Live Better
 
 

Top nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables

A new study ranks the top “powerhouse” fruits and veggies, according to their nutrient density score

Next time you’re making a leafy green salad, throw some watercress into the mix – a new scientific report puts the peppery-tasting green at the top of a list of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.

To compile the list, which was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers from William Paterson University looked at the nutrient density of 41 “powerhouse” vegetables and fruits. These foods were chosen because they provide 10 per cent or more of the daily recommended intake across 17 critical nutrients, including potassium, fibre, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.

The nutrient density winners

Watercress was the winner with a nutrient density score of 100, followed by close relatives including Chinese cabbage, collard and mustard greens. The top fruits? Red pepper, followed by pumpkin, tomato and lemon.

“The scores can serve as a platform for educating people on the concept of nutrient density,” said study author Jennifer Di Noia. “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.”

However, some other nutrient-dense foods such as berries and garlic may not have made the list because of the particular nutrient profiling that the study was based on, though in other nutrient density rankings they would rate highly, as Professor Di Noia acknowledged.

Top powerhouse fruit and vegetables, according to nutrient density 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

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

Get triple Flybuys points on fresh fruit and vegetables and frozen vegetables bought at Coles when you link your Medibank and Flybuys memberships. Find out more at flybuys.medibank.com.au

 

Latest Articles

Food

Antipasto barbecue chicken recipe

A deliciously easy mix, with juicy veggies, olives and feta.

Read more
Food

Protein ice cream recipe

An easy, refreshing sweet treat.

Read more
Food

Mushroom Chinese stir-fry recipe

Deliciously flavoursome with a kick of spice.

Read more
Food

Should you try these gut health trends?

Nutritionist Reece Carter explores colonics and more.

Read more
Food

Thai curry pumpkin and coconut soup recipe

A rich and creamy pumpkin soup from Smith & Deli.

Read more
Healthy Kids

Design a spice garden

Create your own spice garden for endless flavours.

Read more
Food

10 tips for healthy festive eating

Have your mince pie and eat it too. Dietitian Simone Austin shares a few tips.

Read more
Healthy Kids

Fried rice lettuce cups

Crunchy, fresh and delicious — the kids will love these.

Read more
youtubeui-checkbox-tickui-checkbox-emptyui-checkbox-crosstwitterui-checkbox-tickWellbeing and mindfulness 1Physical Health 1Positive psychology 101 1Wellbeing and mindfulness 4All about gut health 1Understanding Genetics 4Planning for Pregnancy 2During Pregnancy 3The mind-gut connection 4The mind-gut connection 1New Parents 3Page 1Group 10During Pregnancy 2Page 1Physical Health 2Planning for Pregnancy 1Positive psychology 101 1Positive psychology 101 4Planning for Pregnancy 4Understanding Genetics 1Physical Health 4Planning for Pregnancy 3Nutrition 4New Parents 1New Parents 3 CopyMovement for your mind 4Wellbeing and mindfulness 2Nutrition 2sob-icon__mind-bodysob-icon__man-with-laptopAll about gut health 2Positive psychology 101 3Positive psychology 101 2Physical Health 3Wellbeing and mindfulness 3All about gut health 3genetics-changing-what-your-givenUnderstanding Genetics 2During Pregnancy 1Movement for your mind 2Movement for your mind 1Movement for your mind 3During Pregnancy 4