Eat more watercress! It tops the list of healthiest vegetables and fruits in a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Scientists believe eating “powerhouse” produce has the potential to reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFVs) are loosely defined as “green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus, and cruciferous items,” but until recently, a defined method for identifying a specific produce item as “powerhouse” didn’t exist. Dr. Jennifer Di Noia did some research to address this gap, defining a formula to calculate a vegetable’s or fruit’s nutritional strength and using that number to create a list of 41 PFVs in order of their healthful benefits.
The Top 10 Healthiest Vegetables
- Chinese Cabbage
- Beet Greens
- Leaf Lettuce
- Romain Lettuce
- Collard Greens
The good news? All of the foods that made the list are considered “powerhouse” — the healthiest vegetables and fruits you can eat. So take a look at the entire list from the published research and see where your favorites fall.
Table 2. Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables (N = 41), by Ranking of Nutrient Density Scores*, 2014
|Item||Nutrient Density Score|
|Winter squash (all varieties)||13.89|
|Grapefruit (pink and red)||11.64|
*Calculated as the mean of percent daily values (DVs) (based on a 2,000 kcal/d diet) for 17 nutrients (potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K) as provided by 100 g of food, expressed per 100 kcal of food. Scores above 100 were capped at 100 (indicating that the food provides, on average, 100% DV of the qualifying nutrients per 100 kcal).
Image Credit: Watercress via Shutterstock