|photo by Masparasol|
Watercress? Who knew?
The buzzword in healthy eating over the last few years has been “superfoods.” But what exactly is a “superfood”? Actually, it’s a marketing concept. However, there are some foods that are really, really good for us. Research has shown that certain foods over time are associated with a reduction in cancer and other diseases. We know there are foods we should eat and foods we should stay away from or eat sparingly. But fads come and go. So how do you choose?
Researchers at William Paterson University have come up with a list of “41 powrhouse fruits and vegetables” which are ranked by the amount of 17 critical nutrients contained in them. Foods were scored by their fiber content as well as various vitamins and minerals deemed vital to public health. The study was recently published in a CDC journal article. Topping the list was watercress, followed by Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, spinach, and hickory.
Fruits ranked a lot lower than vegetables. The highest-ranking fruits were red peppers (yes, peppers are really a fruit,) pumpkins, tomatoes, and lemons. Even more surprising, blueberries, which we’ve been told for years are really, really good for us, didn’t even make the list. Neither did cranberries and raspberries. This is because although these berries are rich in phytochemicals, which are non-essential nutrients that have protective or disease prevention properties, there’s no uniform data on food phytochemicals or recommended consumption levels. The scores in the study are based solely on nutrients.
If you’d like to see the complete list, you can find it here.