Do you know the top 41 nutritious foods on earth that can fight disease?

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Jimmy Nardello Peppers grown from seed saved in 2011 + 2012 + 2013, but this year I am growing out a varity of peppers to decide on which ones besides Nardello I want to include in my seed saving rotation.
# 17 Red Pepper (score 41.26)

Yesterday, I went for my 6 month “ritual” with my oncologist that I have been doing for 15 Yrs. It is a seasonal ritual. It always happens in the spring when my garden is first showing signs of life + again in the late fall when my garden slows down for winter. It always makes me “pause” in my life + ponder which direction tomorrow will go… I always go a week before to the Lab + have my blood drawn minus the chest x-ray + CT since year 2013. It usually is always the same…I show up, they weigh me, take my blood pressure which is usually high since I am nervous. He checks my nodes, looks at my blood work, asks me how I am doing…but for the past few years  he keeps asking me the same question, “How long has it been” + this time he asked again,

“10 years, right?”

I said, “No, it will be 15

I started with him in 1999, and my dx was in 2000 spring.” He always says the same thing,

” Has it been that long? “

Then he smiles, ” See you in 6 months, don’ t forget to schedule your appointment.”

This time it changed,

I asked him, ” Well, will I ever be cured?

He stopped before opening the door and said,” No.”

 # 27 Tomato (Score: 20.37)
# 27 Tomato (Score: 20.37)

I then asked him, is my case normal?” He said,” Most people can live with this for years but require treatment more often. He then continues with, “It can transform to a more aggressive lymphoma.” I asked, “Well, does that mean if it transforms, I am cured since aggressive lymphoma is curable.” He said, ” No, you would still have the other “NHL-indolent ( slow-growing) at this time it is incurable + yours is not acting like the typical NHL-indolent.”

I guess he meant  this comment because, I had chemo treatment only once which was in 2003…

#31 Radish (Score: 16.91)

I bet at this point you are wondering, “What does this have to do with 41 nutritious foods on earth”. Well, A LOT! I am getting on my soapbox again about how we need to support our scientists and get the information out there that what you put in your body does make a difference. How we take care of the environment or land around us does make a difference to our overall health. I was told in 2003 by this same doctor, ” You will more than likely need treatment every 2-3 years.” That day, I went home to my kids that were ages 8,11 +13, at the time AND made a decision to fight as hard as I had to fight to be around as long as I could.

 # 2 Chinese cabbage (Score: 91.99)
# 2 Chinese cabbage (Score: 91.99)

I had no idea what my journey would be with the “C” word and when you are first introduced to the “C” word it scares the crap out of you. We all have different “C” types, treatment types, and each and every one of us has a different journey with the “C.” Some of us die + some of us are cured or some of us learn to live with the C.The “C” is becoming more a chronic condition for many people today. We are living with “C” as others live with other chronic illnesses. I see C’s future as no longer a “death sentence” for most people. Not all of us are going to die. Some will be cured, and some will have to learn to “live with Cancer” the rest of their life. Manage it just like someone does with diabetes or other chronic ailments.

#7 Leaf lettuce (Score: 70.73)

 I started this blog in 2010 to  show people how growing food can make a difference to your health.  I am not a scientist but I am an educator. I never pictured myself spending the second half of it, which  I am thankful every day  to have…( a grateful pause + sigh)….doing a blog about growing food, flowers and herbs on city lots. If you asked me before 2000 what I would be doing with the rest of my life, well it would not be this. I had other goals before my “C”  journey. We all have life-changing moments some are small but some are big enough to knock you down , if you let them. I can tell you that the “C” is my life changing moment.

#9 Romaine lettuce (Score: 63.48)

I believe that the answers to many of our health problems are here on earth just waiting for us to discover. I believe they have always been here and somehow our disconnection to nature around us lately, has made us vulnerable. We use to be a society that had our hands in the soil and knew how to grow our food. We did not depend on others to grow food for us, we had food growing right on our block. People did not need to go to the gym for a workout, they worked in their gardens to grow food, walked places and knew how to do “things” for themselves.Today we sit in chairs ( me included right now-LOL) typing on “things” that make our life easier. I love science but when we start creating “instruments” to exercise our muscles while we sit that might be a game changer! I believe it is in our DNA to love nature and be outside digging in the soil. It never ceases to amaze me when people start growing vegetables, herbs or flowers they just can’t get enough. We are built to work the land and technology is great but we need to “balance” and get outside growing and learning how to keep ourselves healthy.

