Watercress and other leafy greens top proposed US ranking of "powerhouse" foods

A US study has put watercress top among "powerhouse fruits and vegetables", which were ranked on levels of 17 key nutrients they provide.

Image: Wendell Smith
Image: Wendell Smith

In all, 47 candidate "powerhouse" foods were ranked, with 41 meeting the criterion. Those which were rejected were raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, tangerines, garlic and onion.

"Items in cruciferous (watercress, Chinese cabbage, collard green [spring greens], kale, arugula [rocket]) and green leafy (chard, beet green, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce) groups were concentrated in the top half of the distribution of scores, whereas items belonging to yellow/orange (carrot, tomato, winter squash, sweet potato), allium (scallion [spring onion], leek), citrus (lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit), and berry (strawberry, blackberry) groups were concentrated in the bottom half," the study concluded.

Its author, Dr Jennifer Di Noia, proposed that the "powerhouse" rankings "can serve as a platform for educating people on the concept of nutrient density".

The study is published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease. 

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