Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Surprising list of “powerhouse veggies”

Dr. Walt,

I’m trying to slowly increase the number of servings of fruit and vegetables in our family meals at home. But, I was wondering, are all fruits and vegetables created equal. Are some better than others?

Raising a Healthy Family in Hawaii

Dear Healthy Mom,

In a report published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers have produced a list of what they call “powerhouse vegetables” that “were ranked by the amounts of 17 critical nutrients they contain” allowing the scientists to score them “by their content of fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and other nutrients.”

What ended up on top? Of the top fifteen, watercress achieved the top score of 100, but high scores also went to:

  • Chinese cabbage (92),
  • chard (89),
  • beet greens (87),
  • spinach (86),
  • chicory (73),
  • leaf lettuce (71),
  • parsley (66),
  • romaine lettuce (64),
  • collard greens (63),
  • turnip greens (62),
  • mustard greens (61),
  • endive (60),
  • chives (55), and
  • kale (50).

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not differentiate between specific vegetables. They just say, “Eat your fruits and vegetables. Research shows why that is good advice: Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.”

This Q&A was originally published in the May 2015 edition of Today’s Christian Living.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2016. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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2 Responses to Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Surprising list of “powerhouse veggies”

  1. Eva Hayes says:

    Dr. Walt.
    I know this is a different question but I really need to know. I had a church member tell me I shouldn’t be drinking green tea. I thought green tea was good for you.
    Is green tea good for you if you’re on BP meds and also Pravastatin and Zoloft? I only drink one bottle a day. Also we are trying to eat more veggies and I was wondering which one is the best if you’re trying to lose weight.

  2. Dr. Walt says:


    This is a great set of questions for either your personal physician or pharmacist. Let me know what they tell you.

    Dr. Walt

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