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Vegetables' nutritional benefits compared

February 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Health experts will tell you no matter what you're eating, you want to choose quality so you get the good taste and nutrients. So how do vegetables stack up against each other?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest looked at the vitamins, minerals, plant chemicals and fiber in 73 vegetables, and they discovered leafy greens are the super stars.

The most nutritious vegetable is kale, followed by spinach, collard greens, swiss chard and turnip greens. Closely following those leafy greens are vegetables rich in vitamin A. Brightly colored pumpkin, sweet potato, radicchio and carrots are in the top 15.

Other blue ribbon winners include broccoli, bell and chili peppers and brussels sprouts are in the top five with the most vitamin C. Sweet potatoes, spinach, Swiss chard, lima beans and portobello mushrooms are the "go to" veggies providing the most potassium. This mineral is responsible for helping lower blood pressure as it helps sweep sodium out of our system.

If you're wanting foods those that are loaded with magnesium, the mineral that relaxes cells throughout the body and helps to keep insulin in good working order, choose arugula, spinach, Swiss chard, lima beans and peas.

Vegetables with the most fiber include artichokes, peas, avocadoes, lima beans and jicama.

Mushrooms and onions offer the least amount of nutrients, but that's no reason to leave them off your plate. While they have a low score, they're packed with powerful plant compounds that offer the body great benefits.