Top 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods
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Looking for ways to make your diet healthier, but confused about where to start? Let us simplify it a bit for you, and talk about nutrient-dense foods. The meaning is simple – foods rich in nutrients.Nutrients are the nourishment we need, to maintain life and growth. They are molecules in the food, which all organisms need to function properly. Nutrients are of 2 main types:
- Macronutrients – These provide energy to the body, and are its building blocks. They are needed in relatively large amounts. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins come in this category.
- Micronutrients – They include vitamins and minerals, and are needed in smaller quantities, but are equally essential.
Have you heard of the ANDI score? The Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) is a scoring system for foods based on their nutrient content. It considers 34 different nutrient parameters, and was developed by Joel Fuhrman, MD. The index ranks foods on a scale between 1000 (for kale and other greens) down to 0.6 (for cola drinks). So a higher ANDI score means that the food delivers more nutrients per calorie. However, this is just one of the many nutritional scales available, and has come under some criticism. It should not be the only factor while looking at nutrient-rich foods.
Try to include the following nutrient-dense foods in your diet:
- Leafy greens – Do not limit yourself to spinach and fenugreek (methi). There is a world of nutritious green veggies out there waiting to impart their goodness to your diet. Watercress, collard greens, and kale have consistently been ranked high in terms of their nutritional value. And why just limit yourself to veggies of the land! Seaweed is one of the healthiest vegetables from the sea. Found in sushi and in dried form, experiment with these healthy options to add variety to your diet.
2. Berries – Fruits in all forms are extremely beneficial. However, these pint-sized fruits are famous for their antioxidant powers, and have been linked to increased brain power, cancer prevention, and even reduced blood pressure. So don’t be afraid of the mid-morning berry snack anymore! Gorge on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, cranberries, Indian gooseberries (amla), and of course ber, or Indian jujube.
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3. Broccoli – Broccoli can help solve your vitamin D deficiency, and has cholesterol-lowering benefits as well. It belongs to the cruciferous vegetables family, which also includes cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
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5. Mushrooms – Whether you like shiitake, button, or portobello, mushrooms should be included in your diet, as they are rich in micronutrients and fight inflammation, amongst other benefits.
Smart and healthy eating is not difficult. So which nutrient-dense food did you try today?