(NaturalNews) A study conducted by researchers at William Patterson University in New Jersey has put watercress at the number one spot among a list of top powerhouse fruits and vegetables, all ranked by their levels of key nutrients (1). Rather than deeming a food as a superstar for having a large amount of just one particular nutrient, this study looked at a variety of nutrients known to be beneficial for overall health.
Published in the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) journal Preventing Chronic Disease, the study assessed nutrient content, including folate, vitamin D, vitamin A, potassium and protein, based on the assumption of a 2,000-calorie per day diet, and took into consideration the daily requirements of such nutrients. Fruits and vegetables with a high density of nutrients made the top of the list.
Watercress came in first, followed by Chinese cabbage with a second place ranking and chard in third.
The amazing health benefits of watercress
It's easy to understand that watercress tops this list. Weight for weight, there is more vitamin C in watercress than in an orange, and it also has more calcium than milk and more folate than a banana (2). One bowl of watercress (about 80 grams) has about 42 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A and 50 mg of vitamin C (3).
Its high vitamin C content may play a role in staving off cancerous tumors, as can its folate levels. In fact, it's been shown that folate consumption can help with breast cancer in particular; one study showed there to be a 22% reduction in breast cancers for women who consumed folate over a 10-year period (2). Folate is also important to keep brain health in check as well as keep stroke, depression and unhealthy childbirths at bay (2).
Watercress also contains very good amounts of calcium, necessary to maintain bone density and help prevent osteoporosis. Calcium also boosts health in that it aids the cardiovascular system and can be instrumental in fighting high blood pressure and diabetes.
"Nutrient profiling is not new," said Jennifer Di Noia, the study's lead researcher. "But applications to fruits and vegetables are limited. This is the first classification scheme of which I am aware to define and rank" powerhouse fruits and vegetables." (1)
About the author: Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general.