Doc Eifrig: New research reveals the healthiest fruits and vegetables you should be eating

From Dr. David Eifrig, MD, MBA, editor, Retirement Millionaire: 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) wants you to eat your spinach. In a recent study published in the CDC’s newsletter Preventing Chronic Disease, a researcher attempted to quantify how good certain fruits and vegetables are for you.

The investigator, Dr. Jennifer Di Noia, wrote that although organizations like the CDC encourage the consumption of “powerhouse” foods, there is no real definition for what makes something a powerhouse. She designed a study to evaluate 47 different foods, ranking each on how much one serving contained of 17 nutrients deemed “essential” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Institute of Medicine. These nutrients included potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, and D.

The study based the calculations on the FDA-recommended intake of each nutrient and capped it at 100 so that some foods wouldn’t be so overweight in one particular nutrient that they would affect their overall score. (Oranges, for example, are extremely high in vitamin C.)

All of the green leafy stuff ranked highest: Watercress got a perfect score of 100, followed closely by Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, and spinach. Foods that didn’t make the list at all? Apples, bananas, and blueberries. None of the three had enough nutrients to fit the criteria. (You can find the full list here.)

While we love leafy green vegetables, this study is missing some important information, like the incredible benefits of antioxidant-rich foods. As a result, it ignored one of my favorite superfoods – blueberries.

Instead of picking up that bottle of multivitamins, take a trip to your local produce stand. You can get most of your daily vitamins by munching on a delicious salad. And do what I do – include a handful of blueberries at breakfast to boost your antioxidants, too.

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