The question of what food to eat and which ones to avoid has always been put to us. Even, according to a recent survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation, 80% of individuals feel confused about nutrition. Also, the most common American diet is energy-rich but at the same time low in beneficial nutrients.
However, with so many options available, how do you choose which to put first? We conducted the required research for you. In this article, we will discuss our top choices for the most nutrient-dense, high-value foods, as well as their health benefits and how to incorporate them into your diet.
So, let’s dive right in!
What is Nutrient Density?
When we talk about nutrient density, we’re referring to the level of beneficial nutrients found in a food per calorie or energy it provides. The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services define “nutrient-dense foods” as those that offer a significant amount of essential nutrients while being relatively low in calories. This means that these foods can provide a wealth of nutrients without contributing too many calories to your diet.
Foods high in nutrients are given preference. For example, despite having the same caloric content, an apple and a package of chips are not nutritionally equivalent. Compared to a chip package, the apple is the healthier option.
Among the additional advantages of eating nutrient-rich foods are the following:
- Nutrient-rich foods contain vitamins and minerals that support healthy skin, reducing the risk of skin problems such as acne and wrinkles.
- These foods are often high in fiber, improving digestive health and preventing constipation.
- They provide the body with the energy it needs to function optimally, reducing fatigue and boosting energy levels.
- They also contain vitamins and minerals that are important for brain health, helping to improve memory, focus, and overall cognitive function.
Top Nutrient-Rich Foods
As already mentioned, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber are just some of the many substances that the body needs to operate optimally. These minerals can be obtained through supplements, but a healthy diet rich in a wide range of whole foods is the best bet. Learn the top nutrient-rich foods below.
Our list couldn’t be complete without adding salmon as a nutrient-rich food. It has many nutrients mainly selenium which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, chemoprotective, and cardioprotective effects when consumed on a daily basis. Apart from this, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamin B complex, and vitamin D and astaxanthin which all have been proven for their different benefits for the human body.
A 100 grams fillet of salmon can provide you with the following nutrients.
|Salmon||Percentage of the daily required intake|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||2.3 grams|
|Vitamin B12||2.4 mcg||117% of the DV|
|Vitamin B6||1.3-1.7 mg||38% of the DV|
|Selenium||5.5mcg||75% of the DV|
|Niacin||16 mg||50% of the DV|
|Pantothenic acid||5 mg||30% of the DV|
|Thiamine||1.2 milligrams (mg)||28% of the DV|
|Phosphorus||700 mg||20% of the DV|
|Potassium||2600-3400mcg||13% of the DV|
To ensure your body is getting enough omega-3s, eating fatty seafood once or twice weekly is recommended. Grilling or baking salmon with herbs and spices is a great way to reap the health advantages of this fish. It’s great on avocado toast, but it also goes well in salads and spaghetti.
Because of their high nutrient density, whole eggs have been called “nature’s multivitamin.” as they contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, calcium, selenium, and the antioxidant vitamins A, D, E, and K. Choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are necessary for proper brain and nerve function, and eye health are also abundant in these foods.
They are a wonderful choice for those trying to watch their calorie intake due to their good protein content. (1)(2) Consuming eggs on a daily basis has been shown to have health benefits, including lowering triglycerides and the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. Contrary to popular belief, consuming up to seven eggs per week does not increase the chance of cardiovascular disease.
|Protein||13 g||13% of the DV|
|Fat||11 g||11% of the DV|
|Vitamin A||700-900 (IU)||6% of the DV|
|Vitamin D||600-800 (IU)||10% of the DV|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||1.1-1.3 mcg||15% of the DV|
|Vitamin B12||2.4 mcg||9% of the DV|
|Choline||425-550 mg||24% of the DV|
|Selenium||5.5mcg||22% of the DV|
|Phosphorus||700 mg||10% of the DV|
|Calcium||1,000-1,200 m||2% of the DV|
Eggs are versatile and can be fried, boiled, cooked poached, or baked according to your personal choice. It can be eaten scrambled or used in egg salad sandwiches for brunch.
3. Liver (Beef)
Beef liver is widely regarded as one of the healthiest meals you can eat. It contains a wide variety of beneficial nutrients, including Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Iron, Copper, Folate, and Zinc.
These nutrients found in the liver are fundamental to metabolic, immune, liver, skin, ocular, reproductive, and psychological well-being. Our modern diet is also typically deficient in these vital nutrients. A 100 gram of liver serving contains the following minerals and vitamins.
Beef liver, when eaten as part of a healthy diet, has been shown to have beneficial effects on health and well-being. Beef liver, however, is also quite high in cholesterol, so it’s best to consume it within limits, particularly if you already have elevated cholesterol or any other health issues.
Likewise, for people who eat foods from animal sources, incorporating a variety of plant-related nutrient-rich foods into your diet is essential to sustaining optimal health, whether you’re a long-time vegetarian or a beginner.
