Watercress tops the list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables, according to a study by William Paterson University. The high nutrient packed powerhouse vegetable is followed by Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce, parsley, romaine lettuce and collard greens.
The study, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal “Preventing Chronic Disease,”; highlights 41 “Powerhouse fruits and vegetables” ranked by the amounts of 17 critical nutrients they contain.
Topping the list is the superfood watercress. The vegetable packs in a wide variety of important nutrients, resulting in a score of 100 on the researchers’ tests. Rounding out the top five were Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens and spinach.
Fruits tended to score rather low on the tests. In fact, the highest rated fruit – red pepper – only scored 41.26. Notably absent from the list were a number of berries including raspberries, blueberries and cranberries.
Researchers say that berries, while rich in non-essential nutrients, lacked the recommended intake of certain compounds.
The scores were based on a fruit or vegetable’s content of fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and other nutrients scientist consider important to one’s health.
To create the list, researchers used each fruit or vegetable’s density score based on the percentage of daily need for each nutrient the food provides.
Researchers hope the list helps consumers make nutrient-dense food selections.
The top 10 in the study were:
2. Chinese cabbage
3. chard greens
4. beet greens
7. leaf lettuce
9. romaine lettuce
10. collard greens