Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables

April 11, 2017





We all know, or at least have heard, that eating more fruits and vegetables is beneficial to our health, and these nutrients can prevent and even treat multiple ailments.


What fruits and vegetables do I have to eat to get the most benefit?


I am sure this question has crossed your mind on several occasions.  With so many options available, which foods should we choose as our priority?  Of course the ones that taste the best, but are they as good as you think?


Scientists have come up with a Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables index (PFV ) to find those most strongly linked with the reduction of chronic disease risk.


Based on various scientific literature they listed 41 foods with the highest content of the 17 nutrients, that are important in disease prevention and good health:

potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.


The list is:


FOOD                                    NUTRIENT DENSITY SCORE

Watercress                                                   100.00

Chinese cabbage                                            91.99

Chard                                                               89.27

Beet green                                                      87.08

Spinach                                                           86.43

Chicory                                                            73.36

Leaf lettuce                                                     70.73

Parsley                                                            65.59

Romaine lettuce                                             63.48

Collard green                                                  62.49

Turnip green                                                   62.12

Mustard green                                                61.39

Endive                                                              60.44

Chive                                                                54.80

Kale                                                                  49.07

Dandelion green                                             46.34

Red pepper                                                      41.26

Arugula                                                            37.65

Broccoli                                                           34.89

Pumpkin                                                          33.82

Brussels sprout                                              32.23

Scallion                                                            27.35

Kohlrabi                                                           25.92

Cauliflower                                                      25.13

Cabbage                                                           24.51

Carrot                                                               22.60

Tomato                                                             20.37

Lemon                                                              18.72

Iceberg lettuce                                                18.28

Strawberry                                                      17.59

Radish                                                              16.91

Winter squash (all varieties)                         13.89

Orange                                                             12.91

Lime                                                                 12.23

Grapefruit (pink and red)                               11.64

Rutabaga                                                         11.58

Turnip                                                              11.43

Blackberry                                                       11.39

Leek                                                                 10.69

Sweet potato                                                   10.51

Grapefruit (white)                                           10.47


Calculated as the mean percent of daily values (DVs), based on a 2,000 kcal daily diet, for 17 nutrients (potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K) as provided by 100 g of food, expressed per 100 kcal of food. Scores above 100 were capped at 100 (indicating that the food provides, on average, 100% DV of the qualifying nutrients per 100 kcal.


If you do not see your favorite food on the list, don't get disappointed, as the scores do not reflect all of the ingredients that may confer health benefits, like phytochemicals and flavonoids that play a protective role as well.


So I recommend that you listen to your body!  The foods that you eat, including fruits and vegetables, should be appetizing and leave you feeling satisfied and energized.


You have to enjoy your food! 


And of course try to choose organic, locally grown vegetables as much as possible, to avoid pesticides and guarantee freshness.


For more information on healthy lifestyle and diet, please schedule an appointment with

Dr. Koganski at 215-750-7000, or www.newtowninternalmedicine.com



Di Noia J. Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:130390.


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