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41 Super Foods - Ranked By How Healthy They Are

by Bob posted Jun 11 2014 5:40AM

We know that dark green vegetables and citrus fruits are good for us, but if we had to choose among them, which ones pack more of a nutritious punch?

Jennifer Di Noia, associate professor of sociology at William Paterson University, did the work for us and reported her results in the Centers for Disease Control’sPreventing Chronic Disease.We’re told to add powerhouse fruits and vegetables to our diet, but we don’t have much guidance on which ones are really potent and which are coasting by on their color alone. Nutritionists point us toward anything dark green and leafy, for example, but it turns out that they can vary by as much as 70 points on how many nutrients they contain.

Di Noia focused on 17 nutrients considered by the food experts at the United Nations and the Institute of Medicine to be important to good health and to lowering risk of heart disease and cancer: potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.

She then combed the scientific literature to calculate how many nutrients they contained per calorie of energy they provided (based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet); the higher the value, the more of a powerhouse food it was. “It gives people a way of thinking how to maximize the nutrients per calorie,” she says.

She admits that the list doesn’t include all the phytochemicals, or compounds that could add to a food’s nutritional profile but, she says, “now that we have a list of foods it can help consumers know what are the powerhouse fruits and vegetables, and maybe choose the more nutrient-dense foods over less nutrient dense ones.”

Here’s the list. And since this list is all fruits and veggies, it stands to remind you that you can’t really go wrong with anything listed here. That said: Who knew watercress was such a power-veggie?

Item Nutrient Density Score
Watercress 100.00
Chinese cabbage 91.99
Chard 89.27
Beet green 87.08
Spinach 86.43
Chicory 73.36
Leaf lettuce 70.73
Parsley 65.59
Romaine lettuce 63.48
Collard green 62.49
Turnip green 62.12
Mustard green 61.39
Endive 60.44
Chive 54.80
Kale 49.07
Dandelion green 46.34
Red pepper 41.26
Arugula 37.65
Broccoli 34.89
Pumpkin 33.82
Brussels sprout 32.23
Scallion 27.35
Kohlrabi 25.92
Cauliflower 25.13
Cabbage 24.51
Carrot 22.60
Tomato 20.37
Lemon 18.72
Iceberg lettuce 18.28
Strawberry 17.59
Radish 16.91
Winter squash (all varieties) 13.89
Orange 12.91
Lime 12.23
Grapefruit (pink and red) 11.64
Rutabaga 11.58
Turnip 11.43
Blackberry 11.39
Leek 10.69
Sweet potato 10.51
Grapefruit (white) 10.47
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Location : Brussels
People : Jennifer Di Noia
06/11/2014 5:38AM
41 Super Foods - Ranked By How Healthy They Are
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