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Kale has been kicked off the top spot

Lovers of kale cite wide ranging health benefits from fighting cancer to reducing the risk of heart disease.

However, despite its popularity in recent years, kale does not even make the top 10 fruits and vegetables for health, according to one study.

The study

Researchers from William Paterson University in New Jersey, USA looked at the nutrient density of more than 40 fruits and vegetables for health.

These foods were chosen because, on average, they provide 10 per cent or more of the daily recommended intake of 17 critical nutrients per 100 Calories.

These nutrients are considered important for reducing the risk of chronic diseases (including anxiety). They are potassium, fibre, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc plus the vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K.

Of the foods studied, 41 satisfied the criteria to be named “powerhouse”. 

And the (unlikely) winner is… watercress!

vegetables_for_health

“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 have not 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.

The full list of the 41 powerhouse fruit and vegetables for health

To download this list, along with the nutrient density scores, click here.

RankingFruit or vegetable
1Watercress
2Chinese cabbage (bok choy)
3Silverbeet (chard)
4Beetroot greens
5Spinach
6Chicory (curly endive)
7Leaf lettuce
8Parsely
9Romaine lettuce
10Collard greens
11Turnip greens
12Mustard greens
13Endive
14Chives
15Kale
16Dandelion greens
17Red capsicum (pepper)
18Rocket (arugula)
19Broccoli
20Pumpkin
21Brussel sprout
22Spring onion (scallion)
23Kohlrabi
24Cauliflower
25Cabbage
26Carrot
27Tomato
28Lemon
29Iceberg lettuce
30Strawberry
31Radish
32Winter squash (all varieties)
33Orange
34Lime
35Grapefruit (pink and red)
36Swede
37Turnip
38Blackberry
39Leek
40Sweet potato
41Grapefruit (white)

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