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
Chinese cabbage 91.99
Beet green 87.08
Leaf lettuce 70.73
Romaine lettuce 63.48
Collard green 62.49
Turnip green 62.12
Mustard green 61.39
Dandelion green 46.34
Red pepper 41.26
Brussels sprout 32.23
Iceberg lettuce 18.28
Winter squash (all varieties) 13.89
Grapefruit (pink and red) 11.64
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.