The vast majority of people know that the healthiest foods can be found and consumed unaltered in Mother Nature’s garden. Fruits and vegetables are, by far, the most nutrient rich foods that have been known to rid our bodies of toxins, repair our cells, and essentially strengthen our immune system.
Are You Getting Enough Nutrient Rich Vegetables in Your Diet?
It has been found that although nutrient-rich foods are readily available nearly 60% of the food the average person eats is processed. By far the worst news is that 80% of people believe they are eating a healthy diet.
It can be difficult to decide what is really healthy and what isn’t unless you know what vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that food contains. For example, a head of lettuce is a vegetable and those who eat lettuce would consider it healthy. However, though it may be better for you than eating a cheeseburger, iceberg lettuce ranks 24th on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) which measures the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals prevalent in foods.
To determine the Nutrient Density of foods scientists have developed a relatively easy formula which compares the nutrients to the number of calories that food contains. To determine the nutrient density yourself you can simply divide the food energy from a single nutrient (in calories) by the total food energy (number of calories). Nutrient rich foods are also determined by the comparison of a food item to the requirements of that food as it is needed by your body.
The Top 5 Nutrient Rich Vegetables
- Kale- Kale is a cabbage- like vegetable that contains green and purple leaves that can reach a height of 6 feet. Kale also contains indole-3-carbinol which helps repair DNA and inhibits cancer cell growth. Kale has an ANDI score of 1000 and is rich in: Beta Carotene,Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Lutein, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Folate, and Calcium.
- Collard Greens- Collard Greens refer to various green leafed plants that are classified with cabbage and broccoli. It has large dark green leaves that can grow up to 2 feet tall and is available year-round. It helps regulate the immune system, is antibacterial and inhibits cancer cell growth. It has an ANDI score of 1000 and is rich in: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Calcium, Lutein, Magnesium, Potassium, Folate, and Beta Carotene.
- Mustard Greens- Mustard Greens are a species of the mustard plant; they resemble cabbage and have a mustard or horseradish flavor. It is commonly used to make mustard oil. Mustard Greens have an ANDI score of 1000 and is rich in: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Beta Carotene, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.
- Watercress- Watercress grows quickly in high water areas. They are considered aquatic and have a peppery or tangy flavor. Watercress can usually grow between 1 and 3 feet high. It has antioxidant, diuretic, cancer suppressing, and stimulant properties. It has an ANDI score of 1000 and is rich in: Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid, beta- carotene, Lutein, Folate, and Iron.
- Swiss Chard (Spinach) – Chard is a leafy vegetable whose leaves are dark green in color with varying stem colors. Chard can be slightly bitter when raw but dissipates as it is cooked. It has an ANDI score of 895 and is rich in: Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Folate, Choline, Vitamin E, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Sodium.
Other Nutrient Rich vegetables and their ANDI Scores
Want even more nutrient rich vegetables that you can add to your favorite recipes? Check out the following:
- Bok Choy-824
- Brussels Sprouts-672
- Arugula- 559
- Green Pepper-258
- Asparagus- 234
The Easiest Ways to Get More Nutrient Rich Vegetables into Your Diet
If you aren’t the biggest fan of vegetables, or you are trying your hardest to get your family to eat more veggies but they are giving you a hard time, the good news is that there are some surprisingly easy ways to incorporate more nutrient rich vegetables into your daily diet.
According to EatingWell, there are several easy ways to get more vegetables into your meal plans. For example, you could:
- Make juices and smoothies that include a combination of veggies and sweet fruits
- Enjoy vegetable soups and stews
- Add more veggies to your breakfast
- Add more veggies to your wraps, sandwiches, and pizzas
- Use veggies in place of noodles, chips, and wraps
Get creative, come up with new recipes of your own, and search for recipes that incorporate the many nutrient rich vegetables that are listed above. You might be surprised by the many different recipes that you can find for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking. It’s so much easier than you though to add more plants to your diet, and your body will thank you!
Give Your Body What It Needs by Eating Nutrient Rich Vegetables
Eating a variety of nutrient rich vegetables can help you improve and maintain your health, and it can also be a smart step on your weight loss journey if you are trying to slim down in a healthy way. The key is to get a wide range of veggies into your diet so you can get an assortment of nutrients, from vitamins and minerals, to antioxidants and fiber, that will support your body in myriad ways. With the tips above, you can incorporate more vegetables into your meal plan, and you can do so with ease.