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41 Fruits and Veggies Earn ‘Powerhouse’ Label from Experts

41 Fruits and Veggies Earn ‘Powerhouse’ Label from Experts

We’re constantly bombarded by headlines hawking this fruit or that vegetable as being a “powerhouse,” but what does that moniker really mean? Are all plant foods created equal? What’s really healthier, an apple or a banana?

Answering these question is a tricky endeavor—much depends on a given individual’s dietary and health needs. For a person plagued with low potassium, adding a banana a day might do the trick, but for those in need of iron and vitamin C, kale may actually be a better option.

In an effort to cut down on the confusion, Jennifer Di Noia, associate professor of sociology at William Patterson University took data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and used it to determine the overall nutritional content of 47 different fruits and vegetables.

Given that cooking can adulterate the nutrient content of certain foods, Di Noia analyzed each fruit or vegetable in its raw form, measuring the levels of 17 key nutrients identified by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Institute of Medicine as being highly-important for health maintenance: protein, calcium, fiber, thiamin, potassium, niacin, zinc, riboflavin, folate, iron and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.

Her analysis yielded 41 “powerhouse” foods—defined as offering at least 10 percent of the daily recommended value of each nutrient in a 100 calorie serving (based on 2,000 calorie diet). Here’s the list of top fruits and vegetables, in order:

1. Watercress
2. Chinese cabbage
3. Chard
4. Beet green
5. Spinach
6. Chicory
7. Leaf lettuce
8. Parsley
9. Romaine lettuce
10. Collard green
11. Turnip green
12. Mustard green
13. Endive
14. Chive
15. Kale
16. Dandelion green
17. Red pepper
18. Arugula
19. Broccoli
20. Pumpkin
21. Brussels sprout
22. Scallion
23. Kohlrabi
24. Cauliflower
25. Cabbage
26. Carrot
27. Tomato
28. Lemon
29. Iceberg lettuce
30. Strawberry
31. Radish
32. Winter squash (all varieties)
33. Orange
34. Lime
35. Grapefruit (pink and red)
36. Rutabaga
37. Turnip
38. Blackberry
39. Leek
40. Sweet potato
41. Grapefruit (white)

The six foods that didn’t make the cut for the “powerhouse” list: garlic, tangerine, onion, blueberry, cranberry and raspberry. That’s not to say that these items are unhealthy, or that they don’t provide potential health benefits, they simply weren’t as nutritionally dense as the other 41 foods.

Di Noia emphasizes that her analysis is not the final word on what fruits and vegetables are the healthiest—there are other foods out there that could be considered “powerhouses” of other nutrients—but she says, “expressing the nutrient desirability of foods in terms of the energy they provide may help focus consumers on their daily energy needs and getting the most nutrient-dense items within the powerhouse group.”


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Read more: Basics, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, Vegetarian, , , , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor

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+ add your own
8:21PM PDT on Jun 4, 2015

Growing one's own veggies and fruits is one good way of having a good supply of one's favourites. A well-balanced diet is very healthy.

Agreed, Catrin N.

5:31AM PST on Feb 10, 2015


5:24AM PST on Feb 10, 2015

There were a few surprises for me in that list. Thanks.

3:50AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014


6:41AM PDT on Jun 28, 2014


8:34AM PDT on Jun 27, 2014


8:06AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014

Thak you

7:22PM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

With that I hope, May we improve our eating habits as a whole society ! :)

5:38PM PDT on Jun 19, 2014


4:18PM PDT on Jun 18, 2014

Thank you :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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