Cucumbers as a stain remover? Beets as a Halloween aid? In addition to life-supporting nutrients, the veggies on your kid’s plate have curious histories. We share 10 odd veggie facts.

Next time you look at a picture of the pyramids, take a moment to thank the modest radish.

That is how the ancient Egyptian laborers who built the pyramids were paid – in nice, plump radishes. Apparently, in addition to being a crunchy way to getting one’s vitamin C and potassium, radishes can help men move mind-boggling quantities of limestone.

Imagine what more veggies can do for our kids.

We plucked this veggie curiosity from the online creative magazine Bored Panda. Following are 10 more unusual veggie facts, and a little extra info on how they help us grow.

  1. Houston, we have an Idaho: Potatoes are the first food of any kind to be grown in orbit. The crew of the space shuttle Columbia took potato plants on their mission in 1996. On the dinner plate, potatoes are an out-of-this-world source of vitamin C and potassium, important for healthy cell development. They also include vitamin B and iron.
  2. Beets have more fun: This is a great tip for Halloween, or for experimental kids. Beets can work as a hair dye, adding a temporary red tint to your locks. Not only are they free of chemicals, beets also are nutrient rich. They pack magnesium, vitamins A, B and C, folic acid, fiber and other vitamins. Beets also are high in sugar that releases slowly, for steady energy.
  3. The write stuff: When you no longer want to see the writing on the wall, cucumber skins are great at erasing pen ink. Cucumbers also will help you remember this fact: they contain an anti-inflammatory compound believed to help improve memory. Also, like beets, cucumbers have naturally occurring sugars that are slowly absorbed into the blood stream.
  4. Crusty cure for tears: The whole world has had a good cry or two (or 20) over an onion. But there is a yeasty solution. Place a piece of bread in your mouth next time you are about to slice an onion. No more tears! Onions also are good sources of anti-cancer and antimicrobial phytonutrients. They carry folic acid, to help the body make new cells.
  5. Orange you cute? People who eat a whoooole lot of carrots might start looking like them, by taking on a yellowish-orange hue. On the plus side, they’ll be able to see their color better. Carrots contain more than 100% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin A, which is essential for good vision. Carrots also are a good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K.
  6. Ear to the ground: Corn is a member of the grass family. That said, we could probably agree it tastes a lot better than grass, especially with butter or an all-natural topper. Corn also is high in vitamin B6, important for metabolism, and the mineral magnesium for stronger hearts and immune systems.
  7. Fairy tale beginning: The pumpkin can be traced to the 17th century, when the story Cinderella was first written. In reality, pumpkins transport nutrition, not fictional characters. They are packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins including A, C and E. Bonus: pumpkin seeds are every high in iron – great for dancing until midnight.
  8. Taxing decision: Is the tomato a fruit or a veggie? In 1893 the U.S. Supreme Court designated tomatoes as vegetables for taxation purposes. Technically, however, they are fruit, but we don’t judge. Especially since tomatoes are one of the few sources of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent various forms of cancer.
  9. Not your average brocc: Before we tried to pass it off as little trees on the kids’ dinner plates, broccoli was considered an exotic plant for home gardens. Today we know it as one of the most powerful veggies. It bursts with vitamin C and other nutrients as well as fiber and even a bit of protein.
  10.  Nightshade craze: Italians believe that a diet heavy with eggplant leads to madness. This is why they refer to the old world plant as the “crazy apple.” In truth, eggplant helps to support immunity, blood pressure and brain strength. We’re nuts for that nutrition!

In short, all of these veggies are worth their weight in wellness. They might not be a widely accepted form of currency, but for life-long health, they are a great investment.

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