Jun 122014

We now have a nutrient dense food list provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Jennifer Di Noia. And dandelion greens are sixteenth on the list of forty-one high nutrient dense foods. Of course, you won’t be able to eat your dandelion greens if you kill them with herbicides.

I’ve used Whole Foods’s top 100 healthiest foods for many years. But there’re several nutrient dense foods on the CDC list that is lacking in the Whole Foods list, such as watercress, chicory, dandelion greens, arugula, kohlrabi, and rutabaga. I’m surprised to see Iceberg Lettuce on the CDC list. I’ve considered Iceberg Lettuce to be nutrient deficient. Romaine lettuce is the better choice, since Romaine lettuce is ninth on the CDC list, while Iceberg lettuce is twenty-ninth on the list.

Dr. Di Noia assigned a nutrient density score to each food based on the Darmon method of nutrient density standards for vegetables and fruits. In addition, foods are considered powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV) if they provide 10% or more of the daily value of a nutrient. And the nutrients a food should provide include potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.

Even though many of us prefer to pop a pill for nutrition, vitamins and minerals are always more bioavailable from foods. One reason is these chemicals and minerals don’t provide nutrition by acting alone. For example, vitamin C is more than the chemical ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is actually a complex of many chemicals, which includes ascorbic acid. And this is true of all bioavailable forms of vitamins and minerals.

Start eating those dandelion greens rather than killing them to get more bioavailable vitamins and minerals into your diet.

The forty-one high nutrient dense foods in order of nutrient content are watercress, Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce, parsley, Romaine lettuce, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, endive, chive, kale, dandelion greens, red pepper, arugula, broccoli, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, scallion, kohlrabi, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, tomato, lemon, iceberg lettuce, strawberry, radish, winter squash, orange, lime, red grapefruit, rutabaga, turnip, blackberry, leeks, sweet potato and white grapefruit.