These days it seems the whole world has gone kale krazy.  But is kale really the most super of all superfoods? The Centers for Disease Control doesn't think so. In fact, they don't even rank it in the top ten supervegetables.  Kale lands in fifteenth place, with a respectable 49.07 Nutrient Density Score.  Here's the CDC's top 15:

Rank Vegetable Nutrient Density Score
15 Kale 49.07

So, this means you can stop eating kale, right?

Closeup of Kale Leaves

Sorry kale haters, but 49.07 is still a highly respectable Nutrient Density Score.  Your biggest takeaway here is that kale is not your one stop shop for daily nutrients.  In fact, the healthiest (and most enjoyable) diets are those with a lot of variety.  So mix your kale with some other tasty greens, to ensure a healthy and happy diet!

 A Cautionary Kale:  Although it's in 15th place, kale is still action packed with nutrients, including a whopping 1180 times the recommended daily intake of Vitamin K.  People on blood thinners should consult their health care providers about what not to eat because greens like kale and spinach might be doing more harm than good!

14 Chives 54.80
Chives Grwoning in the WildEasily the healthiest topping you put on your baked potato (and arguably the only healthy topping you put on your baked potato). Allium vegetables, such as garlic, scallions, onions and leeks, have long been pushed for their beneficial properties, but chives just might be the healthiest of the bunch! Their potent flavor makes it difficult to consume a full serving of them, but sprinkling a little on your meals can add a flavor kick that's packed with vitamins and minerals.
13 Endives 60.44

Three Endives Lined Up in a RowAs far as green, leafy vegetables go, endives don't seem very green or leafy. That doesn't stop them from being packed full of nutrients, despite containing hardly any calories.  The endive the CDC is referring to here is the Belgian endive pictured on the right.

Endives are a great source of folate, vitamin K, choline, minerals, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as additional vitamins though they're found in much smaller amounts.

12 Mustard Greens 61.39

Bunch of Mustard Greens Against a Plain White BackdropMustard Greens have been shown to lower cholesterol, and they fall just short of collard greens and kale in this ability.  Like many green, leafy vegetables, mustard greens contain cancer-fighting agents, and they are second only to Brussels sprouts in glucosinolate, one such compound.

A terrific source of vitamins and minerals, and packing a strong peppery bite, mustard greens are great as a side dish or mixed in with other greens in a salad.

11 Turnip Greens 62.12

Basket of Turnips With Their Greens Still AttachedTurnip Greens can be rather bitter, but a major reason for this is the considerable amount of calcium they provide.  In fact, one cup of steamed turnip greens can provide 20% of your daily calcium requirements.  This is especially impressive when you take into consideration that calcium has far and away the highest daily requirement of all the micronutrients.

Calcium is not their only benefit, though.  Turnip greens still come packed with other minerals, vitamins, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

10 Collard Greens 62.49
Closeup of a Collard green leafSadly, cooking collard greens in bacon fat does not make them more healthy, only more fattening and delicious.  When cooking greens, the optimal method is always to steam them.  Boiling and other methods leach nutrients from them.  Heat tends to destabilize and destroy many vitamins, but the effect is not as pronounced when steaming vegetables.  In fact, steaming vegetables can increase the variety of helpful sulfur containing compounds.
9 Romaine Lettuce 63.48
Row of Lettuce Ready for Harvest

Everybody knows that romaine lettuce is far healthier than the relatively useless iceberg lettuce.  Or at least they do after reading that last sentence.  Romaine lettuce is a staple in most salads, so it's nice to see that this mild and fresh tasting lettuce is so nutrient rich.

Use romaine lettuce as a base for your salads, and then add other greens and herbs around it for a variety of exciting flavors.  Cilantro did not make this list, but it's still a very nutritious herb that pairs well with a little romaine.  Add in some leaf lettuce and one of the more "peppery" vegetables, such as mustard greens and you're off to a tasty and healthy start.  You don't need to rely on your vinaigrette to enhance the flavor of your salad!  Variety is the spice of life, after all.

8 Parsley 65.59

Plethora of ParsleyOne of the tastiest plants to make this list, parsley is the most popular herb in the world.  It's great as a seasoning or added to salads, but parsley can also be used in uncommon ways, such as adding it to a sandwich in place of lettuce.

Not just flavorful, parsley is noted for being rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and carcinogen neutralizing agents.  It has been also been associated with good heart health.

7 Leaf Lettuce 70.73

Leaf Lettuce CloseupLeaf lettuce is second only to Popeye's favorite in nutrient density among the most common green, leafy vegetables.  While spinach dominates in nearly every category, an NDS of 70.73 is nothing to sneeze at.  That's more than twice the NDS of broccoli.

Maybe parents should be telling their children to eat their lettuce, instead?

6 Chicory 73.36
Chicory on Burlap

The chicory family includes radicchio, escarole and cultivated dandelion (which has a more subtle flavor than the wild dandelion weeds).  The taste of each is similar, despite their differences in appearance, and each one is packed full of nutrients.

Beyond the usual vitamins and minerals, chicory is an excellent source of potassium, a valuable electrolyte.

5 Spinach 86.43

Spinach LeavesIt's no surprise to find spinach in the top five vegetable powerhouses.  A great source of calcium and vitamin K, spinach outstrips most green, leafy vegetables in nearly every nutrient category.

Long known for its versatility on the breakfast, lunch or dinner table, spinach is just as versatile as a nutrient delivery system.  Its well-rounded repertoire makes it a valuable addition to any meal.

4 Beet Greens 87.08
Beets with Greens at a Farmers Market

With the obvious exception of Soylent, most foods that end with the word "green" tend to be quite healthy, but none more so than beet greens.  The vibrant green colors of the leaves and deep reddish-purple of the stems and veins are our visual clues that these wonderful vegetables are packed with a variety of nutrients.

With a high concentration of iron, and more protein than most greens, beet greens contain sizable percentages of many of our daily requirements.  While their folate levels aren't overly impressive at 5% of the RDI, including one cup of beetroot with a serving of the greens can boost those levels to nearly 40% of the RDI.  Adding beetroots will also provide additional fiber, minerals, vitamin C and vitamin B6.

3 Chard 89.27
Swiss chard in a Variety of Colors

One of the prettier vegetables on the market, chard contains all of the carcinogen binding chemicals, bioflavonoids and phytonutrients we've come to expect out of our green, leafy vegetables, but with the addition of syringic acid.  Syringic acid is a nutrient that's been found to help regulate blood sugar levels.

Combine these amazing abilities with a nutrient density score of a whopping 89.27, and you've got yourself a vegetable that's not just pretty to look at, it's pretty darn good for you to eat it as well.

2 Chinese Cabbage 91.99
Chinese Cabbage

Like regular cabbage, only taller.  Oh, and also packed with an incredible amount of nutrients.  Chinese cabbage, or bok choy, contains very good amounts of 21 different nutrients.  This includes omega-3 fatty acids and even high concentrations of zinc.

Chinese cabbage is a great addition to any diet, but it's especially useful if you're looking for dietary sources of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories.

1 Watercress 100.00
Watercress

And the Winner Is!

Watercress tops off the list at #1 with the unmatched nutrient density score of 100.  You don't hear a lot of talk about watercress outside of the nutritionally well informed, but it's long been known as a superfood.  Despite being very low in calories, it contains a wide variety of nutrients, without going overboard on the vitamin K as many green, leafy vegetables do.  In fact, watercress doesn't go all out in any single ingredient.  Where it shines is in its  jack-of-all-trades nature.