I recommend keeping your kitchen stocked with all 5 of these veggies:
1. Beets: The deep red color of these root vegetables comes from anthocyanins, phytonutrients that protect against carcinogens and may help prevent heart disease. Beets are delicious hot or cold, versatile, and inexpensive.
2. Squash. With a wide variety of types, flavors, shapes, and sizes, squash is readily adaptable to any occasion - it can even be used in pie! It provides beta carotene, potassium, and fiber, nutrients that are necessary for good overall health.
3. Tomatoes: This red fruit (often considered a vegetable) contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight heart disease and some types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Use tomatoes in everything from salads to sauces, but know that the lycopene is most easily absorbed when the tomatoes are cooked with a little oil.
4. Broccoli. This vegetable-platter classic and other cruciferous vegetables offer cancer-protective benefits. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin K and calcium - both of which help keep bones strong. It is tasty both raw and cooked, and can be a stand out in soups, casseroles, and salads.
5. Mushrooms. Prized for their tonic effects, mushrooms can help address a host of illnesses. Maitake mushrooms (known as "hen of the woods" for their resemblance to the fluffed tail feathers of a nesting hen) are particularly valued in Asian cooking, as they have anti-cancer, anti-viral and immune-enhancing properties, and may also reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. Shiitake, enokidake and oyster mushrooms also have immune-boosting qualities, and are easily included in many main courses.
Stock up on these veggies, but don't forget to reserve pantry/refrigerator space for the original 5.