Everyone has their favorite fruits and vegetables and we're always excited to let everyone know what they are from time to time. But what ones are actually the best for you health-wise?
That question forms the basis for a recent study on the top "powerhouse" fruits and vegetables as selected by researchers at William Paterson University. And the list has some surprises, too.
The fruits and veggies that were granted powerhouse status in the study had to contain more than 10 percent of the daily recommended intake of 17 different nutrients -- potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K. And, as you might imagine, these are the nutrients that these foods contain that make doctors consistently recommend them, as they are considered necessary to prevent chronic disease.
The university's team selected 41 nutritionally dense fruits and veggies and then ranked them in order, eventually selecting what they are calling a Powerhouse Top Ten, a list that may upset some fruits and veggie aficionados.
Ready for the top five? Well, watercress, not exactly a household name in the veggie world, topped the list, with a perfect score of 100, followed by Chinese cabbage (91.99), chard (89.27), beet greens (87.08) and spinach (86.43).
Yes, you read that correctly. No broccoli, no carrots, no oranges. Are you sitting down? Apples didn't even make the list. Foods were ranked on nutrient levels only, not on their antioxidants or phytochemicals.
The study's lead author, Dr. Jennifer Di Noia, explained that the research marked the first time fruits and vegetables have been ranked by their nutritional value. It was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, a peer-reviewed electronic journal.
"Nutrient profiling is not new," Di Noia said. "But applications to fruits and vegetables are limited. This is the first classification scheme of which I am aware to define and rank powerhouse fruits and vegetables."
Di Noia added that the team of researchers ultimately hopes the list, "Will provide clarity on the nutrient quality of the different foods and help people choose more nutrient-dense items within the powerhouse group the study results state," an abstract of the report claims.
Rounding out the Top Ten Powerhouse Fruits & Veggies are chicory (73.36), leaf lettuce (70.73), parsley (65.59), romaine lettuce (63.48), and collard greens (62.49).
For a look at the complete list go here, but be prepared to be disappointed when you discover that some of your favorites preformed poorly.