Spinach is an extremely nutritious green veggie. The vitamin A and vitamin C content is very high, and it also contains a good amount of folate, copper, and magnesium. Antioxidants, found in abundance in spinach, can help prevent free radicals from damaging your cells.
Regular consumption of spinach has been linked to improved metabolism, healthier skin and hair, and improved overall health. Eating more greens is recommended for diabetics because it lowers blood sugar levels.
|Amount||Percentage of the daily required intake|
|Fats Total||0.3 g||0 %|
|Carbs Total||3.8 g||1 %|
|Fibre||2.4 g||10 %|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 %|
|Vitamin A||210 %|
|Vitamin C||16 %|
|Magnesium||(when cooked)||19 %|
|Sodium||70 mg||3 %|
|Potassium||466 mg||13 %|
Although everyone knows that fresh greens are good for them, some people still don’t eat them because they don’t like the flavor or aren’t sure how to cook them properly.
If you don’t enjoy the flavor of them on their own, the challenge is finding creative ways to incorporate them into your dinners. Spinach instance, will take on the taste of whatever you put them in, so feel free to throw a bunch into your smoothie or stir them into your soup or spaghetti.
There aren’t a lot of foods that deserve the title of “superfood,” but chickpeas are definitely one of them. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, and calcium and belong to the family of legumes. In addition to being rich in manganese, magnesium, and phosphate, they also contain other vital minerals.
Having chickpeas on a daily basis has been linked to a reduced chance of developing chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, as well as improved digestion and managing blood sugar levels. Chickpeas, when prepared to a 1 cup (164 gram) serving size, provide,
|Niacin||51% of the Daily Value (DV)|
|Magnesium||19% of the DV|
|Copper||64% of the DV|
|Iron||26% of the DV|
|Zinc||23% of the DV|
|Phosphorus||22% of the DV|
|Vitamin B6||16% of the DV|
|Copper||64% of the DV|
|Thiamine||16% of the DV|
|Potassium||5% of the DV|
Chickpeas can be used in many different dishes, including hummus, salads, stews, and curries. They are also an excellent source of vegetarian protein for those who follow a plant-based diet. So, don’t forget to add chickpeas to your list of nutrient-rich foods to try!
Oatmeal’s popularity has risen significantly over the past 20 years as a result of the health advantages it provides. Complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein are abundant in oats which aid in maintaining steady blood sugar by slowing metabolism. Additionally, they are rich in vitamins B1 and B5, selenium in addition to iron and magnesium.
The nutritional value of 100 grams of oats is listed below.
|Manganese||191% of the daily value (DV)|
|Phosphorus||52 % of the DV|
|Magnesium||56% of the DV|
|Copper||24% of the DV|
|Iron||29% of the DV|
|Zinc||27% of the DV|
|Folate||11% of the DV|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamin)||45% of the DV|
|Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||9.07% of the DV|
The antioxidant avenanthramides is one of many found in oats. These substances may have beneficial effects, including lowering blood pressure. Regular consumption of oats may enhance blood sugar regulation and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Oats are multipurpose and can be used in a variety of foods, including porridge, cereal, and baked products. This gives you more options for incorporating them into your diet and reaping their nutritious benefits.
The antioxidants, calcium, potassium, folate, and fiber in broccoli are all above average. The chance of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some malignancies can all be lowered by consuming foods rich in phytonutrients.
Vitamin C and beta-carotene are two of the most important vitamins, both of which are found in broccoli and play a huge role in maintaining eye health. In reality, 100g of cooked broccoli contains enough vitamin C to meet 99% of the recommended daily allowance. Here are the key nutrients found in 100 grams of cooked broccoli
|Vitamin C||89.2 mg (99% of DV)|
|Vitamin K||101.6 mcg (113% of DV)|
|Vitamin A||623 IU (21%of DV )|
|Folate||63.4 mcg(16% of DV )|
|Calcium||40 mg (4% of DV)|
|Iron||0.7 mg (4% of DV)|
|Potassium||316 mg (7% of DV)|
|Manganese||0.2 mg (10% of DV)|
Broccoli can be eaten fresh, or cooked in a variety of methods including boiling, grilling, stir-frying, and steaming. However, broccoli loses many of its valuable minerals if it is overcooked. Because of this, consuming it fresh or gently steamed is recommended.
8. Sweet Potato.
Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-rich food that can provide a variety of health benefits when included in a balanced diet.
Vitamins A and C, calcium, and manganese are just a few of the many vitamins and minerals found in sweet potatoes. Due to their high content of nutrients, they are able to reduce inflammation. Despite their sweet taste, sweet potatoes actually have a negligible effect on blood sugar levels. Interestingly, they may help people with type 2 diabetes better manage their blood sugar.
