Top Scoring Veggies

By Susan Littlefield

All veggies make healthful additions to our diets, providing vitamins, minerals, and fiber, as well as delicious taste. But some are nutritional superstars that deliver particularly high amounts of these dietary benefits. In the October 2012 issue of Nutrition Action Health Letter, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a host of veggies are ranked based on their levels of nutrients and fiber. The top scorer -- kale, followed closely behind by other dark leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, chard, and turnip greens.

Not a big fan of greens? The top five for Vitamin C include the popular choices of red bell pepper, broccoli, green bell pepper, green chili pepper and one you might not expect -- Brussels sprouts. Want to make sure you are getting plenty of potassium? Dig into sweet potatoes, lima beans, spinach, chard, and portobello mushrooms. Add fiber with such delectable choices as artichokes, peas, avocado, lima beans, and jicama. Eating the most nutrient-dense vegetables may deliver the most bang for your caloric buck, but even veggies that didn't rank at the top of the list such as beets, eggplant, and cucumbers still deliver important nutrients, fiber, and, of course, good taste.

Want to read more about healthful foods? Check out the list of the ten best foods you can eat on the Nutrition Action Health Letter website. Half are from the vegetable garden -- sweet potatoes, broccoli, watermelon, butternut squash, and leafy greens. Then check out the Nutrition Action Newsletter archives for recipes using some of the superstars, such as Roasted Butternut Squash and Lentils. Yum!

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