VEGETABLES are necessary ingredients of a healthy diet, but like most things in life, not all vegetables are built equally. In fact, some vegetables are deemed less nutritionally valuable than others, though nutritionist and dietician Jenelle Solomon says vegetables serve a most important purpose in our bodies. “A narrow pH range of acid/alkaline balance enables the body to function optimally, which it maintains by buffering or neutralising excess acids. If acid levels become excessive for a long time, diseased states begin to appear. However, alkaline-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables could create a balance in the body and ward off some of these conditions,” Solomon explained.Below, she shares a list of nutritionally rich powerhouse vegetables that we should all aim to include in our diets because they are packed with vitamins and minerals essential to our health. KaleKale, very high on the list of most nutritious vegetables, is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin K which are very important in bone building, and are also very good for the blood. BroccoliBroccoli is packed with antioxidants which contribute to fighting rectal, lung and stomach cancers. It also has very high quantities of folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene, each having the ability to boost the immune system and fight against the flu, colds, and other viruses. SpinachSpinach contains healthy quantities of vitamins A, C and K. It is believed to help in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. PeasRich in fibre, peas will leave you full for longer periods, will aid in digestion, and contribute to good cholesterol. PeppersBell peppers are a rich source of B vitamins and beta-carotene. In addition, peppers are so packed with vitamin C that they could deliver twice the body's daily need. CarrotsKnown as the natural eye remedy, carrots are packed with properties which contribute to the health of the eyes, hair and skin. Carrots are a very rich source of vitamin C and vitamin A, which help to regulate healthy blood sugar levels and by extension contribute to a healthy heart. EggplantEggplants are rich in antioxidants, and research has shown that they have a unique component — nasunin — a compound which defends your brain cells against damage. These studies suggest that they can also lessen the possibility of stroke and dementia. They are also very low in calories and contribute to heart health. CeleryCelery is an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, as well as vitamins K and C. Studies have shown that it can reduce bad cholesterol. Less beneficial vegetables include:1. Cauliflower and cabbage, since numerous nutritionists have identified them as nutritionally empty. Solomon, however, says that they still serve a purpose as they are alkaline-forming foods. 2. Although iceberg lettuce is reputed to be low in nutrients, it fits well into a calorie-conscious diet, and its crunchy texture enhances vegetable salads. Solomon suggests that vegetables should be grown organically, because pesticides and fertilisers used on foods could change their composition and reduce their effectiveness.