William Paterson University Professor’s Research Defines List of “Powerhouse” Fruits and Vegetables

--Study is published in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Journal, “Preventing Chronic Disease”

Watercress, Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens and spinach top a list of 41 “powerhouse” fruits and vegetables, according to research conducted by Jennifer Di Noia, PhD, an associate professor of sociology at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.

Di Noia is the author of a study published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal “Preventing Chronic Disease” that reveals a list of “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” ranked by the amounts of 17 critical nutrients they contain, including fiber, potassium, protein, calcium folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and other nutrients. This is the first time that the nutritional values of nutrient-dense fruits have been ranked to provide a measurable tool for nutrition education and dietary guidance. The top four fruits are red pepper, pumpkin, tomato and lemon.

The study developed and validated a classification scheme defining “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” as foods providing, on average, ten percent or more daily value per 100 kcal of the 17 qualifying nutrients. “Higher-ranking foods provide more nutrients per calories,” says Di Noia. “The scores may help focus consumers on their daily energy needs, and how best to get the most nutrients from their foods. The rankings provide clarity on the nutrient quality of the different foods and may aid in the selection of more nutrient-dense items within the powerhouse group.”

Dr. Di Noia’s previous research focused on dietary assessment and intervention with minority and underserved adolescents. She has studied factors influencing food choice, examined approaches for assessing dietary intake and hypothesized determinants of intake, and developed and tested interventions to promote healthful dietary practices. She is a peer reviewer for several public health and nutrition journals and is also a peer reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and past chair of the NIH Risk Prevention and Health Behavior Across the Lifespan Special Emphasis Panel.

NOTE: Professor Di Noia’s study can be accessed at

A short video with Professor Di Noia is available at


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