Here’s a scientific approach to the idea of superfoods. First, a little background on the experiments objective.
Powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV), foods most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk, are described as green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus, and cruciferous items, but a clear definition of PFV is lacking . Defining PFV on the basis of nutrient and phytochemical constituents is suggested.
However, uniform data on food phytochemicals and corresponding intake recommendations are lacking. This article describes a classification scheme defining PFV on the basis of 17 nutrients of public health importance per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Institute of Medicine (ie, potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K).
Now keep in mind that this experiment doesn’t take into account antioxidants or other benefits to eating superfoods. The focus is the density of the 17 above mentioned nutrients in the foods evaluated.
Superfoods Experiment Results
Item Nutrient Density Score
Chinese cabbage 91.99
Beet green 87.08
Leaf lettuce 70.73
Romaine lettuce 63.48
Collard green 62.49
Turnip green 62.12
Mustard green 61.39
Dandelion green 46.34
Red pepper 41.26
Brussels sprout 32.23
Iceberg lettuce 18.28
Winter squash (all varieties) 13.89
Grapefruit (pink and red) 11.64
Sweet potato 10.51
Grapefruit (white) 10.47
Calculated as the mean of percent daily values (DVs) (based on a 2,000 kcal/d diet) for 17 nutrients (potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K) as provided by 100 g of food, expressed per 100 kcal of food. Scores above 100 were capped at 100 (indicating that the food provides, on average, 100% DV of the qualifying nutrients per 100 kcal).
I hope these results help people that are looking to maximize their nutrient intake by choosing the superfoods that will deliver more for less.
> Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach | Center for Disease Control and Prevention