Les 5 légumes les plus nutritifs basés sur la science

Légumes de supermarché

Les légumes de toutes les couleurs regorgent de vitamines, de minéraux, de fibres et de phytonutriments. Vous ne pouvez pas vous tromper en ajoutant des produits plus colorés à votre assiette. Cependant, certains légumes ont une teneur en nutriments plus élevée par rapport à leurs calories, ce qui les rend exceptionnellement utiles pour la gestion du poids et la santé.

docteur Fuhrman, le développeur du régime alimentaire, a eu l’idée d’un ANDI (Aggregate Nutrition Density Index) pour quantifier la teneur en nutriments des fruits et légumes par rapport à leurs calories. À l’aide du score ANDI, les chercheurs ont entrepris la tâche fastidieuse de classer 41 types de fruits et légumes en fonction de leur densité nutritionnelle. Regardons quel produit est en tête de liste en termes de densité nutritionnelle par calorie sur la base du score ANDI.

cresson

Cresson (densité nutritionnelle 100%)

Le cresson est en tête de liste des légumes riches en nutriments par calorie selon les critères ANDI. Le cresson est un légume à feuilles vert foncé qui pousse dans les ruisseaux et les rivières froids et clairs, et vous pouvez apprécier sa saveur poivrée crue ou cuite. Cependant, vous conserverez plus de vitamine C si vous consommez cette feuille verte crue. Le cresson ajoute du piquant aux salades, wraps et sandwichs. En plus de la vitamine C, le cresson est riche en vitamine K, importante pour la coagulation du sang et la densité osseuse, et en bêta-carotène, un précurseur de la vitamine A et un antioxydant et anti-inflammatoire.

Encore plus intrigants sont les antioxydants contenus dans le cresson, notamment l’isothiocyanate de phényléthyle (PEITC). Une étude a révélé que les antioxydants contenus dans le cresson supprimaient les dommages[{” attribute=””>DNA, a cell’s genetic material. In the study, the results were most pronounced in smokers. Although the cancer-fighting capabilities of watercress are an area that needs more research, you can’t go wrong adding watercress to your plate.

Napa Cabbage

Chinese Cabbage (Nutrient Density Score 92%)

Chinese cabbage is also called Napa cabbage, and it’s a member of the Brassica family. This green, leafy veggie has long, pale green leaves with white ribs and a sweet flavor. Since it’s a cruciferous vegetable, like watercress and broccoli, it contains similar phytochemicals, some of which are being explored for potential anti-cancer benefits.

What you might not know about Chinese cabbage is it’s more nutrient dense than regular cabbage, offering more of certain vitamins such as vitamins C, K, and folate, a B-vitamin. Plus, it contains various antioxidants with anti-inflammatory activity, all for only 9 calories a cup.

To get the most vitamin C from Chinese cabbage, enjoy it raw in salads and sandwiches. If you prefer it cooked, add the chopped leaves or ribs to stir-fries with other Asian ingredients. Stir-fry recipes typically have a base of garlic and ginger, which work well with Chinese cabbage’s mild flavor. Add chicken, shrimp, or tofu for protein.

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard (Nutrient Density Score 89%)

Swiss chard, also known as leaf beet, is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the same family as beets. Its leaves have a mild flavor like spinach, but it has a slightly tougher texture that softens when you cook it. Swiss chard is a rich source of vitamin K, although it contains less vitamin C than the top two most nutrient-dense veggies, watercress, and Chinese cabbage, per calorie.

One downside is Swiss chard is high in oxalates. If you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, it’s best to avoid Swiss chard since it can increase the amount of oxalates in your urine and boost the odds of kidney stones forming. Cooking Swiss chard reduces but doesn’t eliminate, oxalates.

Need a quick way to prepare it? Try sauteing Sauté Swiss chard in olive oil until just wilted (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Beet Greens

Beet Greens (Nutrient Density Score 87%)

Beet greens are the leaves of beets, colorful root vegetables that grow in the ground. Beet greens are like spinach in texture and taste but have a more intense flavor. You can enjoy these leafy greens raw in salads or cooked like spinach, Swiss chard, or other leafy greens. But like Swiss chard, they’re high in oxalates, so it’s best to cook them to reduce their oxalate content.

Enjoy beet greens cooked or steamed, and tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, or vinegar. You can also sauté them with garlic and onions for a flavorful side dish to add to your dinner plate.

Why are beet greens so nutrient-dense? With each bite, you get a healthy dose of vitamins A and C, but they also contain respectable quantities of minerals such as iron and zinc.

Bowl of Spinach

Spinach (Nutrient Density Score 86%)

Who isn’t familiar with the green, leafy vegetable known as spinach? It’s widely available and packed with nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, and like all leafy greens, an excellent source of fiber.

Like Swiss chard, beet greens, and spinach, spinach is also high in oxalates. If you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, it’s safest to substitute a lower-oxalate green such as watercress or kale for spinach.

Spinach also contains compounds called thylakoids that have appetite-suppressing benefits. Plus, spinach is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids which may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, common causes of visual decline.

Leafy Greens Dominate the List

You may have noticed a trend. Leafy greens top the list of nutrient-dense foods per calorie. Another benefit of leafy greens is they’re high in natural nitrates, compounds that increase nitric oxide, a gas that helps open blood vessels. This enhances endothelial function, healthy blood vessel function that lowers blood pressure, and the risk of blood clots, another reason to add greens to your plate.

The Bottom Line

Leafy greens are nutrient-rich and lower in calories and top the list in terms of ANDI scores. Still, it’s smart to enjoy a wide array of non-starchy vegetables and fruits for optimal health. Almost all contain substantial quantities of potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that helps lower blood pressure. So, fill your grocery cart with fruits and vegetables in all colors of the rainbow, but don’t forget to add these five veggies with the highest ANDI scores.

References:

  1. “Watercress supplementation in diet reduces lymphocyte DNA damage and alters blood antioxidant status in healthy adults” by Chris IR Gill, Sumanto Haldar, Lindsay A Boyd, Richard Bennett, Joy Whiteford, Michelle Butler, Jenny R Pearson, Ian Bradbury and Ian R Rowland, 1 February 2007, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
    DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/85.2.504
  2. “Consumption of thylakoid-rich spinach extract reduces hunger, increases satiety and reduces cravings for palatable food in overweight women” by Eva-Lena Stenblom, Emil Egecioglu, Mona Landin-Olsson and Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, 17 April 2015, Appetite.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.051
  3. “ANDI Food Scores: Rating the Nutrient Density of Foods.” 16 Mar. 2017, drfuhrman.com/blog/128/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods.
  4. “Joel Fuhrman Micronutrients Food List – HRF.” healthresearchfunding.org/joel-fuhrman-micronutrients-food-list/.
  5. “Acute Effects of a Spinach Extract Rich in Thylakoids on Satiety: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial” by Candida J. Rebello, MS, RD, Jessica Chu, BS, Robbie Beyl, PhD, Dan Edwall, PhD, Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, PhD and Frank L. Greenway, MD, 1 June 2015, Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
    DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2014.1003999

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