Nutrition

Top 10 Nutrient Dense Foods To Start Eating Today

A big part of proper nutrition is taking the time to make sure that the foods you eat are full of nutrition and are going to support a healthy body. While a large amount of weight control does come down to making sure you’re taking in the right number of calories, it’s the foods you eat that determines the type of bodyweight you lose as well as how you feel as you lose the weight. By focusing on the most nutrient dense foods possible, you’ll get the most nutrients in for the number of calories you consume.

To help get you started on the path to better nutrition, let’s take a look at the top ten nutrient dense foods that you should be focusing on.

KaleKale

Topping the list of most nutrient dense foods is kale. As far as greens go, you simply can’t beat kale. Not only is it a very rich source of antioxidants, but kale is also high in vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins, folic acid, iron, as well as magnesium. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Eating kale is almost akin to taking a multi-vitamin because it’s so rich in nutrients.

Whole EggsWhole Eggs

It’s time to start thinking twice before you toss the yolk of your egg. Too many people are in the habit of eating only egg whites because they think that the whole egg is too high in cholesterol. However as long as you have no pre-existing heart health concerns, eating one or two whole eggs as part of your balanced diet should pose no problem. Plus, most of the nutrition found in eggs is located in that yolk.

So what will you get from eggs? Eggs are an excellent source of protein, vitamin A, D, and E, along with folate, iron, zinc, and choline. Iron is an important nutrient to note because those who tend to fall short in this mineral will typically experience higher levels of fatigue on a day-to-day basis. By adding eggs to your diet, you can boost your endurance and keep up with your workout session. Eggs are also quick and easy to prepare, highly versatile, and very cost effective, so that’s another reason you’ll want to be adding them to your daily diet plan.

SalmonSalmon

When it comes to protein options, salmon takes the cake. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which most people aren’t getting enough of during the day and will help to combat depression, diabetes, inflammatory related conditions, as well as improving brain health. Along with these healthy fats, you’ll also get a high quality complete source of protein that’s sure to have you recovering quickly after a workout.

To reap the best benefits from salmon, choose wild caught salmon over farmed salmon as it’ll have a more favorable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

Chicken BreastChicken Breast

If you’re looking for a lower fat source of protein to help keep your calorie intake in check, chicken is a terrific source. Chicken will provide you with not only a full spectrum of amino acids, but in addition to that, vitamin B3, selenium, vitamin B6, phosphorus, choline, along with vitamin B12. The amino acid combination found in protein is also very important for optimal cardiac muscle health. Since it’s low in saturated fat, that too lends well to keeping your heart in top shape.

GarlicGarlic

While not considered a ‘food’ per say, garlic is an excellent addition to your diet plan. This ingredient can quickly turn any bland dish into an excellent meal without adding unwanted fat and calories. What’s more is that garlic is very nutritionally dense. Most people don’t realise that you’ll actually take in a good dose of nutrients when serving garlic. It’ll provide you with some vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, as well as selenium. Plus, it also contains allicin, which can help to lower blood pressure as well as bad cholesterol levels in the body. As far as heart health is concerned, you just can’t beat garlic.

Those who have a high intake of garlic on a regular basis tend to show lower rates of heart disease, may help lower their risk factor for cancer, and generally show stronger immune systems as well. This keeps them feeling their best on a day to day basis.

OystersOysters

Oysters are often overlooked when it comes to ways to get your protein in. However it might just be time to start considering them again. Oysters are a great source of amino acids but more importantly, are also very rich in zinc. Especially for men who often fall short in zinc, this is a key mineral you need to pay attention to. Lack of zinc can lead to everything from low energy levels to poor sexual function.

Oysters are also a great source of copper, vitamin B12, along with vitamin D, which is a hard nutrient to take in elsewhere. You’ll find very few foods that contain vitamin D, so oysters make it easier to get your necessary intake in.

BerriesBerries

Whether your favorite is raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries, berries are a food you’ll want to have in your diet plan. Compared to other fruits, berries are relatively low in total sugar content, making them great for combating hunger and keeping your energy level stable. Additionally, they’re also loaded with fiber, so this low sugar-high fiber combination is perfect for keeping your insulin levels in check. You’ll find you get great satiety from eating berries, making them a smart way to combat any sweet tooth craving.

Berries are also very rich in antioxidant compounds, which help reduce the oxidative damage occurring in the body. Blueberries in particular are well-known to support a healthy brain, while cranberries are known to help reduce urinary tract infections. Blackberries and raspberries are very rich in fiber content, so will work great for improving heart health while keeping you feeling as satisfied as possible.

Dark ChocolateDark Chocolate

That’s right, chocolate! You no longer need to feel guilty when eating this food. Dark chocolate can be an excellent addition to any diet when used in moderation. While you definitely don’t want to be eating a full chocolate bar daily, one square as a treat after dinner can actually serve you well. Dark chocolate is very rich in antioxidants, containing even more than berries do. Given its high cocoa concentration, it is relatively low in sugar as well. It’ll also provide you with an excellent source of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, as well as manganese.

Adding chocolate to your diet could also help induce a feeling of calmness as well as it causes a release of serotonin. This is a specific neurotransmitter that can help ease stress quickly. It’ll also help to boost blood flow and lower blood pressure, and may also help to improve brain health as well. So treat yourself once in a while and know that you’re actually on track with your health plan.

SpinachSpinach

While kale has received much attention lately for the health benefits it provides, don’t forget about spinach as well. Spinach is a very powerful source of iron as well, so will be an important food for anyone who’s leading an active lifestyle and may not consume as much red meat in their plan. Spinach is also high in zinc, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, as well as magnesium and potassium, which are two key minerals needed for proper blood pressure levels.

Given the fact that spinach is a rich source of calcium, it’s a terrific food to eat to promote strong bones, especially if you aren’t eating much dairy in your diet plan. Spinach is also loaded with antioxidants and can help lower the level of inflammation in the body.

Chia SeedsChia Seeds

Finally, the last great food to include in your diet more regularly is chia seeds. This seed is high in fiber coming in at 11 grams per one ounce serving, making it excellent for controlling hunger level while also keeping blood glucose levels stabilized. In addition to that, it also contains a strong dose of calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, along with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, making it a very balanced food.   It’s also going to provide zinc along with B vitamins, ensuring that you keep your energy levels up. Try adding some ground chia seeds into your next protein smoothie or sprinkling some into your baking.

So there you have the 10 most nutrient dense foods that you’ll want to include in your meal plan. Remember that including a high amount of variety in your diet is also important as this will help ensure that you cover all your bases as far as your vitamin and mineral intake is concerned.

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Shaw Academy

Updated: Sep 3, 2015

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