The 41 most nutritious foods on Earth

As long as you go easy on the French fries, you pretty much can’t go wrong making fruits and vegetables a focus of your diet.

But which produce is the most worth your while?

Jennifer Di Noia, a researcher at William Paterson University who specialises in public health, ranked a long list of fruits and veggies based on their nutrient density to see which ones should be classified as “powerhouse” foods: those most strongly associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease.

She generated scores using 17 nutrients that are key to our health: potassium, fibre, protein, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.

Each powerhouse food had to provide at least 10% of the daily value of a particular nutrient to be considered a good source, and the more the better — up to 100%. Those fruits and vegetables with fewer calories and more “bioavailable” nutrients (i.e., how much the body can actually make use of a nutrient once it’s been ingested) ranked higher.

While we all have different dietary needs, the items at the top of this list would be pretty solid additions to almost anyone’s dinner plate. One big takeaway? Eat your greens — they’re pretty much all nutrients and water.

Here are Di Noia’s 41 powerhouse foods, with the most nutritious ranked as No. 1.

40. Sweet potato

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39. Leek

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38. Blackberry

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36. Rutabaga

Source: Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post.

34. Lime

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33. Orange

29. Iceberg lettuce

28. Lemon

Source: Tom Kelley/Getty Images

27. Tomato

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26. Carrot

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24. Cauliflower

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23. Kohlrabi

Source: Stefan Klein/ullstein bild via Getty Images

22. Scallion

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20. Pumpkin

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16. Dandelion green

Source: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

15. Kale

Source: Waring Abbott/Getty Images

11. Turnip green

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8. Parsley

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5. Spinach

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

3. Chard

A row of colourful swiss chard.

1. Watercress

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The complete ranked list of 'powerhouse' foods was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

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