This aquatic, perennial plant with a peppery flavor grows naturally along the edges of spring-fed streams. Watercress tops the list as the most nutrient-dense of all powerhouse fruits or vegetables according to researchers at William Paterson University in NJ. The foods were ranked by the amount of 17 critical nutrients each contained. Watercress ranks number one with a score of 100. It is rich in vitamins C, A, B, and K. It contains more calcium than milk, and more iron than spinach. It also contains magnesium, potassium and phytonutrients.
This delicious, creamy fruit is a super source of healthy, monounsaturated fats that help your body burn fat and maintain a healthy weight. It has the highest protein content of any fruit. It contains more potassium than bananas, and in a balanced ratio with sodium, making it heart healthy. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which helps reduce the risk of heart disease. Avocadoes also help reduce the risk of diabetes as it helps stabilize blood sugar levels and reverses insulin resistance. It also contains beneficial vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K.
3. Wild Alaskan Salmon, Arctic Char, Norway Sardines
These wild caught fish are loaded with heart-healthy Omega-3 fats. It is antioxidant rich and an excellent source of protein. Fish also contain vitamins A and D, selenium, magnesium and phosphorous. Consuming quality, toxic-free sources of these fish also reduce the risks of various cancers, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and diabetes.
4. Blackberries and Blueberries
Both berries are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, which lower risks of cancer, heart disease and stroke. Blackberries are lower in carbs and sugar than blueberries. Blackberries contain nearly double the amount of fiber than blueberries. Both berries are low glycemic foods and not prone to spike blood-sugar levels. Blackberries have a higher content of vitamins C and A than blueberries.
Organic eggs from free-range or pastured chickens, (receiving natural sunlight daily and raised outdoors on pasture), contain more nutrition than caged hens kept indoors, according to a study done by Mother Earth News. Eggs are a great source of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B-complex, D, and some vitamin E, as well as folate, iodine, phosphorous, zinc, and iron.
6. Pumpkin and Sweet Potato
These highly nutritious, powerhouse foods contain potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron, and are low in sodium. Sweet potatoes contain more vitamins A and C, fiber, magnesium, and protein than pumpkin. Pumpkin contains less sugar and fewer carbs. While the sweet potato won a health food face-off against pumpkins by prevention.com, the William Patterson study ranked pumpkin at 33.82 above sweet potatoes score of 10.51 on the top list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables.
Tomatoes and tomato products contain the highest amount of lycopene than any other food source. When eating tomatoes, opt for cooked sauce over raw tomatoes to receive the most lycopene. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. It also contains Vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, magnesium, calcium and iron.
8. Citrus Fruits
Oranges, Limes, Lemons and Grapefruit are excellent sources of vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate and potassium. Grapefruit is also high in vitamin A and known to suppress the appetite. Red and pink grapefruit contain the phytonutrient, lycopene. Citrus fruits contain important antioxidants and phytonutrients with numerous health benefits. All four were included in the William Patterson list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables.
9. Red peppers
Peppers are loaded with antioxidants and contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits. Red bell peppers contain more nutrients than green, yellow or orange bell peppers, because they remain on the vine the longest. According to webmd.com, red bell peppers contain almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C than green bell peppers. Peppers are also a great source of vitamin A, B6, lycopene, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and fiber. This nutrient-dense food ranked 41.26 on the William Paterson list of the top powerhouse foods.
The king of nuts, almonds are rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and selenium. Almonds are also great sources of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, protein, calcium, iron, fiber and monounsaturated fats which help you to feel full longer to avoid overeating and unwanted weight gain. Regular consumption of healthy nuts has been shown to reduce the incidence of diabetes over those who rarely eat nuts.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living and the author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac and Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Check out Lowell and Deborah's super sturdy and handsome DIY Gardening Potting Bench Plans.