In almost every smoothie shop, health blog and farmers market you are going to hear the veggie sensation, Kale. Kale is a great vegetable that is high in nutrients, but is it the best leafy green you can buy? According to a recent study posted on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, Kale is not even in the top 5 leafy greens that are healthy for you.
If you are going to juice, blend or pulverize your next drink why not make sure that you are using one of these 5 powerhouse vegetables that have the highest nutrient density.
What is Nutrient Density?
Nutrient Density is the correlation between nutrients and calories. Nutrient dense food gives you the highest numbers of nutrients for the fewest amounts of calories. You can read more about nutrient density in our post, what is nutrient density and why it’s so important.
Top 5 Powerhouse Vegetables
Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach states, Scores above 100 were capped at 100 (indicating that the food provides, on average, 100% daily values of the qualifying nutrients per 100 kcal)
5: Vegetable Powerhouse, Spinach:
No surprise here, Spinach is the 5th best leafy green you can consume with a Nutrient Density of 86.43. With Spinach being a great source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, manganese, folate and many more nutrients.
4: Vegetable Powerhouse, Beet Green:
A majority of juicers may be surprised that not only do Beets provide incredible nutrients for their juices; the greens from beets are the 4th powerhouse vegetables. With a Nutrient Density score of 87.08, you want to ensure to not throw away the leafy greens from beets but in fact throw them in your smoothie or juice.
3: Vegetable Powerhouse, Swiss Chard:
Chard is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, magnesium and many more nutrients. Called Swiss chard at times, this cousin of collard greens came in at a nutrient density of 89.27. If you are looking for a change of pace from Kale, Swiss chard is a great substitute, not to mention it is 3rd on our top 5 powerhouse vegetables.
2: Vegetable Powerhouse Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage):
Many have heard of Bok Choy but not many people actually put this powerhouse veggie in their shopping cart. Bok Choy scored a 91.99 on the nutrient density scale. Bok Choy gives you a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin K and is rich in silica.
1: Vegetable Powerhouse Watercress:
This is probably the biggest surprise, as many have not even heard of Watercress. However, the Top Leafy Green award goes to Watercress, which is a great source of many vitamins, minerals, magnesium, folate, and pantothenic acid. Watercress scored a perfect score of 100. If you are looking for a great addition to your smoothie or juice, pack it with Watercress and get the best bang for your buck.
If you want to know more about the Top 5 leafy greens that are healthy for you, you can find all you need to know from the 2014 CDC study ‘Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach.’