Health & Wellness

6 of the Most Nutritious Fruits and Vegetables You Should be Eating Now

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Your mom always told you to eat your vegetables, but she may not have been specific about which ones you should eat. Until recently, the guidelines for which fruits and veggies should and should not be eaten have been fuzzy—remember when ketchup was considered a vegetable? Fortunately, the CDC is working to help consumers make better choices in the produce section by listing the most nutritious powerhouse fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables were ranked based on their nutritional density with an emphasis on a variety of nutrients and high “bioavailability” of each nutrient—i.e., how much of the nutrient you will actually absorb with the fewest calories. It may not surprise you that green, leafy vegetables topped the list, making up the first 16 spots out of 41, but there are lots of other fruits and vegetables on the list that you can and should enjoy more often. Here are just a handful of the items that made the list, with the highest scoring veggies listed first.

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Watercress

Watercress is a shocking selection at the top of the list, considering many people have probably never eaten it. What’s even more surprising than its high nutritional value is its spicy, peppery flavor. So move over, kale; there’s a new green powerhouse in the produce section.

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Chinese cabbage

Chinese cabbage resembles bok choy, which has dark leafy tips and a fibrous white base. This slightly bitter green is a great addition to any stir-fry or Asian-inspired soup.

Red Bell Pepper

Red peppers

When you feel a cold coming on, you might reach for orange juice to get your vitamin C fix, but red peppers actually pack in much more vitamin C along with vitamin A and vitamin B-6. Eat them raw, sautéed or roasted in just about any type of cuisine.

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Tomatoes

With high doses of lycopene, vitamin C, and vitamin A, tomatoes are an asset for heart disease prevention, and summertime is the right time to enjoy tomatoes in a rainbow of colors. Shop for heirloom varieties at farmers’ markets and specialty grocers to savor the fullest flavor of these fruits.

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Pumpkin

Pumpkin isn’t just for pie anymore. It’s actually delicious in savory dishes like ravioli and soups, so keep it on your grocery list for the fall season. When pumpkins are not in abundance at the grocery store, try acorn or butternut squash varieties instead.

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Lemons

All citrus fruits made the list, but lemons were the highest scoring by about 6 points. While you probably don’t want to bite right into a lemon, you might use lemons in more of your favorite dishes to add vibrant flavor that can cut the need for salt in your recipes.

Now that you know which vegetables are really the best for your diet, be sure to stock up on these delicious varieties next time you hit the grocery store.

The full list of Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables:

Watercress (Score: 100.00)

Chinese cabbage (Score: 91.99)

Chard (Score: 89.27)

Beet green (Score: 87.08)

Spinach (Score: 86.43)

Chicory (Score: 73.36)

Leaf lettuce (Score: 70.73)

Parsley (Score: 65.59)

Romaine lettuce (Score: 63.48)

Collard green (Score: 62.49)

Turnip green (Score: 62.12)

Mustard green (Score: 61.39)

Endive (Score: 60.44)

Chive (Score: 54.80)

Kale (Score: 49.07)

Dandelion green (Score: 46.34)

Red pepper (Score: 41.26)

Arugula (Score: 37.65)

Broccoli (Score: 34.89)

Pumpkin (Score: 33.82)

Brussels sprout (Score: 32.23)

Scallion (Score: 27.35)

Kohlrabi (Score: 25.92)

Cauliflower (Score: 25.13)

Cabbage (Score: 24.51)

Carrot (Score: 22.60)

Tomato (Score: 20.37)

Lemon (Score: 18.72)

Iceberg lettuce (Score: 18.28)

Strawberry (Score: 17.59)

Radish (Score: 16.91)

Winter squash (Score: 13.89)

Orange (Score: 12.91)

Lime (Score: 12.23)

Grapefruit (pink/red) (Score: 11.64)

Rutabaga (Score: 11.58)

Turnip (Score: 11.43)

Blackberry (Score: 11.39)

Leek (Score: 10.69)

Sweet potato (Score: 10.51)

Grapefruit (white) (Score: 10.47)

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