Some Vegetables Are Better For You Than Others

Some Vegetables Are Better For You Than Others

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Vegetables


In 2014 scientists produced a list of 41 powerhouse vegetables that they concluded provide the most health benefits from the 17 nutrients most associated with lower rates of chronic diseases. Vegetables were ranked by nutrient density, bio-availability, and calorie cost.


About The Method

Science has long asserted that certain foods are associated with lower rates of chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes, etc.), and the authors of the study sought to classify those foods, using their nutrient density, bio-availability (ease with which the body can use those nutrients), and caloric value.

What Were The Results?

The 41 most nutritionally dense vegetables in order:

  1. Watercress (Score: 100.00)
  2. Chinese cabbage (Bok Choy) (Score: 91.99)
  3. Chard (Score: 89.27)
  4. Beet green (Score: 87.08)
  5. Spinach (Score: 86.43)
  6. Chicory (Score: 73.36)
  7. Leaf lettuce (Score: 70.73)
  8. Parsley (Score: 65.59)
  9. Romaine lettuce (Score: 63.48)
  10. Collard green (Score: 62.49)
  11. Turnip green (Score: 62.12)
  12. Mustard green (Score: 61.39)
  13. Endive (Score: 60.44)
  14. Chive (Score: 54.80)
  15. Kale (Score: 49.07)
  16. Dandelion green (Score: 46.34)
  17. Red pepper (Score: 41.26)
  18. Arugula (Score: 37.65)
  19. Broccoli (Score: 34.89)
  20. Pumpkin (Score: 33.82)
  21. Brussels sprout (Score: 32.23)
  22. Scallion (Score: 27.35)
  23. Kohlrabi (Score: 25.92)
  24. Cauliflower (Score: 25.13)
  25. Cabbage (Score: 24.51)
  26. Carrot (Score: 22.60)
  27. Tomato (Score: 20.37)
  28. Lemon (Score: 18.72)
  29. Iceberg lettuce (Score: 18.28)
  30. Strawberry (Score: 17.59)
  31. Radish (Score: 16.91)
  32. Winter squash (Score: 13.89)
  33. Orange (Score: 12.91)
  34. Lime (Score: 12.23)
  35. Grapefruit (pink/red) (Score: 11.64)
  36. Rutabaga (Score: 11.58)
  37. Turnip (Score: 11.43)
  38. Blackberry (Score: 11.39)
  39. Leek (Score: 10.69)
  40. Sweet potato (Score: 10.51)
  41. Grapefruit (white) (Score: 10.47)


How Do I Use The List?

That’s completely up to you! When I first came across the list, I quickly checked it for things regularly featured in my fridge (tomatoes, lettuce, etc.) and then made an effort to immediately incorporate into my diet several more of the foods on the list, especially those in the upper half. As a result, I now know what the allium vegetables are, regularly cook with bok choy, and have found about 100 uses for baby spinach.

If you’re shopping for more than yourself, show the list to everybody in the household and have them circle their favorites. Those foods that everybody agrees on can become staples and always be available, but — as always — make sure you’re eating a wide variety of vegetables, as too many servings of any one thing can actually be harmful.

Perhaps the best thing about the list is how readily available most of the foods are, and how easily they can be added to a home cook’s repertoire. Experiment, and enjoy knowing that you just significantly — and cheaply — improved your health. 

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