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A study published by the Centers for Disease Control conducted laboratory tests on the nutritional density of 47 commonly eaten fruits and vegetables, concluding that 41 meet the criteria to be considered Power House Vegetables (PHV).
Fruit and Vegetable Ranking
- Cruciferous Greens: Greens in the cruciferous family of plants such as kale, watercress, Chinese cabbage, collard green, arugula possess the highest density of all vegetables in the average diet.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Non-cruciferous greens, such as chard, beet green, spinach, chicory, and leaf lettuce rank slightly below cruciferous greens. These two groups occupy the top 50% of nutrient density
- Yellow/Orange Vegetables: Vegetables such as carrot, tomato, winter squash, and sweet potato occupy the top of the lower 50% of nutrient density.
- Allium: Scallions and leaks.
- Citrus: Lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit.
- Berries: Strawberries and blackberries.
These groups fruits and vegetables all meet the minimum nutrient density to qualify as “Powerhouse Vegetables.” Regular consumption of these foods has been positively correlated with the prevention of Chronic diseases, as well as possessing anti-cancer qualities. Raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberries are the only vegetables that do not meet the minimum nutrient density of the study.
Top 10 Vegetables
- Chinese Cabbage
- Beach Greens
- Leaf Lettuce
- Romaine Lettuce
- Collard Greens
- It is important to note that nutrient density does not directly correlate to nutritional value. For instance, Kale, while not in the top ten for nutrient density, is rich in Vitamin K, a rare vitamin that aids in blood coagulation and healing. The allium group, while in the bottom 50% for nutrient density, have been positively correlated with cancer prevention (CDC). This list is not definitive and eating a variety of foods is the best course of action.
- The nutrient density study published by the Centers for Disease Control.
- Report on Kale from World’s Healthiest Foods.
- Large Scale Laboratory Tests: 47 Fruits and Vegetables were compared, scored on a scale of 1 to 100 for overall nutrient Density