Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kale, spinach top list of healthiest veggies

Broccoli, carrots and bell peppers also are top-notch
By Kaye Spector
The Plain Dealer

Looking to get the biggest nutritional bang out of your veggies? Try eating the "healthiest veggies" identified by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

CSPI calculated a score for each vegetable by adding up the percentage of the dietary Reference Intake for six nutrients, the Daily Value for fiber and the daily targets that CSPI devised for lutein and carotenoids other than lutein. Calcium, iron and folate were part of the score, too.

(Lutein was included because CSPI says evidence is growing that it may prevent cataracts. CSPI came up with a 3,000 microgram daily requirement based on cataract studies and the federal government's Institute of Medicine.)

The top 10:
Collard greens
Turnip greens
Swiss chard
Raw spinach
Canned pumpkin
Mustard greens
Sweet potato with skin

Notice a pattern here? Brightly colored leafy greens. But broccoli, carrots and bell peppers also are top-notch, says CSPI. These veggies get high scores because they're rich in lutein and beta-carotene, but also supply vitamin K and some of just about everything else.

CSPI also does lists for top fruits, beans, grains and meat in its Healthy Foods guide, which is given free to subscribers of its monthly Nutrition Action newsletter.

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