Volume 11 — June 05, 2014
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Jennifer Di Noia, PhD
Suggested citation for this article: Di Noia J. Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:130390. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130390.
National nutrition guidelines emphasize consumption of powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV), foods most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk; yet efforts to define PFV are lacking. This study developed and validated a classification scheme defining PFV as foods providing, on average, 10% or more daily value per 100 kcal of 17 qualifying nutrients. Of 47 foods studied, 41 satisfied the powerhouse criterion and were more nutrient-dense than were non-PFV, providing preliminary evidence of the validity of the classification scheme. The proposed classification scheme is offered as a tool for nutrition education and dietary guidance.
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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 (1). Defining PFV on the basis of nutrient and phytochemical constituents is suggested (1). However, uniform data on food phytochemicals and corresponding intake recommendations are lacking (2). 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) (3).
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This cross-sectional study identified PFV in a 3-step process. First, a tentative list of PFV consisting of green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus, and cruciferous items was generated on the basis of scientific literature (4,5) and consumer guidelines (6,7). Berry fruits and allium vegetables were added in light of their associations with reduced risks for cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and some cancers (8). For each, and for 4 items (apples, bananas, corn, and potatoes) described elsewhere as low-nutrient-dense (1), information was collected in February 2014 on amounts of the 17 nutrients and kilocalories per 100 g of food (9). Because preparation methods can alter the nutrient content of foods (2), nutrient data were for the items in raw form.
Second, a nutrient density score was calculated for each food using the method of Darmon et al (10). The numerator is a nutrient adequacy score calculated as the mean of percent daily values (DVs) for the qualifying nutrients (based on a 2,000 kcal/d diet ) per 100 g of food. The scores were weighted using available data (Table 1) based on the bioavailability of the nutrients (12): nutrient adequacy score = (Σ [nutrienti × bioavailabilityi)/DVi] × 100)/17. As some foods are excellent sources of a particular nutrient but contain few other nutrients, percent DVs were capped at 100 so that any one nutrient would not contribute unduly to the total score (3). The denominator is the energy density of the food (kilocalories per 100 g): nutrient density score (expressed per 100 kcal) = (nutrient adequacy score/energy density) x 100. The score represents the mean of percent DVs per 100 kcal of food.
Third, nutrient-dense foods (defined as those with scores ≥10) were classified as PFV. The Food and Drug Administration defines foods providing 10% or more DV of a nutrient as good sources of the nutrient (3). Because there are no standards defining good sources of a combination of nutrients-per-kilocalories, the FDA threshold was used for this purpose. The 4 low-nutrient-dense items were classified as non-PFV.
To validate the classification scheme, the Spearman correlation between nutrient density scores and powerhouse group was examined. The robustness of the scheme with respect to nutrients beneficial in chronic disease risk also was examined by comparing foods classified as PFV with those separately classified as such based on densities of 8 nutrients protective against cancer and heart disease (ie, fiber, folate, zinc, and vitamins B6, B12, C, D, and E) (2,4).
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Of 47 foods studied, all but 6 (raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry) satisfied the powerhouse criterion (Table 2). Nutrient density scores ranged from 10.47 to 122.68 (median score = 32.23) and were moderately correlated with powerhouse group (ρ = 0.49, P = .001). The classification scheme was robust with respect to nutrients protective against chronic disease (97% of foods classified as PFV were separately classified as such on the basis of 8 nutrients protective against cancer and heart disease). For ease of interpretation, scores above 100 were capped at 100 (indicating that the food provides, on average, 100% DV of the qualifying nutrients per 100 kcal). Items in cruciferous (watercress, Chinese cabbage, collard green, kale, arugula) and green leafy (chard, beet green, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce) groups were concentrated in the top half of the distribution of scores (Table 2) whereas items belonging to yellow/orange (carrot, tomato, winter squash, sweet potato), allium (scallion, leek), citrus (lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit), and berry (strawberry, blackberry) groups were concentrated in the bottom half (4–7).
