Eat Your Greens

Looking to boost your diet with the most nutritious foods? 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, associate professor of sociology.

Di Noia, who has a public health background, looked at which foods provide 10 percent or more of 17 critical nutrients –including fiber, potassium, protein, calcium folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and vitamin D–per 100 calorie serving. Her research, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Preventing Chronic Disease, marked the first time 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? Red pepper, pumpkin, tomato, and lemon.

“Higher-ranking foods provide more nutrients per calories,” says Di Noia, whose research gained extensive national visibility in the media. “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.”

To see more about DiNoia’s research, visit bit.ly/jenniferdinoia

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