(HealthDay)—The guidelines to eat more vegetables are clear, and eating a rainbow of colors gets you the widest variety of nutrients and phyto-nutrients, those hard-to-duplicate compounds that go beyond vitamins and minerals.
But whether you’re at the farmers’ market or choosing a side dish at a restaurant, are some vegetables better than others?
A research study set out to rank the best “powerhouse” vegetables (and fruits)—those most strongly associated with reducing the risk for chronic diseases.
Forty-seven vegetables were ranked based on percentages of 17 known nutrients in a 100-calorie serving. Nutrients included vitamins A, C, D, E, K and many of the B vitamins, along with the minerals calcium, potassium, iron and zinc, plus fiber and even protein.
The Top 5 Vegetables
- Chinese cabbage
- Beet greens
You might be surprised to read that watercress, often used as a mere garnish, ranked No. 1. Think of this pleasantly peppery green as the perfect base for your salads or a great “bed” on which to serve a protein, like a broiled chicken breast.
The cruciferous veggie Chinese cabbage (you might know it as Napa cabbage) took the second spot. It makes a great coleslaw or health salad and can also be made into fermented, probiotic-rich kimchi.
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