26 Most And Least Healthy Vegetables
A healthy-eating organization called Food Day assigned scores to 73 vegetables based on their nutritional content.* Here are our faves.
1. KALE (Health Score: 1,392)
More Vitamin K (good for your blood) and lutein (good for your eyes) than you need for the day, and plenty of Vitamin C (good for your immune system, heart, skin and lots of other stuff), too. Show off.
3. CARROTS (Health Score: 399)
About 15% of the lutein you need for the day, plus some Vitamin K and fiber.
4. BROCCOLI RABE (Health Score: 392**)
Tons of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, lutein, and even protein (one bunch of broccoli rabe has a whopping 17g).
** Based on 4 stalks
5. BROCCOLI (Health Score: 268**)
With similar nutrient levels, the better known cousin in the broccoli family has nothing to be ashamed of, even if he falls a little behind the 'rabe.
6. BRUSSELS SPROUTS (Health Score: 247)
Not sure how these guys got such a bad rep, considering they're easy to cook, insanely healthy, and also kind of adorable.
7. PEAS (Health Score: 173)
Carrots are great, but peas have enough nutrients, including iron (great for your muscles), folate (aka folic acid, a vitamin especially important for women before and during their pregnancies), to hold their own.
8. TOMATOES (Health Score: 136**)
With all that Vitamin A (boosts your immunity, vision, and reproductive health) and C, you should probably toast yourself for having some.
9. ASPARAGUS (Health Score: 134**)
All that magnesium (an excellent energy booster) makes the smelly pee totally worth it.
10. GREEN BELL PEPPER (Health Score: 113)
"Oh hey, what's up, I'm just chillin' over here with all my Vitamin C and other nutrients. NBD."
— Every green bell pepper ever
11. OKRA (Health Score: 94)
Get your Vitamin K! Get your Vitamin K right here, folks! Vitamin K, going fast!
12. SCALLIONS (Health Score: 91**)
Scallions, healthier than zucchini: Who knew?
**1/3 cup, raw
13. ZUCCHINI (Health Score: 88)
Sorry zucchini, you're great too. I really do appreciate all the lutein.
14. GREEN BEANS (Health Score: 83)
This mean, green, lutein machine also provides fiber, Vitamin K, and a touch of Vitamin C to top it all off.
15. CAULIFLOWER (Health Score: 77**)
Folate? Check. Fiber? Check. Vitamins C and K? Check check.
16. AVOCADO (Health Score: 75**)
So much more fiber and Vitamin K than toast could ever offer.
**1/2 an avocado, raw
17. POTATOES (Health Score: 64**)
With all that iron, Vitamin C and potassium, is it any surprise Sam Gamgee was looking for some on the road to Mordor? I think not.
**1 small potato with skin
18. CORN (Health Score: 58)
Should I make fun of how non-nutritious high-fructose corn syrup is or would that be too corny?
19. ICEBERG LETTUCE (Health Score: 54**)
Enough iron to bring down a teeny-tiny, miniature Titanic.
**2 cups, raw
20. BEETS (Health Score: 43)
Still enough potassium and fiber to inspire a band.
21. SUNCHOKES, AKA JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES (Health Score: 41**)
Sunchokes: Ugly, confusing, and apparently, not that nutritious. It's not all bad, though: they have a bit of potassium of fiber buried underneath that bumpy exterior.
**1/2 cup, raw
22. CUCUMBERS (Health Score: 27**)
So what if cukes aren't all stars on the nutrition front? They still provide a decent amount of Vitamin K AND they make a killer salad.
**1/3 medium, raw with peel
23. PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS (Health Score: 24**)
You say portobello, I say portabella, we both get a decent 5g of protein per cup.
24. EGGPLANT (Health Score: 21**)
I am so disappointed in you, eggplant. All that time I spent substituting you for meat and the best you can give me is fiber. But I don't blame you. Really, I don't. I blame myself.
25. RADISHES (Health Score: 13**)
Not a ton of nutrients, but more Vitamin C than a regular rose anyway.
**3 large, raw radishes
26. ONIONS (Health Score: 9**)
Great for flavor, aroma and pizza, but sadly, not so great for nutrition. Whatevs. They don't HURT.
**3 Tbsp. raw
*Food Day explains how the vegetables were scored and ranked:
"We calculated a score for each vegetable by adding up its percentage of: (1) the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Adequate Intake (AI) for seven nutrients, (2) the Daily Value (DV) for fiber, and (3) the daily targets that we've devised for lutein (plus zeaxanthin) and carotenoids other than lutein...
We counted calcium, iron, folate, and magnesium in our scores but they're not in the chart. Ditto for carotenoids other than lutein, which include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lycopene. We included lutein in the chart because of growing evidence that it may help prevent cataracts. There is no RDA or AI for lutein, so we set our own (3,000 micrograms) based on studies on cataracts. (The RDAs and AIs—daily targets set by the Institute of Medicine—vary slightly by age and gender. We picked the highest level for adults, excluding pregnant and lactating women.)"
For more information on the methodology behind the rankings, click here.