Ensuring we eat a balanced diet daily can often be a struggle, as households try to incorporate all the nutrients a human body needs in each vital meal.

Sometimes you might crave a plate of carbohydrates where no amount of cheese could be enough, but you feel guilty as your beige dish has no vegetables included.

However, as dietitians and foodie experts continue to discover the latest tips and tricks of what the majority of families need for a healthy lifestyle, this one food could be the answer.

Research published in the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention journal has shown that one vegetable has ranked as the “world’s healthiest food.”

5 ways to save money on your weekly food shop

What is the 'world's healthiest food'?

In the study Preventing Chronic Disease, watercress has been revealed as the healthiest vegetable you can consume.

This green leafy goodness might surprise some, but a team from William Paterson University in New Jersey ranked the plant as one of 47 “powerhouse” foods, reports The Sun.

To carry out the research, the scientists scored each fruit and veg on their “protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, thiamine and riboflavin content.”

The amount of niacin, folate, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K was also analysed.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Do you buy watercress as part of your weekly shop?Do you buy watercress as part of your weekly shop? (Image: Getty)

Why is watercress described as the ‘world’s healthiest food’?

According to the Express, registered dietician for MyFitnessPal, Stephanie Nelson, commented: “Watercress is high in vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin A.

“It is also part of the cruciferous vegetable family, alongside broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

“Cruciferous vegetables have powerful antioxidants in them that help prevent cell damage that might cause cancer and other diseases.”

At ASDA, an 85g bag of "strong and peppery" watercress currently costs £1.

Other produce such as spinach, broccoli, parsley, pumpkin and romaine lettuce were also ranked highly in the study.

Meanwhile, the “healthiest” fruits were found to be red pepper, pumpkin, tomato, lemon and strawberry.

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Study author Jennifer Di Noia, an associate professor of sociology at William Paterson University, said: "Powerhouse fruits and vegetables are strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk.

"This includes cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and some cancers.

"The scores may help focus consumers on their daily energy needs, and how best to get the most nutrients from their foods.

"The rankings provide clarity on the nutrient quality of the different foods and may aid in the selection of more nutrient-dense items within the powerhouse group."