raw," Brooklyn-based food writer and entrepreneur, Hetty McKinnon, told me in an interview. "Shave them into ribbons to make 'zoodles' (zucchini noodles) or try my favorite preparation  teamed with pearl couscous and a creamy chili-lemon ricotta."

Do eat: Rutabaga

If you have yet to experience the deliciousness that is rutabaga, you're certainly missing out. Technically a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, this root veggie is crispy and juicy with a delightfully mild taste that makes it extremely versatile. "I like to mash rutabagas with a little milk and cream, just like potatoes, or add some chunks to mashed potatoes," food editor Faith Dunard wrote on The Kitchn, "They add color and flavor, and all on their own they mash up deliciously golden and colorful."

Rutabagas are easy on the gut, according to Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac,author of the New York Times best seller, Your Personal Paleo Code, because it's high in soluble fiber, but lower in insoluble fiber. 

Do eat: Yams

Like rutabaga, yams are another gut-friendly food, according to Kresser, because of their high amounts soluble fiber. An added bonus: yams are also a fantastic source of vitamins C and B6. In fact, just one cup of yams provides nearly 20 percent of the daily requirement for each of these nutrients. 

Do eat: Carrots

Carrots are one of those superstar vegetables that seem to be a hit with even the pickiest eaters. "Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables to grab for a quick snack. Dietician and nutritionist McKel Hill shared on her website. "Crunchy, slightly sweet, and juicy, carrots are great to use in savory and sweet dishes."

Carrots are super versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked in anything from a smoothie to a soup or even a cake. Carrots are also a great source of vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, beta carotene, olic acid, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Like cucumbers, they can help clean the intestines, making them a great veggie choice for anyone who experiences regular constipation. 

Do eat: Celery

If you're looking for ways to shed unwanted pounds, you may want to consider incorporating more celery into your diet. "Although science is still not sure if it takes more calories to digest celery than to eat it, this vegetable is great to eat raw if you're dieting," Maat van Uitert, author of Organic By Choice: The (Secret) Rebel's Guide To Backyard Gardening, told me. "It contains just 16 calories and can satisfy your need to snack if you're craving something to chew. It's packed with vitamin K, and might help lower your cholesterol."

Do eat: Bell peppers

Bell peppers are a flavorful, crispy vegetable that can be utilized in both raw and cooked formats. They're great diced raw in salads, or serving as a vessel for stuffing and baking. And they're a key ingredient in sofrito, a flavor base for Caribbean cooking, and a cooking staple in my Cuban family. Their flavor varies depending on their color, with green being cool and slightly bitter, and red being as sweet as it gets. And while they may appear to be separate from each other, they're all the same veggie; green is just unripe yellow, as yellow is just unripe red. To top it off, they're super good for you, as they're high in vitamin C and fiber. They even have a significant levels of potassium, magnesium, and a host of vitamins, so definitely eat up an enjoy.

Don't eat: Artichoke

If you're battling bloat, stay away from artichoke. According to Reader's Digest, this veggie is, "high in fructans, a fiber that is indigestible and can cause gas and bloating problems." Artichoke may also be problematic for people with liver disease as it is known to affect the liver by stimulating the production of bile. 

Don't eat: Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are another vegetable of you should clear of if you experience regular tummy trouble, since they're known to cause gas and bloating

If you just can't give up Brussels sprouts altogether, try eating them in moderation and opt for cooked instead of raw, as this could be easier on your stomach.

Don't eat: Cauliflower

Albeit healthy, cauliflower may have unpleasant  and even dangerous  side effects for some, including gas and bloating. And because cauliflower is rich in sulfur, it may cause even smellier gas. Talk about embarrassing! 

Besides causing gassiness, cauliflower can sometimes cause an allergic reaction (though rare), with side effects including itching, swelling and difficulty breathing.

Don't eat: Canned tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes contain a ton of nutrients, including cancer-fighting antioxidants. But if most of the tomatoes you're eating come from a can, they might actually be doing the exact opposite. That's because most cans are made with a chemical called bisphenol-A (also known as BPA). This chemical, combined with the high acidity found in tomatoes, can actually be quite dangerous. 

When it comes to tomatoes, fresh is definitely best and cooked may be even better, according to Uitert. "While tomatoes can be consumed raw, when cooked, it increases the amount of lycopene, an important phytonutrient that studies have shown to lower the risk of cancer and heart attacks," she told me. "When cooked, it becomes more bioavailable, allowing you to digest and absorb more of the powerful antioxidants."

Don't eat: Snap peas

Snap peas are another big culprit of gas and bloating, since they include sugars that are hard to digest. These sugars actually feed the bacteria in your gut, which can cause major bloating. Snow peas also contain polyols, which are known to cause a variety of stomach issues including abdominal cramps, diarrhea and gas. 

Don't eat: Onions

If your stomach is on the sensitive side, you may want to proceed with caution around onions. That's because, according to Prevention, onions contain fructan, a carbohydrate well-known for causing gas, bloating and upset stomach. "Foods like leeks, shallots, and onions are poorly absorbed and cause increased water content in the intestine," said Lin Chang, MD, a professor of medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, according to the article. 

Don't eat: Pumpkin

Pumpkins were ranked among the top five most dangerous vegetables, according to Huffington Post. While they are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants, their tough skin make then challenging to work with even for the most season cooks (pumpkins are notorious for breaking/bending knives). So if you're not up to an ER trip, stick to sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash. You'll get similar nutritional benefits without the risk of injury. 

Don't eat: Potatoes

It's hard to imagine eschewing the vegetable that gives us french fries and potatoes au gratin. After all, they have a pleasing and adaptable texture, and can be flavor sponges. Plus they're super inexpensive and widely available. But, according to the Harvard School of Health, they're high in carbohydrates — the kind your body digests quickly, which causes your blood sugar and insulin to sharply increase, then drop. Consuming one cup of spuds, then, is akin to having a can of soda or a serving of jelly beans. So in order to keep your blood sugar from spiking, opt for some alternatives, such as whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, or bring beans to the party as a stand-in side dish.