Sweet potato offers biggest nutritional gain for your buck

March 14, 2014 at 4:41 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- Physicians urge U.S. adults and children to eat more fruits and vegetables, but a food advocacy group says the sweet potato provides the most bang for a buck.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington ranked vegetables by giving each points for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. In addition, points were deducted for fat content -- especially saturated fat -- sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.

The CSPI ranked the sweet potato tops in nutrition of all vegetables.

With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable -- a potato, baked -- by more than 100 points, foodreference.com reported.

The sweet potato scored high for dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium.

Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating. The sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so people feel satisfied longer. The lower the glycemic index in a food, the less it will cause weight gain.

The vegetables ranking included:

-- Spinach 76.

-- Kale 55.

-- Mixed vegetables 52.

-- Broccoli 52.

-- Winter squash, baked 44.

-- Brussels sprouts 37.

-- Cabbage, raw 34.

-- Green Peas 33.

-- Carrot 30.

-- Okra 30.

-- Corn on the Cob 27.

-- Tomato 27.

-- Green Pepper 26.

-- Cauliflower 25.

-- Artichoke 24.

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