Bad news for kale lovers everywhere.

Is kale good for you? We have the answer.

Hey, you. Healthy Person.

I see you over there, making your green smoothies. Adding kale and zucchini and celery and carrots.

I see you at night time, loading up your salad to go with your salmon. Throwing in avocado and cucumber and tomato and even more kale.

I’ve got some bad news for you, Healthy Person.

Nutrition-wise? You’re doing it wrong.

This week, the most popular fruits and vegetables of the world were entered into the food equivalent of the Miss Universe competition. They were officially ranked on their nutritional value by US researchers from William Paterson University. Apparently, this is the first time fruits and vegetables have ever been ranked by nutritional value, which seems odd, but whatever.

Researchers looked at 17 different nutrients – including protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fibre, potassium, all the different vitamins, etc – and ranked the fruits and veg highly if they contained more than 10% of the daily recommended intake of the nutrient.

There were 41 fruits and veg all up, and scores for nutrients were capped, so one food wouldn’t necessarily be at the top of the list if it had a ridiculous amount of one particular nutrient.

So… here are the top ten. And I bet you wouldn’t have picked them. Largely because there’s no kale in sight.

Collard green.

10. Collard green

Score: 62.49

Kicking off the top ten, we have collard greens, who are part of the happy cabbage family. These guys are high in vitamin C, soluble fiber, calcium and manganese, as well as various other nutrients. They’re very popular in the US and are best served with other leafy green veggie salads, or steamed and added to sushi rolls.

9. Romaine (or Cos) lettuce

Score: 63.48

And here I was thinking that lettuce was full of water and not much else… oopie. This stuff is high in fibre, manganese, potassium, iron, and several vitamins. You know the drill – add it to a sandwich or a salad for maximum tastiness.

8. Parsley

Score: 65.59

Who knew that parsley was so good for you? I’ve really underestimated this little herb. It’s got a heap of Vitamin C and iron, and is excellent for your digestive system. Chop it up and use it to garnish your soups and pastas, or add it to a salad.

Leaf lettuce.

7. Leaf lettuce

Score: 70.73

Leaf lettuce can be distinguished from non-leaf lettuce in the way that it branches. Rather than an iceberg-like tight head, it forms a loose bunch of single stalks. They’re full of fibre, vitamin A and potassium, and delicious in… well… everything. Salad for lunch, anyone?

6. Chicory

Score: 73.36

I’ve never even heard of chicory, but apparently it’s high in calcium, vitamin A and potassium and is excellent for your digestion. Also, it’s a member of the sunflower family, which is very cute. It’s a tricky one to cook, so be careful when steaming it so that it doesn’t turn out too bitter.


5. Spinach

Score: 86.43

Okay, it’s no surprise that spinach is in the top ten. This baby contains vitamins A, B2, C and K, magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium, potassium… the list goes on. Throw it into everything and anything. My personal favourite are cheese and spinach puffs although I don’t think the other ingredients in them are terribly nutritionally beneficial.

Beet greens grow on top of this sucker.

4. Beet green

Score: 87.08

Beet greens are the leafy bit of your beetroot that often go ignored. And this is no good, considering that they’re packed with iron, antioxidants and vitamin A. They come from the same family as spinach so you can use them anywhere that you’d normally use spinach.

3. Chard

Score: 89.27

Chard, or silverbeet, isn’t generally at the top of the supermarket list when most people do their shopping. But you might want to start adding it to your dinner menu – it’s high in vitamins A, K and C, as well as fibre, protein and a whole lot of powerful antioxidants. It’s best when cooked – add it to your pasta!

2. Chinese cabbage

Score: 91.99

Chinese cabbage is a great source of potassium and folic acid – great for your heart, your kidneys and your brain. You can throw it into salads, stir fries or eat it raw as part of coleslaw.


1. Watercress

Score: 100.00

Surprise! The humble watercress – previously limited to accompanying cucumber sandwiches at high teas – took out the top spot. This superfood herb has a ridiculous amount of Vitamin K, as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, maganese, calcium and various other antioxidants. So it’s good for everything from your bones to your connecting tissue. Add it to salads or soups, or steam it and add it to the other veggies on your plate.

And just because I know you’re interested, here are the fruit and veg that scored the lowest:

– Winter squash 13.89

– Orange 12.91

– Lime 12.23

– Grapefruit (pink and red) 11.64

– Rutabaga or swede 11.58

– Turnip 11.43

– Blackberry 11.39

– Leek 10.69

– Sweet potato 10.51

– Grapefruit (white) 10.47

Poor grapefruit and sweet potato. Don’t worry, guys, I’ll still eat you.

Still hungry for more? These healthy #foodporn pics from Instagram should whet your appetite. 

Do you eat any of these veggies? How about kale?