On some levels, all plants may be considered superfoods in that they provide us with the nutrients we need to thrive. But some foods stand out in terms of their nutrient density, with extra-generous amounts of vitamins and minerals. Following are nine heavy-hitting, ultra-nutritious vegetables—fit them in your diet whenever possible.
Beets: a good source of folate, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, manganese, magnesium and copper. One of the only vegetables to feature glycine betaine, which protects cells and enzymes from external stressors.
Broccoli: contains large quantities of vitamin C and fiber. Also packed with vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, iron, zinc and phytonutrients, which act as anti-inflammatories.
Cabbage (Green and Red): ranks high in antioxidants and boasts vitamins C and K. One of the best sources of dietary fiber.
Chard: chock-full of vitamins A and K. Also high in nitrates, which can lower blood pressure and supply energy.
Kale: high in vitamins A, B6, C and especially K. Also contains minerals, including copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. Consuming kale helps you absorb iron and calcium.
Onions: contain B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Esteemed for antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Red Peppers: high in phytochemicals with antioxidant qualities that neutralize cell damage. Also contain fiber, folate, manganese and vitamins A, B6, C and K.
Sweet Potatoes: a reliable source of vitamin A, which supports vision, bone growth, reproduction and immune system health; one medium-sized potato provides 400 percent of your daily RDA. Also heavy in fiber and potassium.
Tomatoes: provide ample nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and iron, which keeps your blood healthy. Cooking enhances tomatoes’ nutritional value by increasing lycopene content, a powerful antioxidant.
Excerpted from Healing the Vegan Way: Plant-Based Eating for Optimal Health & Wellness by Mark Reinfeld. Copyright © 2016. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.