What is a Powerhouse Vegetable?

Almost all nutrition advice includes  eating more  fruits and vegetables.

Nutrition experts recommend fruits and vegetables in the treatment  and prevention of several chronic diseases – diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease,  and cancers. The greatest health benefits have been attributed to the green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus and cruciferous varieties.

A 2014 research study tried to determine exactly which fruits and vegetables were most likely to keep us healthy.

Researching powerhouse vegetables

A 2014 research study tried to determine exactly which fruits and vegetables were most likely to keep us healthy.

They defined  “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” as those  highest in nutrients, specifically the minerals potassium, calcium, iron and zinc and vitamins A,B,C, D, E and K. They looked at the percent daily value  (DV) of these nutrients  per 100 grams ( 3.5 ounces) of each food.

The Food and Drug Administration defines foods providing 10% or more DV of a nutrient as good sources of the nutrient, or nutrient dense.

What were the results? 

Of 47 vegetables studied, all but 6 satisfied the powerhouse criterion .

these were from 100% to 70% nutrient dense

  • cruciferous –watercress, Chinese cabbage, collard green, kale, arugul
  • green leafy-(chard, beet green, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce groups

these from 62% to 24% nutrient dense

  • Other greens-collard, mustard, and turnip, kale, broccoli, pumpkin, and brussels sprouts

these from 22% to 10% nutrient dense

  • Yellow/orange-carrot, tomato, winter squash, sweet potato, allium -scallion, leek,
  • citrus-lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit
  • berry- strawberry, blackberry groups

less than 10%

  • Raspberry
  • tangerine
  • cranberry
  • garlic
  • onion
  • blueberry

So, besides the fact that fruits and vegetables taste good, here is another good reason to eat them.

You can read a summary of the article with a list of all the vegetables studied with their nutrient density at this link-

 Preventing Chronic Disease | Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach – CDC.

plate of vegetables

Healthy food choices don’t have to be difficult

Less red meat + more vegetables = less cancer

Need ideas for cooking vegetables? Here are cookbooks to consider (Using these affiliate links costs you nothing extra, and the commision helps fund this blog’s mission)

Vegetable of the Day

Eat Your Vegetables

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the HEART of health.

                                         Dr. Aletha 


Vaccination prevents disease- part 2

In part 1  I discussed the vaccine preventable bacterial diseases . Here we’ll look at viral infections.


Virus vs Bacteria

One major difference between bacterial and viral infections is the treatment. We have many more effective antibiotics (drugs which fight bacteria) than we do antiviral drugs.

And antibiotics do not affect viruses. Despite that fact, patients often expect and even demand their physicians prescribe antibiotics for viral infections such as influenza, colds and bronchitis- and unfortunately too often we physicians do it anyway.


6 smart facts about antibiotic use


Influenza- the vaccine is given annually and targeted to the strains of virus predicted to be active in any given year.

symptoms of influenza

The nasal flu vaccine is not preferred as it is less effective than a shot. 









Measles (rubeola), Mumps, Rubella (German measles) -I am grouping these together since their vaccines are usually given together as the MMR. Recent outbreaks of measles have been attributed to the decline in vaccination rates.

Measles in the United States

Polio, a disease parents feared when I was a child, due to to risk of permanent paralysis, now essentially eradicated in the United States

Rotavirus,  in infants and small children, a common cause of gastroenteritis- vomiting and diarrhea, with or without fever and abdominal pain

HPV, the human papilloma virus, causes warts of all kinds, but the vaccine is targeted to the strains that cause genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer

The cousin viruses, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis is an infection  of the liver, which can range from a mild disease to life threatening. Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B is spread through contact with infected blood or other body fluids.

Another set of cousins, Varicella Zoster (VZ) virus causes two different infections and thus has two vaccines. The original infection is  varicella or chickenpox, formerly a common childhood illness but not seen often now due to the vaccine. When it reactivates, usually years later in adulthood, it is known as  zoster or shingles.



There are also several vaccines usually reserved for travel to specific areas of the world, occupational exposure, military service or other special circumstances. These include vaccines for anthrax, typhoid, cholera, (bacteria) and yellow fever, smallpox,and rabies (viruses). 

Diseases for which there is no vaccine

One of the most serious is malaria, caused by a parasite transmitted by infected mosquitos. Malaria is rarely a risk in northern or extreme southern areas of the world, but for the tropics, especially sub-Saharan Africa it is a major health problem.

Otherwise we all are at risk of other serious infections that we cannot yet prevent with immunization. These include

HIV-human immunodeficiency virus ,and most other sexually transmitted diseases including HSV- herpes simplex virus, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia.

HCV- Hepatitis C

Most respiratory viruses, including rhinovirus, cause of the common cold; RSV-respiratory syncytial virus and infectious mononucleosis

The Ebola virus


Borrelia, not really a bacteria, it’s a spirochete, which causes Lyme (not lime) disease

And the bacteria Staphylococcus, which causes “staph” (not staff) infections of the skin and Streptococcus, which causes “strep throat”

If you have any questions or concerns about which vaccines you might need to protect yourself against infections, please consult your own personal physician.

Detailed information about vaccines and infectious disease  is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 


Vaccination prevents disease- part 1