From all the hype surrounding Kale, you would be forgiven for thinking that this popular ‘superfood’ is the most nutrient dense vegetable out there.
However, a new study which classified fruits and vegetables according to their nutrient density, has illustrated that whilst Kale is certainly a nutritious vegetable, the humble watercress wins hands down for nutrient density.
Indeed, watercress was found to have the highest average of 17 nutrients of “public health importance”, including potassium, fibre, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.
To add validity to the current green smoothie trend, of the top 16 fruit and vegetables, all were found to be leafy greens. Watercress topped the list, followed closely by Chinese cabbage, Chard, Beet Green and trusty old Spinach. Kale came later, still at a respectable number 15, though perhaps surprising, given its current superfood status.
So what can we take from these findings?
We should expand our green veggie consumption beyond that of Kale. I am by no means advocating a boycott of Kale (I eat Kale quite regularly), instead I am saying it’s unnecessary to eat Kale over other less trendy options such as spinach and watercress. The bottom line is to focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, with particular focus on green leafy vegetables to gain the highest nutrient density per bite.
In addition, we can continue to drink our green smoothies with the reassurance that we are gaining great nutritional benefits from each sip. Just remember that smoothies should contain more vegetables than fruit (to keep sugar content in check), and should include some added fibre to replace the fibre lost in the blending process (I add Chia seeds).
My favourite nutrient dense (not to mention super creamy and tasty) Green Smoothie combination is my Avo-pine smoothie.