According to the conclusion of a study focused on nutrient profiling, watercress tops the “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” list.
The study, recently published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, defined “powerhouse” fruits and veggies as those which are “most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk”. 47 foods were studied. Of them, 41 satisfied the “powerhouse criteria”. The best foods were the ones that provide the most nutrients per 100 kcal. There were 17 nutrients that were sought: potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.
The most nutritious veggie was watercress. The leafy green plant, with the botanical name Nasturtium officinale, proved to have the highest “nutrient density”.
Here is the top 10, Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables (PFV)
2. Chinese cabbage
4. Beet green
7. Leaf lettuce
9. Romaine lettuce
10. Collard green
At the bottom of the chart – and this doesn’t mean they’re bad, because they also made it to the PFV top – are: white grapefruit, sweet potato, leek, blackberry, turnip and rutabaga.
The six fruits and veggies that didn’t make it to the Powerhouse list at all are: tangerines, garlic, onions, cranberries, raspberries and blueberries. This only means that they do not provide the minimum nutrient intake required by the “powerhouse” criteria, as the other 41 foods studied.
Watercress is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and vitamins A, C, D, B1, B2, B6, B9, E, K. It acts like a stimulant, an antioxidant, a diuretic and an expectorant. It is widely used for the prevention of lung cancer. Recently, studies have proven that watercress is of help in the inhibition process of stalling breast cancer.