Powerhouse fruits and veggies list: more nutrient dense for the calories

I thought only my Eating to Restore Balance group knew the truth about our Fourth Food Group—veggies—until now that is. So first of all, applaud yourself for entering the produce section and making some selections—based on the shopping carts I stand next to in the check-out line, you are already special.

But now there is a tool if you’re looking to know which are the highest ranked powerhouse fruits and vegetables, foods most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk, on a nutrient density scale. See, creatures of habit, we tend to head to the store and pick the same old familiar groceries without giving vitamins and minerals much thought.


We hear all about anti-oxidants in blueberries, or vitamin C in citrus, or potassium in bananas but seeking one nutrient we miss the diverse veggie forest our body really needs.

Now that’s changed. Would you like another way to pick what you’d love to eat?

Nutrient density: what genuine building blocks are you getting with those calories?

A nutrient density list, created by Dr. Jennifer Noia of William Patterson University, is based on a ranking system using scientific studies which identified leafy greens, yellow/orange vegetables, citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetable as the whole foods most commonly associated with reduced chronic disease. Berries and allium (onions, garlic, etc) veggie intake have also been linked to a reduced risk for cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease, and even some cancers. So, Dr. Noia began with the known benefits of these real foods, listing them on scale from 1 to 100, based on the percentage of 17 top recommended nutrients (like iron, vitamin C, fiber, zinc and folate) per 100 grams.

Dr. Noia rated 47 fruits and vegetables using a novel system that looked at both nutrient density and diversity. In other words, a food  exceptionally high in one nutrient but lacking in many others wouldn’t be classified as nutrient-dense. The result is an exhaustive list of high-nutrition foods worth focusing on, worth exploring with these vegetable recipes or these salad recipes.

On this lists of 47 foods, it’s not a surprise that the top 7 are actually leafy greens.

Download your FREE copy <CLICK>

Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach

Di Noia J. Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:130390

Table 2. Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables (N = 41), by Ranking of Nutrient Density Scoresa, 2014

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

a Calculated as the mean of percent daily values (DVs) (based on a 2,000 kcal/d diet) for 17 nutrients (potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K) as provided by 100 g of food, expressed per 100 kcal of food. Scores above 100 were capped at 100 (indicating that the food provides, on average, 100% DV of the qualifying nutrients per 100 kcal).

About msternquist

Most people want to take care of their health, but few of us know where to start.

These recipes and researched-based information are my gift to help you enjoy the health and quality of life you’ve always wanted.

I also offer one-on-one coaching and group talks. Want to know more? email me at [email protected] or head on over to www.SuccessHealthCoach.com where your first consultation is always FREE.

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