41 Most Nutritious Fruits and Vegetables on Earth

Generally speaking, we have always been told –  in our textbooks, by our parents, teachers and doctors that green vegetables are the healthiest of all. True. But there must be 100’s if not thousands of fruits and vegetables at our disposal. But we can’t really eat them all, and never mind how difficult it is to feed your children anything that looks “green”. Therefore here is a list of 41 Most Nutritious Fruits and Vegetables on Earth.

But my question is have you ever wondered, which are the fruits and vegetables that pack the most nutritious punch!  You must be wondering, why 41 and not 50 or 100. Well, that’s the number Dr. J Noia’s research at the William Paterson University has come up with!

Well, Dr. Jennifer Noia, professor of sociology at the William Paterson University, conducted a study of Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables (PFV’s as she calls it) and reported her results to the CDC.

Dr. Noia collected and studied a list of 47 PFV’s consisting of green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus, and cruciferous items based on scientific literature.

She then finalized 17 nutrients as criteria for analysis. These 17 nutrients are  considered to be essential for good health and important towards lowering risk of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer etc.

These essential nutrients, used for analysis of the 47 PFV’s are listed as follows:

PotassiumFiberProtein
CalciumIronThiamin
RiboflavinNiacinFolate
ZincVitamin AVitamin B6
Vitamin B12Vitamin CVitamin D
Vitamin EVitamin K

The study calculated how many of the above nutrients (per calorie of energy) were included in 47 fruits and vegetables (based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet).

The higher the value, the more nutrient dense the food was determined to be. Of the 47 foods studied, 41 foods satisfied the powerhouse criterion. Vegetables & Fruits were awarded “powerhouse” status by providing, on average at least 10 per cent or more of the daily recommended intake across  the 17 nutrients as listed in the table above.

Watercress, that topped the list, contains 312 per cent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, which is important for building bones and blood clotting.

The study author Jennifer Di Noia said:

“The scores can serve as a platform for educating people on the concept of nutrient density,”

She further stated that:

“The rankings provide clarity on the nutrient quality of the different foods and may aid in the selection of more nutrient-dense items within the powerhouse group.”

Professor Di Noia acknowledged, however, some other nutrient-dense foods, like berries and garlic, “may have been overlooked”. This is because of the particular nutrient profiling that the study was based on,

Here is the list of winners with rankings!

ItemNutrient Density Score
Watercress100.00
Chinese cabbage91.99
Chard89.27
Beet green87.08
Spinach86.43
Chicory73.36
Leaf lettuce70.73
Parsley65.59
Romaine lettuce63.48
Collard green62.49
Turnip green62.12
Mustard green61.39
Endive60.44
Chive54.80
Kale49.07
Dandelion green46.34
Red pepper41.26
Arugula37.65
Broccoli34.89
Pumpkin33.82
Brussels sprout32.23
Scallion27.35
Kohlrabi25.92
Cauliflower25.13
Cabbage24.51
Carrot22.60
Tomato20.37
Lemon18.72
Iceberg lettuce18.28
Strawberry17.59
Radish16.91
Winter squash (all varieties)13.89
Orange12.91
Lime12.23
Grapefruit (pink and red)11.64
Rutabaga11.58
Turnip11.43
Blackberry11.39
Leek10.69
Sweet potato10.51
Grapefruit (white)10.47

References:

Anupama Singh

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