We grow up constantly hearing ‘always eat your greens’, but what exactly are the healthiest vegetables in the world that you could eat (and please your mom at the same time)? Even though some are even better for your body than others, it’s no doubt that consuming veggies in abundance will do you a world of good. Let’s be real – you have more than enough variety to choose from, so you never have to worry about finding the perfect vegetable that you will enjoy incorporating into your diet. To help you find your favorite veggie, we have researched the healthiest vegetables in the world (based on health benefits, nutrition stats and all-around amazingness) and have come up with a list of the ultimate 14. Learn more about our pick of the crop below!
Please note that our list is not in a certain order, as we didn’t want to ‘discriminate’ any veggies. Enjoy all of them!
Asparagus is so rich in nutrients that you’ll want to jump up and grab some the moment you hear about its content. This veggie comes with a great dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K and it also contains folate, chromium and fiber (let’s not forget about its plethora of antioxidants!). Owing to its glutathione content, asparagus is one of the valuable veggies that are known for a few types of cancer prevention. If you want to cook asparagus and still enjoy all of its wonderful health benefits, make sure that you avoid cooking with water. You can grill or roast asparagus for a fast and delicious addition to your lunch or dinner.
It’s pretty well-known by now that kale is one of the healthiest vegetables we can eat. Some people might be sick of all the media attention this veggie is getting, but you should keep in mind that it’s all for a very good reason. Think about it – just 100 grams of kale contains crazy amounts of vitamin C (200% of your daily recommended value!) and vitamin A (199% DV!), but also fine amounts of calcium, vitamin B-6, potassium, magnesium, protein and iron.
Ah, spinach, the veggie that our parents tried to trick us into eating by watching Popeye. Little did we know at that age how much awesomeness could be packed in this green we always tried to steer clear from. Spinach is loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K (wait for it – 987% of your daily value in just one cup), magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, fiber, protein, folate, copper and sodium, among quite a few others. This green can help you prevent bone disease, heart conditions and even some forms of cancer.
4. Swiss Chard
A vegetable that is not only a sheer pleasure to eat but also to look at, Swiss chard is a colorful food that is widely considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available. Its nutrition stats are amazing, with large amounts of vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C, but also potassium, iron and magnesium. The good part about Swiss chard is that it can be part of countless recipes, like pasta, soups or a green addition to your main course. To reduce its slight bitterness, simply boil or steam your Swiss chard before use.
Even though chicory is not as much of a super star as kale or, more recently, Swiss chard, it has plenty of nutrients that your body, mind and spirit will adore. With a whopping 114% of your daily recommended value of vitamin A in just 100 grams, chicory also is a great source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B-6 and protein. In fact, chicory is one of the top powerhouse fruits and vegetables identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a 73.36 nutrient density score. This makes it the 6th most nutritious vegetable by density in 2014, according to this source.
It’s no wonder why broccoli made yet another top list, especially when it comes to the healthiest vegetables. Oranges might have to step aside, as just one cup of chopped broccoli contains 135% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C. In addition to this, broccoli also contains vitamin A, vitamin B-6, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber, protein, folate and vitamin K1. Its cancer-fighting properties, eye health support and antioxidants all recommended it as a super healthy veggie, indeed.
7. Chinese Cabbage
Another veggie that is highly rated by the CDC is Chinese cabbage, with a huge 91.99 nutrient density score. This makes Chinese cabbage the second most nutritious vegetable in the world, according to the report released in 2014. Also referred to as pak-choi, Chinese cabbage is packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as calcium, iron, fiber, vitamin K, magnesium and potassium. It is celebrated for being extremely low in cholesterol and saturated fat, even though it has quite a bit of sodium (46 milligrams for every 70 gram serving).
We chomp on salads all the time, but we don’t always realize really how healthy this common veggie is. Lettuce is packed with all sorts of nutrients – like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, fiber, potassium, calcium or iron, just to name a few – and can be incorporated virtually into any meal of the day. Enjoy salads with fresh lettuce throughout the day and benefit from qualities like low calories (only 15 calories for a 100 gram serving), fighting Alzheimer’s disease, cancer prevention and a great immune system boost.
9. Bell Pepper (Red)
Bell peppers are fantastic in all the colors they come in, but red bell peppers take the win for the healthiest vegetables in this category. If you’re not convinced, just know that 100 grams of red bell peppers have 212% of the daily amount of vitamin C you should get. Moreover, red bell peppers are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, fiber, potassium, iron and magnesium. By getting more red bell peppers into your diet, you will be enjoying a myriad of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
10. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts might not be everyone’s favorite, but their abundance of vitamin K and vitamin C make these little buds a must for any well-balanced diet. Brussels sprouts are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin B1, folate, potassium and phosphorus, just to name a few. Their health benefits are numerous, including diabetes control, bone strength and battling forms of cancer. Brussels sprouts are also super low in calories, which means that you don’t have to worry about them whatsoever if you’re trying to lose weight.
11. Collard Greens
Collard greens, aside from being the name of a popular song, are also one of the healthiest foods you can get. Collards will offer you plenty of vitamins and other nutrients, such as dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, protein and potassium to support your wellbeing. Brace yourself – collards provide 1045% of your daily value of vitamin K and 308% for your recommended vitamin A intake per day. Consuming collards can literally reduce cholesterol as you consume them and, like most of the healthiest vegetables in the world – are known for reducing the risk of developing cancer.
Most individuals have quite the love-hate relationship with onions. They make any meal taste infinitely better, but their smell is strong enough to ward off someone from a foot away. Nonetheless, they are indeed one of the healthiest vegetables, with vitamins, calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, potassium and protein all over. Health benefits of onions include boosting the immune system, protecting the body from cancer (owing to their quercetin content), healing properties, heart health and protection against ulcers. Onions are also used in a wide variety of home remedies; you can find them in numerous lists on our website.
13. Beets and their Greens
When it comes to beets, we have a win-win situation. Not only are beets incredibly healthy, but so are their leafy green tops. The high lutein and antioxidant content of beets make them exceptional for protecting the body against cancers, as well as eye health. It is said that the green tops of beets are the healthiest part, but rest assured that the main, red part is just as healthy. Vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B-6, magnesium, protein and iron are all a part of these super healthy veggies.
According to data by the CDC, watercress is the most nutritious vegetable of all, with a flawless density score of 100. Watercress is celebrated for reducing blood pressure, boosting athletic results and having a super low amount of calories – one cup of watercress contains less than 4 calories! It is said that watercress can aid cancer treatment and prevent it from developing, promoting strong bones and battling diabetes, to name a few. You can add watercress to any home-cooked meal or eat it fresh in a crisp salad, depending on your preferences.