Adding more vegetables into your daily diet is one of the easiest choices that you can make to improve your health and wellbeing. All vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals that are essential to our health, but it’s no secret that some vegetables are nutritiously denser than others. Here’s a list of the top five most nutritious vegetables, compared cup for cup, to get the best bang for your buck. And the best part? They are all delicious, easy to incorporate in day to day meals, and readily available at local grocery stores, bonus points if they are from a farmer’s market or home grown!
Five most nutritious vegetables
Broccoli, a member of the cruciferous family, is probably one of the most consumed vegetables, and for good reason. It is readily available all year round and are pretty easy to grow yourself in a garden or 5-gallon container. They contain high amounts of folate, fiber, vitamins K and C, and are a good source of minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. They also contain smaller amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and the phytochemical beta-carotene.
Check out this recipe for Broccoli Balls.
4. Bok Choy
Also known as pak choi or chinese cabbage, this vegetable is making its way into cuisines all over the world. It contains vitamins A, K, B3, and C, and minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, folate, and choline. One of the coolest things about bok choy is that you can regrow it from the roots/stalk within five months!
The vibrant orange color of this vegetable is a clear indicator of the health benefits that it offers. The orange color indicates large amounts of the phytochemical beta-carotene, which has been linked to reduced risk of certain types of cancers and eye disease. They also contain a good amount of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, K, B8 (insitol), B5 (pantothentic acid), and minerals potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. One cup of carrots gives you 407% of your daily recommended vitamin A consumption!
2. Brussel Sprouts
Like broccoli and bok choy, Brussel sprouts are a member of the cruciferous family. They are filled with nutrients such as fiber, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C, K, B1, and B6. They also contain the minerals manganese, choline, copper, potassium, and phosphorus. They are not as much of a vegetable staple as broccoli is because of their sometimes bitter taste, but that can easily be fixed with a change in preparation methods. Try roasting them with a touch of balsamic vinager. It’s all about finding how you prefer to eat them!
1. Leafy greens (watercress, kale, spinach, chard, beet greens)
Lastly, when it comes to the most nutritious vegetables, leafy greens take the gold medal. For the amount of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (lutein, beta-carotene) in comparison to calories, they are the obvious choice for healthiest vegetables! Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, beet greens, watercress, and collard greens to name a few, are an excellent sources of folate, fiber, magnesium, carotenoids, vitamins K and C, and minerals iron and calcium. They can also act as antioxidants in the body to help the body rid itself of cancer forming free radicals.
Any vegetable that you eat will be another step in the direction to a healthier you, but if you want the most vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients at once, these are some of the most nutritionally dense. Be sure to add a little fat when cooking vegetables such as a teaspoon of olive oil, coconut oil, or real butter to help to better absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E. These five vegetables should be weekly staples in any healthy diet! You are what you eat, right? So why not eat the healthiest vegetables there are.