The 5 healthiest foods on the planet

A scientific classification has determined which foods are the healthiest in terms of nutrient content. The first five are vegetables with high nutritional density, that is, they have many nutrients but few calories.

When we hear about healthy eating, we often think of light dishes that do not provide too many calories. It is true that the energy content of a food is important to classify it as more or less healthy, but what matters most is its nutritional value and its inclusion in a balanced overall diet. Increasing the consumption of low-calorie foods will provide few health benefits if their nutritional value is insufficient.

For this reason, scientists at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified fruits and vegetables based on their nutritional value to determine which ones are best to include in our regular diet.

What is the nutritional density of foods? The amount of trace elements it contains is directly proportional to its caloric value. Green leafy vegetables dominate the classification.

Nutritional density of vegetables

According to specifications from the United Nations Department of Food and Agriculture, 17 nutrients are considered essential for health: fiber, protein, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, B12 , C., D, E and K. At the same time, taking into account the availability and absorption of each nutrient in the body, its nutritional density is calculated.

Below is a ranking of the 10 healthiest foods with the highest nutritional value, that is, the healthiest:

FOODNUTRITIONAL DENSITY (%)
Watercress100
Chinese cabbage91, 99
Chard89.27
Beet greens87.08
Spinach86.43
Chicory73.36
Lettuce leaves70.73
Parsley65.59
Romaine lettuce63.48
Green cabbage62.49

The 5 healthiest foods in the world

From this list of 10 vegetables with the highest nutritional value, we highlight the first 5, in which we talk about all the benefits and how to use them in daily cooking.

Watercress has the highest concentration of nutrients

healthier food

Watercress is a true superfood: a plant rich in mineral salts such as iron, sodium, iodine, phosphorus and manganese, and which also contains glycosides (gluconasturtoside), enzymes and bitter components.

Thanks to its remineralizing and vitamin properties, it is useful to help in states of weakness, anemia, recovery and lack of energy.

It is also a very effective diuretic, ideal for fluid retention problems, cystitis and natural treatment of hypertension and gout.

Its use is not recommended in cases of gastritis, ulcers or thyroid problems.

Watercress is fantastic eaten raw in salads or as an ingredient in vegetable soups.

Chinese cabbage, beta carotene for the eyes

healthier food

Chinese cabbage contains a significant amount of vitamins and minerals:

  • Contains iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and folic acid.
  • It has large amounts of vitamins A, C, K, B6 and K.
  • Rich in fiber, it is ideal to use in a weight control diet.
  • Thanks to its beta-carotene and vitamin A content, it is an excellent vegetable for eye care.

It can be consumed raw in salads or steamed with soy sauce and rice vinegar. It also tastes delicious when cut into thin strips and fried with other vegetables, it can also be prepared as a sauce.

Chard: a treasure of vitamins

Chard is one of the lightest vegetables (only 16 kcal in 100 g) but has a high vitamin content.

One serving of chard contains 50% of the daily value of vitamin C, 25% of vitamin E and two-thirds of vitamin A. Its soluble fiber is ideal for episodes of constipation because it promotes intestinal transit.

It is an excellent source of bone-building calcium, especially on a dairy-free diet. Large chard leaves can be made into rolls or wraps, and the stems can be coated with flour and egg.

Antioxidant effect of beet leaves

healthier food

La beet It is a wonderful culinary ingredient and valuable nutrient. These leaves contain more iron, calcium, vitamins C and E than the roots we usually consume.

They also contain phosphorus, iron and iodine and are concentrated with antioxidant properties that help protect cells against premature aging.

Beets contain oxalates, although in much lower proportions than spinach. Additionally, cooking the leaves reduces their concentration. In case of kidney stones, moderate consumption is recommended.

You can eat chopped beet greens in salads and steam them like other leafy greens. If you make them like this, choose the greenest, most tender and delicate leaves.

Spinach, benefits and versatility in the kitchen

healthier food

Spinach leaves have great preventive and regenerative capabilities thanks to the vitamins and minerals they contain. 100 g covers 2/3 of the daily needs of vitamin A, almost all of the folic acid, half of the vitamin C and 1/4 of the daily needs of magnesium.

It is considered very rich in iron: it contains a very large amount (2,71 mg per 100 g), which in combination with the vitamin C contained in the spinach itself or other food products favors its absorption. It contains more complete proteins than other vegetables and is also rich in calcium, phosphorus and fiber.

In addition, the fiber in spinach prevents the absorption of cholesterol and, in addition, the bile acids and antioxidants it contains limit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis.

Please note that it is not suitable for people prone to kidney stones, gout or arthritis as it contains oxalates.

Spinach is versatile in the kitchen, it can be eaten in a thousand ways and added to all kinds of stews, creams, soups and salads.

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