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)

Kale and White Bean Soup

bonappetit.com

 

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.

2. SPINACH (Health Score: 968)

 

Spinach meets your daily requirements for Vitamin K and lutein, and has plenty of Vitamin C and potassium (good for your muscles and heart), too. It even throws in some fiber (good for pooping) for good measure. Overachiever.

3. CARROTS (Health Score: 399)

Roasted Carrot Soup

food52.com

taesmileland/taesmileland

 

About 15% of the lutein you need for the day, plus some Vitamin K and fiber.

4. BROCCOLI RABE (Health Score: 392**)

Rigatoni with Broccoli Rabe

notderbypie.com

Shutterstock

 

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**)

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters

smittenkitchen.com

Warmlight/Warmlight

 

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.

**2 spears

6. BRUSSELS SPROUTS (Health Score: 247)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

simplyrecipes.com / Elise Bauer

Daniel_Saxlid/Daniel_Saxlid

 

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)

Lemony Pea Pesto

loveandlemons.com

Flickr: chiotsrun / Chiot's Run

 

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**)

Blood Thirsty Marys

marthastewart.com

Matthew O'Shea/Matthew O'Shea

 

With all that Vitamin A (boosts your immunity, vision, and reproductive health) and C, you should probably toast yourself for having some.

**1/3 cup

9. ASPARAGUS (Health Score: 134**)

Asparagus with Egg & Miso Butter

iamafoodblog.com

zhekos/zhekos

 

All that magnesium (an excellent energy booster) makes the smelly pee totally worth it.

**6 spears

10. GREEN BELL PEPPER (Health Score: 113)

Eggs Fried with Tomato in Bell Pepper

enjoyyourcooking.com

 

“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**)

Spaghetti Scallion Pancakes

buzzfeed.com / Macey Foronda

LiliViter/LiliViter

 

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)

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

browneyedbaker.com

 

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**)

Dan Barber’s Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Purée

food52.com

nop16/nop16

 

Folate? Check. Fiber? Check. Vitamins C and K? Check check.

**5 florets

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**)

Tater Tots

leitesculinaria.com

EccentricCanvas/EccentricCanvas

 

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)

tameek/tameek

 

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)

Salt Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese & Toasted Walnutes

alexandracooks.com

 

Still enough potassium and fiber to inspire a band.

21. SUNCHOKES, AKA JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES (Health Score: 41**)

Sunchokes with Orange Hazelnut Gremolata

mymansbelly.com

mymansbelly.com / jacqueline

 

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**)

Creamy Cucumber Salad

chow.com

 

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**)

Portobello Mushroom Burger

simplyrecipes.com

 

You say portobello, I say portabella, we both get a decent 5g of protein per cup.

**2/3 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.

**3/4 cup

25. RADISHES (Health Score: 13**)

giovanna_l/giovanna_l

 

Not a ton of nutrients, but more Vitamin C than a regular rose anyway.

**3 large, raw radishes

26. ONIONS (Health Score: 9**)

Caramelized Onion Tart with Gorgonzola and Brie

simplyrecipes.com

Shutterstock

 

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.

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