Watercress reaches top of powerhouse vegetables

Lana Bandoim's picture

Researchers have discovered that watercress is one of the top powerhouse vegetables and have created a list of some of the best veggies to include in a diet. The study reveals how individual vegetables and fruits rank compared to each other, and some of the results are surprising. Although most people expected spinach to be closer to the top of the list, they did not know that blackberries would be closer to the bottom.

Ranking powerhouse vegetables and fruits

Scientists used nutrient density scores to rank the powerhouse vegetables and fruits to make an easy list for people to understand. The scores were based on 17 common nutrients such as calcium and iron, and they were calculated based on the percent daily values, so limitations existed. Watercress received a score of 100 while chard was not far behind with 89.27. Unfortunately, blackberries only received 11.39 while white grapefruit was at the bottom of the list with 10.47.


Researchers are encouraging people to eat more of the powerhouse fruits and vegetables because they provide more nutrients, but variety is still important in a diet. Despite receiving lower scores, no one is recommending that people stop eating turnips or oranges.

Chronic disease and a healthy diet

The link between chronic disease and a healthy diet continues to be studied in depth by scientists around the globe. Leafy vegetables dominate the top of the powerhouse list and provide multiple nutritional benefits. However, researchers caution that eating fresh veggies is the key, and you may lose some of the benefits by cooking them. Researchers hope the list helps people make better decisions about the vegetables and fruits they add to their diet as they focus more on nutrient-dense foods, and they believe the rankings will make things easier to understand.

Di Noia J. Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:130390. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130390.

Image: Evelyn Simak/Wikimedia Commons


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