(HealthDay News) — Forty-one powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV) have been classified and validated, according to a study published online June 5 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease.

Jennifer Di Noia, PhD, from the William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ, developed and validated a classification scheme to define PFV, as those providing, on average, 10% or more daily value per 100kcal of 17 qualifying nutrients. A tentative list of PFV was generated based on scientific literature. Information was collected on the amounts of nutrients for each of these 47 foods, and a nutrient density score was calculated. Nutrient-dense foods were classified as PFV. The classification was validated using the Spearman correlation between nutrient density scores and powerhouse group.

Di Noia found that only 6 of the foods studied did not meet the powerhouse criteria (raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry). The classification scheme was robust in relation to nutrients that were protective against chronic disease. The nutrient density scores ranged from 10.47–122.68 (median, 32.23). Items in cruciferous and green leafy groups were concentrated in the top half of the distribution scores, while items in the yellow/orange, allium, citrus, and berry groups were concentrated in the bottom half of the distribution of scores.

“This study is an important step toward defining PFV and quantifying nutrient density differences among them,” Di Noia writes. “The included foods may aid in improving consumer understanding of PFV and the beneficial nutrients they provide.”

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