Copy (3) of IMG_5332
#6 Chicory (Score: 73.36) #8 Parsley (Score: 65.59)

Taking tons of vitamins, or expensive health drinks won’t be the answer…we need to eat “food” that is alive and fresh from our gardens. I believe a healthy immune system is the answer to beating disease. Shoot…my “C” is in my immune system. I have learned over the years, how crucial our immune system is, it is our best defense against disease!

# 3 Chard (Score: 89.27)
# 3 Chard (Score: 89.27)

A long time ago, I was dropping off plants + seeds to be used at a community/urban farm + I mentioned to the organic grower,  “We all need an “immunity garden where we live.” She smiled and said, “I like that, Robbie” An immunity garden.” Well, it got me thinking. Yes, we do need an immunity garden right out our door! It has helped me fight my chronic disease all these years.I grow medicine right where I live for myself, others + I also take care of nature at the same time! It is my mission for the second half of whatever time I have left on earth to inspire you to create an immunity garden, right out your door where ever you live… I introduce you to Immunity Gardens...

Immunity Gardens ( I no longer have this site)

I will be working on this site for the next year, so please be patient. I cleaned up the site( formally- Palm Rae Organic Plants) and I am starting over with the best ones to grow close to home for nutrient dense food. It will take some time. As for the 41 most Nutritious Food on Earth, well, sometimes I just have to post the entire  article  for you to read, ( long sigh…) since a lot of you don’t click-through to read….

 # 15 Kale (Score: 49.07)
# 15 Kale (Score: 49.07)

please, read this article because it will help you fight the good fight!

 Oh + by the way… #1 Watercress will be a new plant, I am growing in 2015..if you have any advice or tricks to growing this super food, let me know!!! I just ordered a variety of seed to trial inside + outside 2014!

ISCIENCEMore: Health Center for Disease Control (CDC) Nutrition Food

Everyone has different dietary needs, and no one should make drastic dietary changes without consulting a dietitian or a doctor. But adding more “powerhouse” fruits and vegetables to your diet is a good first step on the way to a healthier lifestyle.

The 41 Most Nutritious Foods On Earth

Now, a Jun. 5 study in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease puts forth a method for defining and ranking powerhouse foods.

Jump to the ranking »

Lead author Jennifer Di Noia, a sociologist at William Paterson University who specializes in public health and food choice, came up with a preliminary list of 47 “powerhouse” foods based on consumer guidelines and scientific literature. For example, berries and vegetables in the onion/garlic family were included “in light of their associations with reduced risks for cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and some cancers.”

Di Noia then ranked the foods based on their nutritional density. She focused on 17 nutrients “of public health importance per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Institute of Medicine.” These are potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K.

Each food had to provide at least 10% of the daily value of a particular nutrient to be considered a good source. Providing more than 100% of the daily value of one nutrient conferred no extra benefit. The scores were calculated in favor of lower-calorie foods and weighted based on how “bioavailable” each nutrient is (i.e., how much the body can make use of a nutrient once it’s been ingested in food form).

Six foods (raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry) on the original list of 47 did not satisfy the “powerhouse” criteria. Here are the remaining 41, ranked in order of nutrient density. Foods that are high in nutrients without also being high in calories will be at the top.

  1. Watercress (Score: 100.00)
  2. Chinese cabbage (Score: 91.99)
  3. Chard (Score: 89.27)
  4. Beet green (Score: 87.08)
  5. Spinach (Score: 86.43)
  6. Chicory (Score: 73.36)
  7. Leaf lettuce (Score: 70.73)
  8. Parsley (Score: 65.59)
  9. Romaine lettuce (Score: 63.48)
  10. Collard green (Score: 62.49)
  11. Turnip green (Score: 62.12)
  12. Mustard green (Score: 61.39)
  13. Endive (Score: 60.44)
  14. Chive (Score: 54.80)
  15. Kale (Score: 49.07)
  16. Dandelion green (Score: 46.34)
  17. Red pepper (Score: 41.26)
  18. Arugula (Score: 37.65)
  19. Broccoli (Score: 34.89)
  20. Pumpkin (Score: 33.82)
  21. Brussels sprout (Score: 32.23)
  22. Scallion (Score: 27.35)
  23. Kohlrabi (Score: 25.92)
  24. Cauliflower (Score: 25.13)
  25. Cabbage (Score: 24.51)
  26. Carrot (Score: 22.60)
  27. Tomato (Score: 20.37)
  28. Lemon (Score: 18.72)
  29. Iceberg lettuce (Score: 18.28)
  30. Strawberry (Score: 17.59)
  31. Radish (Score: 16.91)
  32. Winter squash (Score: 13.89)
  33. Orange (Score: 12.91)
  34. Lime (Score: 12.23)
  35. Grapefruit (pink/red) (Score: 11.64)
  36. Rutabaga (Score: 11.58)
  37. Turnip (Score: 11.43)
  38. Blackberry (Score: 11.39)
  39. Leek (Score: 10.69)
  40. Sweet potato (Score: 10.51)
  41. Grapefruit (white) (Score: 10.47)


I am thankful every November for the ability to grow vegetables, fruit, herbs + flowers on our city lot. None of us are alike. We don’t know how long we have here and if we are all living longer, we need to learn how to take care of the only body we have….for you never know when a life-changing moment will happen to you…be prepared!

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer


    1. You are so welcome, I know you are growing food to help others:-) It is so great we finally have some research behind the benefits of nutrient dense foods:-)

  1. Robbie, this is such crucial information about health and nutrition. I appreciate all of the practical guidance for creating an “immunity garden,” as well as your wisdom and inspiring resilience. Thank you ❤

    1. Carol, I know you have a garden:-)This is exciting scientific news to help us find those”nutrient dense” ones that can help us battle and keep our health. Check out watercress:-) it scored 100 percent!I have never grown it + it is a powerhouse! I ordered 2 types to trial so I could figure out how to grow it:-)

      1. Fascinating to find this out, Robbie. Watercress is not something I can remember even eating (except perhaps at the pretentious “tea” I attended at one of the universities I attended – dainty little sandwiches with all of the crusts removed).

        After this past year (too cold and rainy for some traditional plants to do well), I am eager to experiment next year with some of the ideas you have shared on your blog. I have some organic seed catalogues and plan to begin exploring how to improve my gardening knowledge and skill. I’m also going to explore the feasibility of starting plants from seed inside this year.

      2. Okay Carol, I am going to post a few resources here for you today:-)
        “Watercress is an abundant source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that may be particularly beneficial for the eyes and the heart.”
        Here is the research:-)It is not only good for cancer but your eyes, too:-) I will now be learning to grow it!

        Check out Joy Larkom-we owe her a lot of credit for bringing many of these foods to our gardens
        Great article about how she travelled back in the 70’s and found these-she is responsible for our bagged greens-I will post about her one day-just need to finish a few more of her books:-)
        You can find her books on Amazon Used-if you search;
        My favorite is:
        The Salad Garden + The Organic Salad Garden( updated book)
        I look forward to our “over the garden” sharing this next year…but brrrr..we have to get past the cold!

      3. Thank you so much for these resources, Robbie! I’ve bookmarked your post on my list of favorite websites so I can explore the links and readings you listed in the next few weeks 🙂

      4. lol.about the “pretentious “tea”:-) It is really expensive, I have heard to buy it in the store..they say it is easy to grow-we shall see!

      5. Ah – maybe that’s why it was served at the formal tea – and it was quite a funny event held in the dean of women’s elegant house with thick white carpets. As I sat uncomfortably with others around the ornate coffee table, I watched as one of my classmates bit into a dainty cream puff. I almost fell out of my chair laughing when the cream shot out of the other side of the puff onto the carpet. Never one for sentimentality or finesse, my classmate merely rubbed the cream into the rug. Sorry, I couldn’t resist sharing this story 🙂 Decades later, it still makes me laugh. The memory adds another reason for me to explore the benefits of watercress, and I look forward to hearing more about your efforts.

      6. Thank you for sharing-LOL…too funny! I would of done the same thing:-) It seems you just add the greens to dishes but I won’t be adding mine to dainty cream puffs-lol-priceless!

  2. Robbie–this is the most fabulous post!! I read every word–scanned the link and WILL go back and study those. Your list of foods is one I will study at length. I’m so thankful you made the decision to live the rest of your life doing what you could to live longer–look at you-15 years later! And now you are educating so many people. I only have one disagreement: I think you ARE a scientist! You’re just sharing your findings in a language I can understand, Lol! I love you Robbie! ♥

  3. Robbie, this is a fabulous post! You have done such an excellent job of presenting everything. I feel I want to print it out and have it by my side to refer to. I love your passion, your knowledge and your commitment to sharing. You are an invaluable resource and a valued member of our little community xoxo

    1. awww…I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! It is a tradition in our family ( when kids were small) to go around the table and tell everyone what you were thankful for that year…mine would be ALL of you:-) I am so blessed!

    2. There is more to come because we have to get the word out about these things we can ” grow” right where we live- to “fight” against disease! We all have much to share:-)

    1. + I am thankful for all you wonderful blogger friends:-) You have a wonderful Thanksgiving ,too. I need to stop over to your blog, I have no doubt you have a “perfect” picture for Thanksgiving:-)

    1. Thank you, Janet:-)It is amazing the foods we have available that we can grow right out our door–this watercress at the top of the list is fascinating-100 percent score-wow.
      I ordered some seeds and will be trying it indoors under lights. We shall see what it is like. I am eating things I never heard of before in my life or did not know they were so good for an immunity garden-only the best. Check this out about watercress-
      pass the info on to others- this little plant can be grow in a container year round:-)

  4. Congrats on hitting 15 years – you go girl, you inspire us all!
    LOVE your pix, per usual, I just want to jump into them all!
    No surprise that leafy greens top the list, along with the cruciferous. Although I don’t grow in the winter, I’ve found some good farmers locally that do and that is exciting to me! Fresh greens all winter – yay!

    1. thank you + let me tell you every Thanksgiving, I am thankful:-) I was surprised the leafy greens were at the top of the list + above Kale-interesting:-) I am growing microgreens inside + that is an interesting experience/project:-) I love eating them for they have a lot of flavor. You have growers that do it year round-yeah-you will be healthy! Double-Yay-is right!!!

  5. Robbie, of all the bloggers I read, you are the most inspirational. Watercress is going on my garden list for next year too now and I am going to copy out that list of 41 plants and put in on my office noticeboard. Even if one person starts to grow their own food after reading this you have achieved an amazing thing. I’m going to encourage my friends to come and read this. I believe too that we need to be more connected to the soil. There is nothing that warms my heart more than seeing my kids messing in the soil, digging or planting seeds. There is an Irish blessing that says – May you live as long as you want, And never want as long as you live.- I wish this for you now.

    1. awwww…that is the best Thanksgiving “gift” of all:-) It warms my heart every time, I read a comment like this from far away, for you are closer than you know:-) We all are part of a bigger movement…we are like the monarchs that travel far away and stop in many places…I needed to hear this today-thank you:-) You are so right! There are times, you wonder if you are getting the message out there:-). I feel it is a “mission” for me to grow for those around me where I live + to learn + inspire from all my friends from faraway places. I love stopping by your blog because you ” know” what I am trying to do, for you are doing it right where you are…we are getting the message out. My kids are grown up right now, one just came home from college + I was inspired to hear him talk about how he was eating this or that + aware of how important it is:-). My middle daughter, I am helping landscape her edible garden next summer in her new home. My oldest just moved from UK to Stockholm last month ( she is having twins in April next year!!!+ she has all kinds of things growing in her flat! I feel what you are doing by raising another generation with their hands in the soil IS one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids..for they will carry on the message as they journey through life…thank you for this great comment + I love the quote ” May you Live as long as you want, And never want as long as you live—that is a simply a good way to live life:-)

  6. This IS a great post Robbie. Firstly though, big hugs to you for your continuing good health in spite of the ominous C shadow which forever hangs over a survivor. To be given that while your children (and yourself!) so young is so frightening I know but here you are today, living and learning and teaching 🙂 🙂
    That is a great list there and some of it a surprise to me…blueberries for example have been heralded as great health foods but didn’t make the grade here 🙂 Very interested to see Watercress at the top. I have never grown it but it’s freely available around the countryside. Pleased to see chard near the top as we eat this almost daily and I am not a great fan of Kale which I believed was healthier. Cool, a good list to grow on 🙂

    1. thank you Wendy:-) + good that you are doing great,too! Big hugs back for I know you have battled health issues yourself-Yeah to us both-in our battle!
      I was very surprised about Kale being lower than Chard. I am growing watercress myself now but they said to be careful trying to harvest it from the countryside, for in the wild it is more prone to parasites:-) That is what I read but I would double check it-I don’t always get things right. I decided to grow it inside under lights or in containers outside. I wonder if it is because it is grown usually near ponds/water sources ( that is what they said it liked for growing). I have never grown it so I shall learn:-)
      That was interesting about the blueberries, too. Strawberries mentioned but not raspberries that was interesting ,too. Well, it is a place to start and use for reference. I have no doubt things will change when they do the tests again:-) It always does!

      1. Mmm, I have never heard that about the parasites, it’s just common practice to go collect it from wherever with many people. I misread things too or shuffle them around in error in my mind so I store something completely different to what I read lol. Something wrong in the processing dept! I haven’t had any for quite a few years myself as we grow enough other things not to worry about it but seeing this list…..! I saw a thing today on FB about growing in a bottle, I will share it on here because a great idea by a young Japanese student for growing indoors.
        The list did surprise me and yes things always change lol. Best I think just to eat the rainbow and be guaranteed good combined nutrition.

      2. I just checked it out to see if I did misread it + I found a ton of stuff about watercress and parasites-hmmm-I guess it is a possiblity:-)

        I believe, I am going to grow mine inside / in containers + be cautious:-) I wonder if it is the water issue out in the wild since that does carry parasites/issues with run off. I will be able to keep it more moist in soil if I raise it in container..we shall see it sure is all new to me:-)
        Just type in “watercress and parasites” yikes= a lot of stuff!

      1. EEK, didn’t know any of that! I have never heard of anyone getting sick on watercress here and it’s very common practice to forage for it. It’s almost a staple here for Maori families and I know as kids our parents had very tough times and would often pick it. However a difference here would be I think that people only ever do pick the dry stuff, the tops. Maybe it’s just a handed down practice that that’s the part you eat.

      2. I believe people knew how to harvest food back then. It seemed “smart’ to not harvest it when it is directly in the water. That was my first impression when they said it is near
        streams/ponds.They also say you can grow it in a pond on your property, but I am not going to do that. I am planning on keeping it in pot well watered. It is very rich in antioxidants-shoot it scored 100 percent! Well, worth growing:-)
        It also seems common sense to not eat foods that would be where animals roam and do their stuff-lol. Just common sense with any vegetable:-)

  7. There is so much in this one posting I don’t know where to begin! So I will start with this: Thanks! I know this is a special day for you but then again, everyday is probably special, too. Have a delicious, nutritious, wonderful Thanksgiving, Robbie (and many many more to come!!!)

    1. 🙂 Lori, I will + you, too + you keep us laughing with your amazing photo/video essays that make me laugh too often off my chair! I am starting to smile about the “leaf blowing one” one again–HAHAHAHAHA–off the chair, I go:-)

  8. It amazes me how people either ignore or never consider the direct causal relationship between what one puts into their body and what the body does (or doesn’t do.) I had to learn at a young age to listen to my body and its reactions to food. I’m so grateful now to have that skill, as it comes in handy in new ways all the time. I know what to eat to fix a bad mood or when I indulge in something without it causing too much grief.
    I’m glad you discovered the food connection, too, so that you could be there for yourself, for your family, and (selfishly) so that I would have your lovely blog to read!

    1. I am grateful, I learned too- for it has helped me live a healthier life. It is a life changing moment when you get the connection:-) awww..thank you for reading my blog + it makes it worth the effort working on a blog when you know:-) their are amazing people, like you reading my blog:-) Happy Thanksgiving + enjoy the little one for they grow up, too fast:-)

  9. You’re so right. We never know. Life changes in an instant. I wish we could grow our own food year-round. I know some people do. Then again, probably best that we get the down-time from gardening.

    1. I know what you mean about “down-time” for I do get tired toward the end of the gardening season.I am still working on growing year round. I have had to fill in with microgreens during the cold months which are fun to add to dishes:-)

  10. Thank you once again Robbie for such an inspiring and thought-provoking post, and more importantly, I wanted to wish you many more years of continued good health. I am absolutely itching to get out there and build my soil then start my seeds … and all the while, your blog will be my guide.

    1. Well, I just stopped by your blog-I have missed hearing about your adventures + lovely photos of Northern California-the perfect place to be + grow year round. I look forward to hearing all about your new gardens at your new home. Congrats!!!!
      It would of been neat to read about your Midwest Adventures in Evanston(my place of birth-lol), but you are where you want to be—I look forward to your new home +gardens!
      I am here to spread the word about growing on urban lots-which you know about:-) again-congrats on your new place:-)

      1. Thank you so much Robbie, you are a treasure! I’m sometimes torn about our decision as I’m now so far from family, but the long growing season was just so darn hard to resist. The new house has a lawn in the backyard whose days are numbered 😉

      2. I don’t blame you one bit:-) If I could, I would love to move where the growing season was a bit longer:-) I totally get it! Love the lawns days are numbered+can’t wait to see what you do-I have no doubt it will be amazing:-)

  11. Fresh, cool post… plus very informative.
    Thanks for sharing dear Robbie… I much enjoyed it!.
    Sending you all my best wishes!. Aquileana 😀

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