81. Mushrooms
There was a time when the only mushrooms you could get in United States supermarkets were white “button” mushrooms. Now, we have access to a wealth of different tasty fungi. Shiitake, straw, crimini, enoki, and portobello are among the most common. Most share similar nutrition profiles: Many species are high in fiber and protein and provide several B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.
Brown mushrooms appear to provide more antioxidants.
White button mushrooms provide vitamin D, one of the very few non-animal sources for this vitamin. Vitamin D is essential to calcium metabolism and bone health. Deficiency in vitamin D is implicated in a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to Parkinson’s disease, including coronary and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D also appears to play a role in the immune system, and it produces a hormone that has been effective against cancer cells in laboratory tests. White mushrooms may provide some major components of vitamin B12, though whether this is in a form that can be used by the body remains uncertain.
Shiitake mushrooms have a long history of medicinal use in China. Ming Dynasty physician Wu Juei wrote that shiitakes were a tonic against a variety of ills, including premature aging. In modern times, a compound found in shiitakes called lentinan has been investigated for its potential tumor-inhibiting capabilities, as well as its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It appears to stimulate the production of white blood cells and other components of the immune system used to fight disease.
Another compound in shiitakes, lenthionine, keeps blood platelets from sticking together and may help prevent blood clots and stroke. Ergothioneine, found in shiitakes and several other mushrooms (notably oyster and maitake mushrooms), is an antioxidant, but it behaves differently than other sulfur-containing antioxidants (such as those in Allium and Brassica foods). Mushrooms are the richest source of this compound, which scavenges free hydroxyl radicals and may help protect against nitric oxides and regulate metal-carrying enzymes.
Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium and a very good source of iron. They are also a good source of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin C.
Nutritional Facts :
(raw mushrooms) One-half cup of raw mushrooms provides 9 calories, 1.6 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 1 mg vitamin C, 1.4 mg niacin, 7 mcg folic acid, 130 mg potassium, 36 mg phosphorus, 2 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium.
(dried shiitake mushrooms) One ounce of dried shiitake mushrooms provides 83 calories, 21.1 g carbohydrate, 2.7 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 3.2 g dietary fiber, 1 mg vitamin C, 4 mg niacin, 46 mcg folic acid, 430 mg potassium, 82 mg phosphorus, 3 mg calcium, and 37 mg magnesium.
82. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are another leafy member of the Brassica genus. An excellent source of the three antioxidant vitamins, A, C, and E, mustard greens are also a very good source of magnesium, which helps with muscle cramps and may help keep the smooth muscles lining the airways relaxed, which can be helpful to persons with asthma. Mustard greens are known to play a vital role in keeping blood pressure low. They are also an excellent source of calcium. The balance of calcium and magnesium is important to maintaining hydration as well as to healthy bones and blood pressure. Like other green leafy vegetables, mustard greens are full of fiber, carotenes, and vitamin K.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of chopped, boiled mustard greens provides 11 calories, 1.5 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 2122 IU vitamin A, 18 mg vitamin C, 51 mcg folic acid, 141 mg potassium, 11 mg sodium, 29 mg phosphorus, 52 mg calcium, and 11 mg magnesium.
83. Onions
Onions are a very good source of vitamin C and chromium, and they also provide manganese, molybdenum, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.
Onions, like leeks, garlic, and shallots, are members of the Allium family, a group of plants with a characteristic taste caused by sulfur compounds that also have some powerful Benefits for human health. These sulfur compounds are being investigated for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering, and cancer-fighting potential. Eating onions and other Allium vegetables regularly is associated with a lowered incidence of several types of cancers. The sulfur compounds are also known to help lower blood pressure and keep plaque from forming in blood vessels, and the B6 that they provide helps reduce blood levels of homocysteine.
Onions do a lot to help preserve cardiovascular health! The chromium in onions is essential to the proper metabolism of sugar, and people at risk for diabetes may benefit from its glucose-regulating properties.
Another sulfur compound in onions that’s come under study more recently may help prevent the absorption of bone, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Tests have suggested that the more pungent the onion, the more phenols and flavonoids it has—and the more likely it is to have a positive effect on your health.
