The Humble Watercress Steps Into the Limelight with a 100 Nutrient Density Score

That’s out of 100, folks—and it’s not kale.

“To a large extent, the best vegetables for you are those that appeal to your palate and agree with you. I highly recommend listening to your body, in that the foods you eat, including vegetables, should leave you feeling satisfied and energized,” say Dr. Joseph Mercola.

We agree with this statement—but we were fascinated to find out that when a researcher from William Paterson University analyzed the levels of 17 nutrients in food, a surprise veggie topped the list. The study calculated how many of these nutrients: Potassium, Fiber, Protein, Calcium, Iron, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K, were included per calorie of energy based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. The higher the value, the more nutrient dense the food is.

Behold:

Item 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

Watercress! Martha Stewart says: “Watercress is a small, crisp member of the mustard family that’s slightly bitter with a hint of pepper.” Click here for 31 recipes from Martha that include watercress (think lots of salads).

For more on this study, including tons of vegetable tips, click here.

ImageSome rights reserved by The hills are alive*

Category: Body

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