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The proposed classification scheme is offered in response to the call to better define PFV and may aid in strengthening the powerhouse message to the public. The focus on individual foods in terms of the nutrients they provide may facilitate better understanding of PFV than green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus, and cruciferous food groups that are emphasized. Messages might specify PFV to help consumers know what they are and choose them as part of their overall fruit and vegetable intake. As numeric descriptors of the amount of beneficial nutrients PFV contain relative to the energy they provide, the scores can serve as a platform for educating people on the concept of nutrient density. Expressing the nutrient desirability of foods in terms of the energy they provide may help focus consumers on their daily energy needs and getting the most nutrients from their foods. The rankings provide clarity on the nutrient quality of the different foods and may aid in the selection of more nutrient-dense items within the powerhouse group.
Foods within particular groups were studied; thus, other nutrient-dense items may have been overlooked. Because it was not possible to include phytochemical data in the calculation of nutrient density scores, the scores do not reflect all of the constituents that may confer health benefits. Warranting study is the utility of approaches defining PFV based on the presence (regardless of amount) of nutrients and phytochemicals. Although nutrient density differences by powerhouse group were examined, a true validation of the classification scheme is needed. Future studies might identify healthful diets and examine correlations with PFV or look for correlations between intake of PFV and health outcomes (3).
This study is an important step toward defining PFV and quantifying nutrient density differences among them. On the basis of the qualifying nutrients, 41 PFV were identified. The included foods may aid in improving consumer understanding of PFV and the beneficial nutrients they provide.
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Jennifer Di Noia, PhD, William Paterson University, 300 Pompton Rd, Wayne, NJ 07470. Telephone: 973-720-3714. E-mail: email@example.com.
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a Values shown represent the bioavailability of naturally occurring forms of the nutrients. When a range of values was reported, the lowest value in the range was used as the weighting factor.
|Item||Nutrient Density Score|
|Winter squash (all varieties)||13.89|
|Grapefruit (pink and red)||11.64|
a 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).
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The opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions.
- Garlic. ...
- Blueberries. ...
- Raspberries. ...
- Broccoli. ...
- Sweet Peppers. ...
- Tomatoes. ...
- Kiwi Fruits. ...
Abstract. National nutrition guidelines emphasize consumption of powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV), foods most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk; yet efforts to define PFV are lacking.What is a powerhouse vegetable? ›
A peer-reviewed study published in the Center for Disease Control's journal, Preventing Chronic Disease, classifies powerhouse fruits and vegetables as "foods providing, on average, 10% or more daily value per 100 kcal of 17 qualifying nutrients." Basically, these are the plants that will give you the most potent ...What is nutrient density? ›
Food that is high in nutrients but relatively low in calories. Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.What are 5 nutrient-dense vegetables? ›
- Watercress. Nutrient density score: 100. Serving size: 1 cup chopped, 4 calories. ...
- Chinese Cabbage. Nutrient density score: 92. Serving size: 1 cup shredded, 9 calories. ...
- Chard. Nutrient density score: 89. ...
- Beet Greens. Nutrient density score: 87. ...
- Spinach. Nutrient density score: 86.
Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables. Choosing whole grains. Selecting healthy sources of protein, mostly from plant sources (legumes and nuts), fish or seafood, low-fat or nonfat dairy and lean cuts of meat. Limiting red and processed meats, sodium, added sugars and alcohol.What are the 4 focused nutrition intervention? ›
Malnutrition interventions, including nutrition support through dietary counseling, diet fortification, oral nutrition supplements (ONS), and enteral and parenteral nutrition can help improve health outcomes.What are the four types of nutrition intervention? ›
Nutrition interventions and nutrition-related outcomes
Different types of intervention include food fortification, supplementation, and behavioural and regulatory interventions which have an impact on nutrition outcomes. In this review, the primary nutrition-related outcomes were stunting, wasting and underweight.
Of 47 foods studied, all but 6 (raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry) satisfied the powerhouse criterion (Table 2).Which fruit is nutritional powerhouse and is great for health? ›
Citrus fruits and berries may be especially powerful for preventing disease. A 2014 study ranked “powerhouse” fruit and vegetables by high nutrient density and low calories. Lemons came out top of the list, followed by strawberry, orange, lime, and pink and red grapefruit.
