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Fruits and vegetables with the most nutrients per calorie

Kristen Fischer is a writer living at the Jersey Shore. In addition to writing for SheKnows, she has penned articles for Prevention, Health, Woman's Day, BELLA, and New Jersey Monthly. Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, friend...

Powerhouse produce

Which fruits and veggies are the most nutrient dense? A researcher ranked them.

A new study out of William Paterson University ranked "powerhouse" produce. Foods that had more than 10 percent of the daily recommended intake of 17 different nutrients made the list. Produce that contains high amounts of one single nutrient did not top the list; they had to be comprehensive fruits and vegetables that have the maximum amount of nutrients in each calorie. The researchers ranked the produce according to the content of nutrients such as fiber, protein, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, thiamin, folate, niacin, as well as vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K, among others.

The usual contenders such as spinach and chard ranked pretty high. But berries weren't on the list… what gives?

They are packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants, but there is not consistent data regarding food phytochemicals. Recommended intake amounts for those compounds are missing, said Jennifer Di Noia, Ph.D., who led the study.

Watercress is at the top position with a score of 100. Chinese cabbage is at the second position with a score of 91.99, followed by chard with a score of 89.27, beet green (87.08) and spinach (86.43).

Top powerhouse fruits and vegetables

Here's the whole list, ranked by score:

  1. Watercress 100.00
  2. Chinese cabbage 91.99
  3. Chard 89.27
  4. Beet green 87.08
  5. Spinach 86.43
  6. Chicory 73.36
  7. Leaf lettuce 70.73
  8. Parsley 65.59
  9. Romaine lettuce 63.48
  10. Collard green 62.49
  11. Turnip green 62.12
  12. Mustard green 61.39
  13. Endive 60.44
  14. Chive 54.80
  15. Kale 49.07
  16. Dandelion green 46.34
  17. Red pepper 41.26
  18. Arugula 37.65
  19. Broccoli 34.89
  20. Pumpkin 33.82
  21. Brussels sprout 32.23
  22. Scallion 27.35
  23. Kohlrabi 25.92
  24. Cauliflower 25.13
  25. Cabbage 24.51
  26. Carrot 22.60
  27. Tomato 20.37
  28. Lemon 18.72
  29. Iceberg lettuce 18.28
  30. Strawberry 17.59
  31. Radish 16.91
  32. Winter squash (all varieties) 13.89
  33. Orange 12.91
  34. Lime 12.23
  35. Grapefruit (pink and red) 11.64
  36. Rutabaga 11.58
  37. Turnip 11.43
  38. Blackberry 11.39
  39. Leek 10.69
  40. Sweet potato 10.51
  41. Grapefruit (white) 10.47

How many of these do you see on your plate regularly?

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