21. Green beans
Fresh green beans are loaded with nutrients. They are especially rich in vitamin K, which is important for bone strength, with just one cup containing about 155% of the needed daily amount. Green beans are rich in vitamin A, which helps support the immune system because of its high carotenoids content. Carotenoids are important antioxidants that may help protect the heart and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Pumpkin and fall go hand in hand. They make wonderful Jack-o’-lanterns, but they make an even better snack. Naturally sweet, they are loaded with potassium — good for kidney, muscle, and heart health — and vitamins, especially A — essential for eye health — beta carotene and vitamin C, both of which can help boost the immune system. Beta carotene can also help the skin stay smooth and may slow down skin aging.
Pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme mixture that is sometimes taken as a supplement because it may help reduce sinus problems. Bromelain also helps get rid of cytokines, which are inflammatory immune cells. Even though pineapples are not citrus fruits, they are packed with vitamin C.
24. Swiss chard
Swiss chard is a nutritionally dense green leaf vegetable. Just one cup of it – about the size of standard salad – gets you more than three times the recommended daily amount of vitamin K, which is studies suggest it may be important for cardiovascular health and bone metabolism. Don’t add salt to it, however, as it already has 103 mg a cup, which is about 5% of the daily allowance.
Beets are good for kidney and liver health, Nadler said. Beets contain betaine, an amino acid, which can help reduce inflammation and perhaps help reduce bad cholesterol, Nadler noted. Some research suggests that beets may also help protect the heart by preventing the buildup of homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine increase the risk of heart disease.