Beware the label “superfood”: It’s slapped on everything from chia seeds to cauliflower. But what does it mean? When even such a low-bar base camp as Wikipedia calls superfood “a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits,” you know skepticism is in order. 

But now scientists at William Paterson U. have come up with a sensible superfood-esque rating system, testing the levels of 17 disease-fighting nutrients (including fiber, potassium, iron, and B vitamins) in produce and ranking the top 41 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables.” 

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The results were shocking. 

On the new list, former underdog watercress (#1) thrashed supposed superfood champ kale (#15). Meanwhile, beet greens (#4) beat down brussels sprouts (#21), parsley (#8) laid a pile drive on sweet potato (#40), and turnip greens (#11) smashed rutabaga (#36) into the turnbuckle. Even blackberries (#38) got body-slammed by strawberries (#30) and pink grapefruit (#35). 

Your strategy: Go for variety. “Don’t focus on just one or two foods on the list,” says the study’s Jennifer Di Noia, Ph.D. “For chronic disease prevention, all of them should be encouraged, as well as other plant foods, such as whole grains and beans.” 

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Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: The Rankings

1. Watercress
2. Chinese cabbage
3. Chard
4. Beet green
5. Spinach
6. Chicory
7. Leaf lettuce
8. Parsley
9. Romaine lettuce
10. Collard green
11. Turnip green
12. Mustard green
13. Endive
14. Chive
15. Kale
16. Dandelion green
17. Red pepper
18. Arugula
19. Broccoli
20. Pumpkin
21. Brussels sprout
22. Scallion
23. Kohlrabi
24. Cauliflower
25. Cabbage
26. Carrot
27. Tomato
28. Lemon
29. Iceberg lettuce
30. Strawberry
31. Radish
32. Winter squash (all varieties)
33. Orange
34. Lime
35. Grapefruit (pink and red)
36. Rutabaga
37. Turnip
38. Blackberry
39. Leek
40. Sweet potato
41. Grapefruit (white) 

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