Eat the mild, sweet onions, too, but don’t avoid the sharp ones. This is a vegetable worth risking the occasional watery eye for!
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of chopped raw onion provides 30 calories, 6.9 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 1.4 g dietary fiber, 5 mg vitamin C, 15 mcg folic acid, 126 mg potassium, 2 mg sodium, 26 mg phosphorus, 16 mg calcium, and 8 mg magnesium.
84. Parsley
Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a good source of iron and folate. If eaten in quantities appropriate for a vegetable rather than a spice, it can provide calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, beta-carotene, and lutein. Parsley will also cleanse both your palate and your breath after a meal! Parsley contains some interesting chemical compounds that warrant further study: volatile oils, including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene, and antioxidant flavonoids, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin. The volatile oils have shown potential to prevent the formation of cancerous tumors and may have positive effects on mood and cognition. Parsley has also shown potential for reducing inflammation in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
These complex chemicals have not yet been fully studied, and some are known to have toxic effects when taken in large doses. For example, parsley also contains apiol, a substance that appears to affect the female hormonal system and was at one time used to induce miscarriage of unwanted pregnancies. For this reason, pregnant women should not use parsley seeds or essential oil of parsley in medicinal quantities.
Parsley also contains measurable amounts of oxalates, so over-consumption can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a low-oxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of chopped fresh parsley provides 11 calories, 1.9 g carbohydrate, 0.9 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 1560 IU vitamin A, 40 mg vitamin C, 46 mcg folic acid, 166 mg potassium, 17 mg sodium, 17 mg phosphorus, 41 mg calcium, 1.86 mg iron, and 15 mg magnesium.
85. Parsnips
Parsnips are an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, copper, manganese, and fiber. They also provide vitamin E; the B vitamins niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and B6; and the minerals magnesium and potassium.
Parsnips are lower in calories and provide only about half as much protein and vitamin C as potatoes, but they contain more fiber and folic acid. Although closely related to carrots, they lack beta-carotene and, consequently, the orange color. Parsnips provide more potassium than carrots.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled parsnips provides 63 calories, 15.2 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 3.1 g dietary fiber, 10 mg vitamin C, 45 mcg folic acid, 286 mg potassium, 8 mg sodium, 54 mg phosphorus, 29 mg calcium, and 23 mg magnesium.
86. Radishes
Radishes, perhaps surprisingly, are yet another cruciferous vegetable. The familiar red, white, or purple radish seen in grocery stores is a spring or summer radish. It is rich in vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium, as well as a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. Radishes are also relatively high in fiber.
Radish greens are said to have six times the vitamin C of the roots, and they provide calcium as well. The Oriental radish, also known as daikon, is a larger, winter radish. It is also a good source of vitamin C.
As with the other cruciferous vegetables, radishes contain compounds that show potential in fighting cancer. Daikon also contains an enzyme called myrosinase that is believed to help in digestion and that, in the presence of water, converts to thiocyanates and isothiocyanates, some of which may be involved in the radish’s anti-cancer benefits.
Nutritional Facts :
(summer radishes) Ten medium raw summer radishes provide 8 calories, 1.6 g carbohydrate, 0.3 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 0.7 g dietary fiber, 4 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C, 12 mcg folic acid, 104 mg potassium, 11 mg sodium, 8 mg phosphorus, 9 mg calcium, and 4 mg magnesium.
(oriental radish) One raw Oriental radish (daikon) provides 61 calories, 13.9 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 0.34 g fat, 5 g dietary fiber, 74.4 mg vitamin C, 95 mcg folic acid, 767 mg potassium, 71 mg sodium, 78 mg phosphorus, 91 mg calcium, and 54 mg magnesium.
87. Rhubarb
Rhubarb is a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and calcium, and it also provides some potassium. Rhubarb is very low in calories, and half of its carbohydrates are dietary fiber. Since it is very tart, rhubarb is usually sweetened with sugar when cooked. Its unusual flavor has led to its use in traditional medicine in many regions. It is known for its laxative effect, and the roots were initially cultivated for use as a purgative or cathartic.
