The popularity of “superfoods” has exploded in America as health food stores and organic food markets have swooped up business from larger grocery chains.
Everyone’s looking for the next big thing in the world of superfoods, but is it possible that arguably the best (at least among leafy greens that is) has been right under our noses this whole time?
In 2014 the results of a study undertaken by researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey produced a list of the top 41 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables,” and yet almost a year afterward it still remains an afterthought in the holistic health community.
The Top Superfood Vegetable?
For the purposes of the study, researcher ranked fruits and vegetables based on the amounts of 17 critical nutrients they contain.
The 41 top foods were then ranked according to their content of the following nutrients: fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and several others.
The study, published by the CDC in their journal ‘Preventing Chronic Disease,’ found a surprising winner among them: the humble watercress, an oft-overlooked leafy vegetable with a slight peppery taste.
The vegetable scored a perfect 100 on the researchers’ chart, topping Chinese cabbage (91.99), chard (89.27), beet greens (87.08), spinach (86.43) and chicory (73.36).
Fruit did not score particularly high, however, although fruits do tend to be quite high in antioxidants.
Does Watercress Deserve the Top Spot?
Considering its status as an all-natural multi-vitamin of sorts with the ability to provide many of the top nutrients necessary for optimal health, watercress is an excellent addition to any diet.
But it’s important to keep in the mind that these foods tend to be low in calories for energy; in other words, many cannot live on green veggies alone (even “superfoods” like watercress). Don’t forget to diversify!
Photo via avlxyz on Flickr/Google Royalty-Free.