A study evaluated the nutritional value of fruits to determine ounce for ounce which provides the most nutrition. The analysis determined the nutrient density of the 27 most commonly consumed fruits.
Nutrient density is a calculation frequently used by dietitians and nutritionists to reflect a food’s nutritional value. The findings, published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, rank popular fruits on the basis of the amount of the daily value they provide per 100 grams of fruit.
The study found kiwifruit, with an index of 16, to be the most nutrient dense of all fruits, followed by papaya (14), mango (11) and orange (11). On the basis of the number of calories it takes to get 1% of the daily value of a nutrient, kiwifruit, citrus and papaya share the excellent category for fruits most appropriate for weight control. Kiwifruit has the highest level of vitamin C almost twice that of an orange and magnesium, a limited nutrient in the diet and important for cardiovascular health. Kiwi, papaya and apricot outranked bananas and oranges as the top low-sodium, high-potassium fruits. By FDA standards for nutrition labeling, kiwifruit is considered a good source of potassium. Likewise, kiwifruit was found to be a good low-fat source of vitamin E, which is unusual and important, as most good food sources of vitamin E are also high in fat. It is also considered by FDA’s definition to be a good source of dietary fiber.
While consumers are known to associate certain fruits with certain nutrients, such as fiber with apples and vitamin C with oranges and grapefruit, the nutrient density index provides them with a broader tool for making informed choices about the fruits they eat. Instead of eating one fruit for one nutrient, consumers can use the index to select and eat fruits better able to meet their entire nutritional profile. According to The Packer Fresh Trends produce survey, vitamin C and dietary fiber are the top two reasons consumers purchase fresh fruits. An excellent source of both, look for kiwifruit to gain a more prominent place in mainstream fruit consumption.