Watercress (Nutrient Density Score 100%)
Watercress tops the list of nutrient-dense vegetables per calorie based on ANDI criteria. Watercress is a dark green, leafy vegetable that grows in cold, clear streams and rivers, and you can enjoy its peppery flavor raw or cooked.
A powerhouse fruit or vegetable is a food strongly associated with reducing chronic disease risk. Until now, we've lacked a clear definition of what constitutes a powerhouse fruit or vegetable, but a new method of classification has been established that is based on nutrient density.What foods are high in nutrient density? ›
- Salmon. Not all fish are created equal. ...
- Kale. Of all the leafy greens, kale is the king. ...
- Seaweed. The sea has more than just fish. ...
- Garlic. Garlic really is an amazing ingredient. ...
- Shellfish. ...
- Potatoes. ...
- Liver. ...
Nutrient density is a measure of how much nutrition you get per serving or per calorie eaten. It's an important metric to develop a healthy diet.What is nutrient density think of an example? ›
Foods that supply generous amounts of one or more nutrients compared to the number of calories they supply are called nutrient dense. Eggs, for example, have a high nutrient density, because they provide protein and many vitamins and minerals in proportion their calories.What 2 foods can you survive on? ›
- Potatoes. Advertisement. ...
- Human Breast Milk. Advertisement. ...
- Kale. Advertisement. ...
- Trail Mix.
So, having scoured the full list of applicants, we have crowned kale as the number 1 healthiest food out there. Kale has the widest range of benefits, with the fewest drawbacks when stacked up against its competitors.What fruit is most healthy? ›
- Tart cherries.
- Red grapes.
- Citrus fruits.
Factors That Impact Bioavailability
- The form of the nutrients.
- The presence of other nutrients that boost bioavailability (nutrient synergy)
- The presence of nutrient inhibitors and anti-nutrients.
Simply put, what determines the nutrient density of food is the amount of nutrients you get for the amount of calories. A nutrient dense food has lots of nutrients for the little calories. You want to look for foods that are rich in vitamins, mineral, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats.
Low-nutrient-density food categories included visible fats (e.g., butter, oil), sweeteners, candy, sweetened beverages, baked and dairy desserts, salty snacks, and miscellaneous (e.g., coffee, tea). A total of 4,852 participants were included in the study.What is the most effective nutrition intervention? ›
The assessment of individuals or population characteristics is the most effective nutrition intervention; a nutrition survey is performed on population subgroups in which individuals are at risk of malnutrition.What are the 5 methods of nutritional assessment? ›
The five domains of nutrition assessment outlined in the NCP include 1) food or nutrition-related history, 2) biochemical data, medical tests, and procedures, 3) anthropometric measurements, 4) nutrition-focused physical findings, and 5) client history.What are three important food intervention programs? ›
In the mid-1970s, the Government of India launched three important food intervention programmes for food security. They include Public Distribution System (PDS) for food grains; Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) (introduced on an experimental basis) and Food-for-Work (FFW).What is the importance of nutrition intervention? ›
Nutritional Interventions are categorized as situational health actions. The purpose of this Intervention is to resolve and to improve the nutrition diagnosis by provision of advice, education and delivery of the food component of a specific diet.What are the 5 levels of intervention? ›
The five major steps to intervention are the "5 A's": Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange.What are the 7 power foods? ›
- Black beans.
- Sweet potatoes.
- Spinach. Share on Pinterest Andersen Ross/Getty Images. ...
- Kale. Kale is a very popular leafy green vegetable with several health benefits. ...
- Broccoli. ...
- Peas. ...
- Sweet potatoes. ...
- Beets. ...
- Carrots. ...
- Fermented vegetables.
Quality factors for fruits include the following—maturity, firmness, the uniformity of size and shape, the absence of defects, skin and flesh color. Many of the same quality factors are described for vegetables, with the addition of texture-related attributes such as turgidity, toughness, and tenderness.What is the top 5 healthiest fruit? ›
- Berries. Be it blackberries, cranberries, strawberries or blueberries, berries of all kinds are super nutritious. ...