In terms of calories and nutrients, 100 grams of baked sweet potato with skin contains,
|Vitamin A||21909 IU (384% of DV)|
|Vitamin C||17.4 mg (24% of DV)|
|Potassium||438 mg (15% of DV)|
|Manganese||0.3mg (14% of DV)|
|Vitamin B6||0.36mg (10% of DV)|
|Vitamin B5||0.8 mg (9% of DV)|
|Copper||0.2 mg (9% of DV)|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||1.7 mg (8% of DV)|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||1.2mg (6% of DV)|
|Thiamin (Vitamin B1)||0.1 mg (5% of DV)|
There is a wide range of recipes that call for sweet potatoes such as boiling, baking, mashed sweet potato, fries, soup, and salad.
Berries are a superfood that tastes great and does your body good. These tiny fruits are a great supplement to any diet because they are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the globe.
They are also perfect food for those over 50, as they are packed with essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. It can also aid in cholesterol reduction, skin health, and heart health improvement. A 100-gram serving of berries can give the following nutrients to the body.
|Dietary fiber||2.4 g (9% DV|
|Fat||0.3 g (0% DV)|
|Vitamin C||16% DV|
|Protien||0.7 g (1% DV)|
|Vitamin E||1% DV|
|Riboflavin||(vitamin B2): 3% DV|
|Vitamin B6||5% DV|
|Vitamin K||24% DV|
All of them are fantastic fruit for your health and your taste buds. You can eat them raw or chilled, throw them in a smoothie, toss them in the oven with some muffins or a cake, or spread them over some yogurt or cereal.
Avocados are a great source of beneficial lipids, fiber, vitamins C, E, K, and B, magnesium, potassium, and many more nutrients. adding it to the list of nutrient-rich foods on the planet.
What follows is the nutritional worth of 100 grams of avocado, expressed as a percentage of the RDI:
|Fiber||7 g (27% DV)|
|Vitamin C||10mg (17% DV)|
|Vitamin E||2.07 mg (10% of the DV)|
|Vitamin K||21 mcg (26% of the DV)|
|Riboflavin (B2)||10% of the DV|
|Niacin (B3)||1.74 mg (12% of the DV)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||28% of the DV|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||0.26 mg (15% of the DV)|
|Folate||81 mcg (20% of the DV)|
|Magnesium||29 mg (7% of the DV)|
|Potassium||485 mg (10% of the DV)|
|Copper||0.19 mg (21% of the DV)|
A nutritious diet rich in avocados has been shown to increase satiety, curb junk food cravings, lower blood pressure, and strengthen hair, skin, and nails. Avocados have been shown to aid in weight control, cardiovascular health, and aging.
Avocados are a versatile addition to any diet and can be eaten with a wide variety of dishes, including stews, salads, stir-fry, omelets, whole-grain toast, chickens, seafood, sandwiches, turkey burgers, vegetarian burgers, and more!
Can We Substitute Diet as a Nutrient-Rich Food With Supplements?
It is important to note that while a daily multivitamin supplement can be a convenient way to help meet daily nutrient requirements, it should not be used as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.
A varied and nutrient-rich diet is still the best way to obtain all the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimal health. because it not only provides us with the nutrients we need but also with other antioxidants and phytonutrients that can boost health. Supplements rarely contain these chemicals. Filling your meals with nutrient-rich foods is a superior method to get all the minerals you need.
By incorporating these nutrient-rich foods into your diet, you can ensure you get the maximum amount of essential nutrients while minimizing the number of calories you consume.
Tips for Healthy Diet.
You can find some useful basic advice below.
- Focus On Your Food. Always Focus on your food while eating as mindful eating involves recognizing when you’re satisfied and stopping eating to prevent overeating and improve dietary health. It has also been proven to reduce the incidence of binge eating.
- The Less Processed Foods The Better. Select whole, slightly processed foods because of the excess sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium that are commonly found in processed foods. You can lower your consumption of these unhealthy ingredients by opting for whole foods as much as possible.
- Maintain a healthy balance of carbs, protein, and nutritious fats in your diet. All three macronutrients need to be present in adequate amounts in a healthy diet. Learn more about its recommended dosage in this article here. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats are just some examples of what should make up a well-balanced diet. The vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in these meals are essential to good health.
- Don’t Forget Your Water. Staying hydrated is important for your health and can give you a mental and physical performance boost.
- Reduce Processed Foods. It’s fine to treat yourself once in a while, but you should try to restrict your consumption of foods that are high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium.
- Consult Specialist. Get the advice of a certified dietitian if you want to create a diet plan tailored to your specific requirements.
It’s important to see a method of maintaining a healthy diet that complements your individual needs and preferences. You can find some useful basic advice below:
Knowing what foods are the healthiest is essential for getting a variety of nutrients. You can supercharge your health and feel your best by sticking to a calorie limit and eating a wide variety of nutritious meals. Therefore, start experimenting with new recipes and meal plans promptly and enjoy the benefits of a nutrient-dense diet!