ASPARAGUS-- A great source of vitamin K, folate, copper, vitamin B1, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and vitamin E; very good rankings go to 12 additional nutrients: fiber, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B3, potassium, choline, vitamin A, zinc, iron, protein, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid; and high levels of magnesium and calcium.
AVOCADO-- High levels of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, and monounsaturated fat. In addition, they average greater overall intake of fruits and vegetables and have better overall diet quality. Avocados contain all B vitamins except vitamin B12; vitamin C ( 20% of our recommended daily level in one cup); phosphorus, manganese, and copper at more than 10% of our daily recommendation); and 8% of our recommended daily omega-3s.
BROCCOLI- Vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients all contribute to the antioxidant benefits provided by our food. Broccoli is a premiere example of a vegetable providing all three types of antioxidants. In the vitamin category, broccoli represents our 3rd best source of vitamin C,10th best source of vitamin E, and 16th best source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids). It also serves as our top source of chromium, a very good source of manganese, and a good source of selenium and zinc. But it is the phytonutrient category in which broccoli's antioxidant benefits stand out. Concentrated in broccoli are flavonoids like kaempferol and quercetin. Also concentrated are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. All three of these carotenoids function as key antioxidants
MUSHROOMS- Few foods provide us with the unique forms of these macronutrients that are found in crimini. In the protein category, perhaps the most unique protein component in crimini is the sulfur-containing amino acid known as ergothioneine. This amino acid is derived from the more common amino acid, histidine, and it has well-documented antioxidant benefits. In fact, not only has ergothioneine been shown to function as an antioxidant, but in animal studies it has also been shown to protect against chronic oxidative stress. Ergothioneine not only provides us with antioxidant support, but with immune support as well, since it helps protect immune cells from oxidative damage. Research studies have also confirmed the ability of our body to uptake ergothioneine following consumption of crimini mushrooms.
BEET GREENS- In the macronutrient category, beet greens are an excellent source of fiber and a very good source of protein. In the vitamin category, they are an excellent source of both fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A and K, as well as water-soluble vitamins like vitamins C and B2. In the mineral category, they are an excellent source of 5 minerals, including copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. In fact, when beet greens are compared with two other common dark green leafy vegetables (DGLV)—turnip greens and mustard greens—only beet greens provide excellent amounts of both calcium and magnesium.
KALE- Kale's cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Within the carotenoids, lutein and beta-carotene are standout antioxidants in kale. As mentioned in our What's New and Beneficial section, over 45 different flavonoids have been identified in kale. Most prominent among kale's flavonoids are its flavonols, including kaempferol, quercetin, and isorhamnetin. Researchers have actually followed the passage of these two carotenoids in kale from the human digestive tract up into the blood stream, and they have demonstrated the ability of kale to raise blood levels of these carotenoid nutrients. That finding is important because lutein and beta-carotene are key nutrients in the protection of our body from oxidative stress and health problems related to oxidative stress.