Researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey have produced a new list of 41 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” and watercress tops the list, containing 100% of 17 critical nutrients.
Published on Thursday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal "Preventing Chronic Disease," the list, created by researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey, grades fruits and veggies based on the amounts of 17 essential nutrients they contain—including protein, fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin A.
Watercress comes out on top with a score of 100. The next four elite veggies are: cabbage (91.99), chard (89.27), beet greens (87.08), and spinach (86.43).
Lenny Bernstein of The Washington Post writes:
To make the study’s “powerhouse” list, the researchers calculated each fruit or vegetable’s “nutrient density” score based on the percentage of your daily need for each nutrient the food provides. (The study assumed a 2,000 calorie per day diet and 100 grams of each food.) The scores were capped to ensure that a fruit or vegetable that provides a huge amount of just a single nutrient wouldn’t receive a disproportionately high overall score.
Keen health-conscious consumers might notice that the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) also gives full marks to watercress, along with kale, swiss chard, and collard greens. What makes this new list different? How it keeps score. ANDI calculates the amount of micronutrients per calorie, while this new system grades fruits and veggies based on the total percentage of nutrients they contain.
Whatever way you crunch the numbers, the message is clear: watercress deserves a top spot on your own list whenever you’re picking up fresh produce.
To sneak this reigning nutrient-dense veggie into your diet, try these tasty recipes: