4 Powerhouse Foods You’re Not Eating but Should Be

Everyone knows that when it comes to eating healthy, you need to load up on foods that are packed with as many nutrients as possible – the ones that five you the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck, so to speak. The scientists at William Paterson University have done us all a big favor on this front. They investigated the nutritional content of 47 fruits and vegetables in order to find out which foods are the true dynamos of nutrition (and which super foods aren’t really so super). In order to qualify foods had to, on average, at least 10 percent or more of the 17 required daily nutrients per 100 calories.

Here’s the breakdown: calorie per calorie, the most nutritious foods are Chinese cabbage, Swiss chard, beet greens, and watercress. And in a shocking revelation, they found six foods that don’t meet that “super food” label: blueberries, raspberries, onions, garlic, tangerines, and cranberries. This doesn’t mean these foods have no nutritional value, this study didn’t take anti-oxidants into account, for example, but when you are talking about getting the most nutrients per 100 calories, well, the greens have it.

Fresh Watercress

Photo credit: bigstock

In the end, a healthy diet is all about balance and those blueberries, onions, garlic, cranberries, tangerines, and raspberries are all a much better choice than junk food, candy, or potato chips.

Let’s take a good look at those 4 powerhouse foods, shall we?


1. Watercress

This perennial herb is, obviously, nutrient rich, and grows in abundance near natural springs and other types of slow running water. This aquatic plant has a peppery taste and has been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for food, but for medicinal purposes, in East Asia, Central Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Fresh watercress has vitamin C, antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin A, and a variety of flavonoids. It also has copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. It’s easy to see now why this herb hit the top of the powerhouse list.


SEE ALSO: Black Super Foods: Black Is the New Green

2. Chinese cabbage

Cabbage is tops at cancer protection! More than 475 studies have shown again and again and found that the uniqueness of cabbage in the prevention of cancer is due to its richness in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and glucosinolates. This veggie is another fantastic source of vitamin C. Cabbage has been eaten for thousands of years and it’s thought that wild cabbage was brought to Europe about 600 BC by Celtic people looking for new home lands. It was grown in Roman and Ancient Greek cultures and was held in high regard as both a food, and a source of medicine. Read more about benefits of cabbage.


3. Swiss Chard

The succulent Swiss chard, sometimes called spinach-chard or silver beet, is one of the most popular green leafy veggies. It actually belongs to the beet family. Swiss chard is like spinach, however, in the fact that it is a powerhouse of phytonutrients that have many disease prevention properties. Chard is a super source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and all the B vitamins. Although it seems unlikely, it’s a rich source of those healthy Omega 3-fatty acids. It’s also rich in many minerals such as calcium, copper, and zinc.


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4. Beet greens

Beets are a super nutritious root veggie that has a slightly bitter, yet flavorful leaves, and sweet bulbs. You can prepare these greens just as you would kale or spinach by boiling, sautéing or microwaving. Beet greens have moderate levels of vitamins A and C, and low levels of folates. Beet greens are a good source of vitamin K, which is important to the clotting factor of your blood. Beet greens can have a slightly bitter taste so pair them with olive oil, garlic, onions, and even a little cheese. A bit of grated Parmesan cheese on beet greens hides their bitter flavor so you can get all the benefits of this veggie with none of the bitter aftertaste.






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