Many Americans are confused about the food values of fruits and vegetables. While most health sites make the argument that Americans should eat more fruits and vegetables, those same fruits and vegetables don’t pack the same value across the board. For instance, a carrot does not provide the same benefits as celery. So, if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck nutrition-wise, which vegetables offer the most benefit? That’s a question a group of researchers tried to answer by looking to make a list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV). Foods within this list are more strongly linked with reducing the risk of chronic disease and are most likely identified by being leafy green, yellow/orange, citrus, or cruciferous items but previous efforts to define PFVs were lacking. For the first time, research conducted at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. tries to rectify that error. Based on a study of 47 foods, 41 of those foods satisfied the nutrient-dense requirements on the basis of 17 nutrients of public health importance. Those nutrients included potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K. Vegetables were then categorized into five subgroups: dark-green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy, and other vegetables. The heaviest hitters were watercress, Chinese cabbage and chard. Those in the highest ranking provide more nutrients per calories. Raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry did not meet the PFV criterion. The researcher hopes that by creating the list consumers will choose nutrient dense items within the powerhouse group to maximize the nutrient quality of their foods.
The table is included below.
Original article at seniorjournal.com.