U.S. Scientists Name Watercress as Veggie with Highest Nutritional Value

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By Vittorio Hernandez | June 12, 2014 10:14 AM EST

A vendor sorts tomatoes as he sells vegetables by the river Buriganga in Dhaka May 18, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)
A vendor sorts tomatoes as he sells vegetables by the river Buriganga in Dhaka May 18, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)

The watercress topped the list of powerhouse fruits and veggies in a new study by U.S. researchers that ranked the fresh produce based on their nutritional value.

To qualify as a powerhouse food, the fruits and veggies must have more than 10 per cent of the recommended daily intake of 17 different nutrients such as potassium, fibre, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K, reports Business Insider.

Those nutrients are considered essential because of the vital role they perform in the prevention of chronic ailments.

Dr Jennifer Di Noia, author of the study published in the Preventing Chronic Disease journal, said the scientists did not give high scores to a fruit or veggie based on the large amount of only one nutrient. It is the first time that fresh produce were ranked based solely on their nutritional value, said Noia who is from William Paterson University.

The ranking may surprise many people who would expect veggies such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale that are being pushed for their nutritional value for not topping the list. Berries also were not on top of the list despite it being touted by nutritionists as the healthiest fruit.

Here is the list and the respective scores.

1.     Watercress (Score: 100.00)

2.     Chinese cabbage (Score: 91.99)

3.     Chard (Score: 89.27)

4.     Beet green (Score: 87.08)

5.     Spinach (Score: 86.43)

6.     Chicory (Score: 73.36)

7.     Leaf lettuce (Score: 70.73)

8.     Parsley (Score: 65.59)

9.     Romaine lettuce (Score: 63.48)

10.   Collard green (Score: 62.49)

11.   Turnip green (Score: 62.12)

12.   Mustard green (Score: 61.39)

13.   Endive (Score: 60.44)

14.   Chive (Score: 54.80)

15.   Kale (Score: 49.07)

16.   Dandelion green (Score: 46.34)

17.   Red pepper (Score: 41.26)

18.   Arugula (Score: 37.65)

19.   Broccoli (Score: 34.89)

20.   Pumpkin (Score: 33.82)

21.   Brussels sprout (Score: 32.23)

22.   Scallion (Score: 27.35)

23.   Kohlrabi (Score: 25.92)

24.   Cauliflower (Score: 25.13)

25.   Cabbage (Score: 24.51)

26.   Carrot (Score: 22.60)

27.   Tomato (Score: 20.37)

28.    Lemon (Score: 18.72)

29.    Iceberg lettuce (Score: 18.28)

30.    Strawberry (Score: 17.59)

31.    Radish (Score: 16.91)

32.    Winter squash (Score: 13.89)

33.    Orange (Score: 12.91)

34.    Lime (Score: 12.23)

35.    Grapefruit (pink/red) (Score: 11.64)

36.     Rutabaga (Score: 11.58)

37.    Turnip (Score: 11.43)

38.    Blackberry (Score: 11.39)

39.    Leek (Score: 10.69)

40.    Sweet potato (Score: 10.51)

41.    Grapefruit (white) (Score: 10.47)

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A vendor sorts tomatoes as he sells vegetables by the river Buriganga in Dhaka May 18, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: BUSINESS SOCIETY)
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