The 5 Most Nutrient-Dense Vegetables Based on Science - Deepstash
The 5 Most Nutrient-Dense Vegetables Based on Science

The 5 Most Nutrient-Dense Vegetables Based on Science

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The 5 Most Nutrient-Dense Vegetables Based on Science

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Some Veggies Are Better Than Others

Vegetables of all colors are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. You can’t go wrong by adding more colorful produce to your plate. There are, however, vegetables with a higher nutrient content relative to their calories, making them exceptionally helpful for weight control and health.

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Watercress tops the list of nutrient-dense vegetables per calorie based on ANDI criteria. Watercress is a dark green, leafy vegetable that grows in cold, clear streams and rivers, and you can enjoy its peppery flavor raw or cooked. However, you’ll retain more of its vitamin C if you consume this leafy green raw. Watercress adds a kick to salads, wraps, and sandwiches. Along with vitamin C, watercress is rich in vitamin K, important for blood clotting and bone density, and beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A and an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Even more intriguing are the antioxidants in watercress, including phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC). One study found that antioxidants in watercress suppress damage to DNA , a cell’s genetic material. In the study, the results were most pronounced in smokers. Although the cancer-fighting capabilities of watercress are an area that needs more research, you can’t go wrong adding watercress to your plate.

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Beet Greens

Beet greens are the leaves of beets, colorful root vegetables that grow in the ground. Beet greens are like spinach in texture and taste but have a more intense flavor. You can enjoy these leafy greens raw in salads or cooked like spinach, Swiss chard, or other leafy greens. But like Swiss chard, they’re high in oxalates, so it’s best to cook them to reduce their oxalate content.

Why are beet greens so nutrient-dense? With each bite, you get a healthy dose of vitamins A and C, but they also contain respectable quantities of minerals such as iron and zinc.

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Spinach

Who isn’t familiar with the green, leafy vegetable known as spinach? It’s widely available and packed with nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, and like all leafy greens, an excellent source of fiber.

Spinach also contains compounds called thylakoids that have appetite-suppressing benefits. Plus, spinach is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids which may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, common causes of visual decline.

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You may have noticed a trend. Leafy greens top the list of nutrient-dense foods per calorie. Another benefit of leafy greens is they’re high in natural nitrates, compounds that increase nitric oxide, a gas that helps open blood vessels. This enhances endothelial function, healthy blood vessel function that lowers blood pressure, and the risk of blood clots, another reason to add greens to your plate.

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