If you’ve resolved to create a “new” you this New Year, we applaud you. While self-improvement involves many areas, improving your diet and health, will invariably impact most other aspects of your life.
According to a study that looked at the highest concentrations of 17 nutrients considered important for public health and published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following are the top five powerhouse vegetables considered the most nutrient-dense foods available today. We recommend you begin your New Year/New You resolution by incorporating these top five super foods into your daily meal planning.
1. Watercress: Based on its nutrient-to-calorie ratio, watercress ranked highest on the nutrient scale. This versatile leafy green is loaded with phytonutrients, cancer fighting antioxidants, and essential vitamins. In fact, one serving of this peppery flavored veggie contains as much vitamin C as an orange, more calcium than a glass of milk, and tons of fiber. Also, it contains high levels of magnesium, lutein, phosphorous, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B1, B6, K and E.
2. Chinese Cabbage: This cruciferous vegetable contains natural chemical compounds that may help prevent cancer. It’s also extremely high in vitamin C, a great source of fiber; and rich in vitamin K, which is linked to slowing bone loss and promoting faster bone healing. Cabbage is also low in calories, sodium and cholesterol and fat free!
3. Chard: Chard is a relative of the beet family that includes Swiss chard, leaf beet, spinach beet, silver beet, seakale beet, and white beet. Chard contains large, tender, and mild tasting leaves. Swiss chard produces beautifully colorful stems, ranging from green to orange, pink, red and yellow. Also fat- cholesterol-free, this veggie is best known for being a great source of magnesium and vitamins A, C and K.
4. Beet Greens: Beet greens are the leaves of the very nutritious beet plant. While beets themselves are loaded with nutrients, it may be surprising that beet greens have even higher levels of essential nutrients including, vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium. These dark greens, which can be eaten raw or cooked, are also chock-full of calcium, iron, and copper!
5. Spinach: Like watercress, this well-known super food is available year-round and its mild flavor and texture make it a versatile recipe ingredient. Spinach is also rich in magnesium, folate and iron, nutrients that are necessary for energy and healthy red blood cell production. And, like our other leafy green it’s high in vitamins A, C, and K.
Start your year on the right track by planning well-rounded meals for you and your family. Keep in mind, no single fruit or veggie can give you all of your necessary nutrients, so incorporate a large variety throughout the day, and you’ll be well on your way to creating that healthier new you this new year.