- Apple. Apple is one super-fruit that can prove to be quite beneficial in your weight loss journey. ...
- Watermelon. ...
- Orange. ...
Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium. They're an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.What are three examples of nutrient-dense foods? ›
- Sweet potato.
- Dandelion greens.
1. Spinach. This leafy green tops the chart as one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. That's because 1 cup (30 grams) of raw spinach provides 16% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A plus 120% of the DV for vitamin K — all for just 7 calories ( 1 ).What foods dont cause inflammation? ›
green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards. nuts like almonds and walnuts. fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.
Recently, our on-staff performance dietitian, Alisha Parker, led Accel members and guests through an educational talk about the 5 Keys to Performance Nutrition. The five principles she covered include foundation, mindset, goal setting, sustainability and flexibility.What are the 3 energy producing nutrients? ›
Macronutrients are those nutrients required in large amounts that provide the energy needed to maintain body functions and carry out the activities of daily life. There are 3 macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats.Which statements best describes nutrient density? ›
Answer. Which of the following statements best describes nutrient density? explanation --- Consume foods that have the most nutrition for their kcalories describes the Nutrient Density.What are the three uses of density? ›
- Density, specific gravity.
- Densities of substances.
- Measuring density. Liquids: the hydrometer. Solids.
- Some applications of density.
Density is a measurement of how much space or volume is packed in an object or substance. So, how does density impact every aspect of our lives? Density is the basis for gold mining, blood separation, strawberry DNA extraction and even layered towers (like the one you see here).How do you measure nutrient density? ›
A nutrient-dense food will be high in healthy nutrients for your body, and relatively low in calories. To determine the nutrient density of foods, you'll need to compare the nutrients offered per serving and weigh the information against the number of calories per serving.
Examples of Energy- and Nutrient-Dense Foods:
- Whole milk.
- Full-fat cheeses.
- Creamed soups.
- Pudding and Pies.
- Pasta and vegetables in cream sauce.
- Meat with gravy.
- Peanut butter.
A 2014 study ranked “powerhouse” fruit and vegetables by high nutrient density and low calories. Lemons came out top of the list, followed by strawberry, orange, lime, and pink and red grapefruit.What is the most nutritious dense vegetable? ›
1. Spinach. This leafy green tops the chart as one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. That's because 1 cup (30 grams) of raw spinach provides 16% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A plus 120% of the DV for vitamin K — all for just 7 calories ( 1 ).Which fruit has the highest nutrient? ›
Mango. Known as the “king of fruits,” mangoes are an excellent source of potassium, folate, fiber, and vitamins A, C, B6, E, and K. They're also rich in numerous plant polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties ( 27 ). In particular, mangoes are high in mangiferin, a potent antioxidant.What happens if I eat an apple everyday? ›
They're rich in fiber and antioxidants. Eating them is linked to a lower risk of many chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Apples may also promote weight loss and improve gut and brain health.What fruit should you eat everyday? ›
Some of the healthiest fruits include pineapple, apples, blueberries, and mangos. You should eat three servings of fruit a day as part of a healthy diet. Eating fruit improves heart health, reduces inflammation, and boosts your immune system.What's the best fruit to eat in the morning? ›
- Citrus breakfast: orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit. ...
- Exotic twist for your morning meal: banana, mango, pineapple, coconut. ...
- Berries extravaganza: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. ...
- Amazing stone fruits: cherries, peaches, plums.
- Sweet potato.
- Dandelion greens.
- Fried food. ...
- Potato chips. ...
- Added sugars. ...
- Processed oils. ...
- Hydrogenated fats. ...
- Refined carbohydrates. ...
- Breakfast sausages. ...
- Processed meat. Even though it's been explained that processed meats like breakfast sausage, bacon and turkey bacon are horrible for your health, this category of food is unhealthy as a whole.
Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, beans, nuts and seeds are all great examples of nutrient dense foods. By choosing more nutrient-dense foods, you'll get the beneficial nutrients your body needs without consuming too many calories.