More recently, researchers have been investigating rhubarb’s potential as a cancer- fighting food. Anthraquinones in rhubarb appear to attack cancer cells in several different ways, including starving tumor cells by interfering with their ability to take in glucose, limiting their proliferation, and preventing metastasis (the traveling of cancer cells to other parts of the body). One rhubarb extract may also help relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Another appears to help constrict blood vessels, useful for stopping bleeding. Rhubarb also appears to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Rhubarb, however, is a food that not only contains measurable amounts of oxalates, but is actually quite high in them. The leaves are so high in oxalic acid that they are regarded as poisonous, and although they were used in some traditional soups, it is better to avoid eating them altogether. The leaves also contain a second toxin, possibly anthraquinone glycoside, which is thought to be related to its laxative effect. The stalks contain much less oxalate, and these can be eaten by those who are not at risk. However, rhubarb can cause problems for those with kidney disease, gout, vulvar pain, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions that may require a low-oxalate diet.
Nutritional Facts :
One cup of frozen raw rhubarb provides 29 calories, 7 g carbohydrate, 0.8 g protein. 0.2 g fat, 2.5 g dietary fiber, 147 IU vitamin A, 7 mg vitamin C, 11 mcg folic acid, 148 mg potassium, 3 mg sodium, 266 mg calcium, 16 mg phosphorus, and 25 mg magnesium.
88. Rutabaga
Rutabagas are believed to have begun as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, both cruciferous vegetables. They are also known as “Swedish turnips,” sometimes shortened to “swedes.” Rutabagas are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A and potassium. They are also high in fiber.
Rutabagas are loaded with phytochemicals, including carotenoids, terpenes, flavonoids, coumarins, indoles, phenolic acids, and isothiocyanates. Many of these chemicals are believed to act as antioxidants and cancer fighters; they may also help preserve vision and lower blood pressure.
Cooked rutabagas are somewhere in between our “starchy vegetable” and “true vegetable” categories. They provide about 35 calories per half-cup serving. But they can also be eaten raw, which preserves more of their vitamins A and C, so try them in thin slices as an addition to salads.
Nutritional Facts :
One-half cup of boiled rutabaga cubes provides 33 calories, 7.4 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 477 IU vitamin A, 16 mg vitamin C, 13 mcg folic acid, 277 mg potassium, 17 mg sodium, 48 mg phosphorus, 41 mg calcium, and 20 mg magnesium.
89. Salsa
Traditionally, salsa is made of tomatoes, hot peppers, onions, lemon or lime juice, and cilantro, but you can add any number of fruits or vegetables to it for variety. In diet terms, it is a “free” condiment, that is, the calorie content is so low for the quantities at which it is normally eaten that it’s not worth counting.
Ironically, for something that tastes so good, almost all the ingredients have significant health benefits. The tomatoes bring vitamin C and lycopene, the peppers add capsaicin, and the onions bring their Allium-family goodness. Salsa is full of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering, and cancer-fighting compounds.
This is one treat it’s hard to overdose on!
Nutritional Facts :
One-quarter cup of a typical salsa provides 10 calories, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g dietary fiber, 125 mg sodium, 54 IU vitamin A, 9 mg vitamin C, 1 mg calcium, and 30 mg phosphorus.
90. Scallions
Scallions are also known as spring onions or green onions. Some scallions found in stores are young onions of the standard yellow or white cooking variety, harvested before they have had time to develop full round bulbs. There are also varieties that Carbohydrates: “True” Vegetables 149 are specifically bred as green onions. The green tops are often used along with the bulb, so scallions may provide more of vitamins A, C, and K than their more mature relations. They are also a source of folate, calcium, and potassium.
Nutritional Facts :
One medium scallion (4 1/8 inches long) provides 4.8 calories, 3.9 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g protein, 0.2 g fat, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 150 IU vitamin A, 28 mg vitamin C, 31.1 mcg vitamin K, 9.6 mcg folic acid, 41.4 mg potassium, 10.8 mg calcium, 5.6 mg phosphorus, and 3 mg magnesium.

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