The top 5 veggies to add to your diet

accreditation
Some vegetables are more nutritious than others.
Some vegetables are more nutritious than others.

The guidelines to eat more vegetables are clear, and eating a rainbow of colours gets you the widest variety of nutrients and phytonutrients, those hard-to-duplicate compounds that go beyond vitamins and minerals.

'Powerhouse' vegetables

But whether you're at the farmers' market or choosing a side dish at a restaurant, are some vegetables better than others?

A research study set out to rank the best "powerhouse" vegetables (and fruits) – those most strongly associated with reducing the risk for chronic diseases.

Forty-seven vegetables were ranked based on percentages of 17 known nutrients in a 100-calorie serving. Nutrients included vitamins A, C, D, E, K and many of the B vitamins, along with the minerals calcium, potassium, iron and zinc, plus fibre and even protein.

The top 5 vegetables

  • Watercress
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Chard
  • Beet greens
  • Spinach

You might be surprised to read that watercress, often used as a mere garnish, ranked No. 1. Think of this pleasantly peppery green as the perfect base for your salads or a great "bed" on which to serve a protein, like a broiled chicken breast.

The cruciferous veggie Chinese cabbage (you might know it as Napa cabbage) took the second spot. It makes a great coleslaw or health salad and can also be made into fermented, probiotic-rich kimchi.

The leafy greens chard, beet greens and spinach round out the top five, but there's no need to stop there. Other healthful veggies high on the list include collards, kale, arugula, leaf lettuce, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Think of them when satisfying your daily vegetable needs.

Image credit: iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
30% - 9643 votes
No
70% - 22619 votes
Vote