In a study of 10 common vegetables, broccoli was found to have the most phenols—which give vegetables their color and sometimes act as antioxidants. Runners-up, in order, were spinach, yellow onion, red pepper, carrot, cabbage, potato, lettuce, celery.
Does organic matter? Plants make phenolics as defense (and coloring) mechanisms…organic produce has more insects chomping on it, and so, has higher phenolics. So, organics have more protective chemicals–recently proven in in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
And the highest total antioxidant activity? Red pepper, followed by broccoli, carrot, spinach, cabbage, yellow onion, celery, potato, lettuce, and cucumber.
And the vegetables with the most anti-cancer activity, in a test tube? Spinach! followed by cabbage, red pepper, onion, and broccoli.
So, Mom and Pop-Eye were right. Enjoy green, red, yellow and orange vegetables…let the white ones go to the rabbits.