Lo and behold, watercress earns the No. 1 spot–according to the CDC, it has a nutrient density score of 100. (A perfect score!) Specifically, it boasts vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B9. Beet greens, on the other hand, are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C (earning a score of 87.08), so don’t toss them! “If you look at beetroot versus beet greens, the greens–which we most often cut off and throw away–actually have more minerals than the roots themselves,” Sapola says.
Sapola also considers Romaine’s score of 63.48 quite surprising: “Romaine is shockingly high,” she notes, as it ranks above items like collard and dandelion greens. I generally don’t think of it as overly high [in nutrients].” And in terms of fruit, you might be wondering why items like strawberries and limes ranked high, while polyphenol-rich blueberries didn’t even make the cut. “This list doesn’t consider phytonutrients, so it’s only looking at vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber,” Sapola says.