Nutrient dense foods offer the most bang for your buck when it comes to one-stop-eating. Knowing the most high value foods can help with meal planning and nutrition strategies. See what foods made our cut.
1. Salmon :
Not all fish are created equal.
Salmon and other fatty types of fish contain the most omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s are extremely important for optimal functioning of your body. They’re linked to improved well-being and a lower risk of many serious diseases.
Although salmon is mainly prized for its beneficial composition of fatty acids, it also packs massive amounts of other nutrients.
A 100-gram serving of wild Atlantic salmon contains about 2.2 grams of omega-3s, along with lots of high quality animal protein and ample vitamins and minerals, including large amounts of magnesium, potassium, selenium, and B vitamins.
It’s a good idea to eat fatty fish at least once or twice a week to get all the omega-3s your body needs.
Studies show that people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart disease, dementia, depression, and many other common health conditions.
Salmon tastes good and is fairly simple to prepare. It also tends to make you feel full with relatively few calories.
If you can, choose wild salmon instead of farmed. It is more nutritious, has a better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, and is less likely to contain contaminants.
2. Kale :
Of all the leafy greens, kale is the king.
It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and various bioactive compounds.
Kale is especially high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K1. It also contains large amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and manganese. A one cup serving has only 9 calories.
Kale may be even healthier than spinach. Both are very nutritious, but kale is lower in oxalates, substances that can bind minerals like calcium in your intestine, preventing them from being absorbed.
Kale and other greens are also high in various bioactive compounds, including isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol, which have been shown to fight cancer in test-tube and animal studies.
3. Seaweed :
The sea has more than just fish. It also contains massive amounts of vegetation.
There are thousands of different plant species in the ocean, some of which are very nutritious. Usually, they are referred to collectively as seaweed.
Seaweed is popular in dishes such as sushi. Many sushi dishes include a type of seaweed known as nori, which is used as an edible wrapping.
In many cases, seaweed is even more nutritious than land vegetables. It’s particularly high in minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
It’s also loaded with various bioactive compounds, including phycocyanins and carotenoids. Some of these substances are antioxidants with powerful anti-inflammatory capacities.
But seaweed really shines in its high content of iodine, a mineral your body uses to make thyroid hormones.
Just eating a high iodine seaweed like kelp a few times per month can give your body all the iodine it needs.
If you don’t like the taste of seaweed, you can also take it in supplement form. Dried kelp tablets are very cheap and loaded with iodine.
4. Garlic :
Garlic really is an amazing ingredient.
It can turn all sorts of bland dishes delicious, and it’s very nutritious.
It’s high in vitamins C, B1, and B6, as well as calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium.
Garlic is also high in beneficial sulfur compounds such as allicin.
Many studies suggest that allicin and garlic may lower blood pressure as well as total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also helps raise HDL (good) cholesterol, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease down the line.
Garlic also has various cancer-fighting properties. Some older studies suggest that people who eat a lot of garlic have a much lower risk of several common cancers, especially cancers of the colon and stomach.
5. Shellfish :
Many sea animals are high in nutrients, but shellfish may be among the most nutritious of all.
Clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels are commonly consumed types of shellfish.
Clams are among the best sources of vitamin B12 in existence, with 100 grams of clams supplying more than 16 times the RDI. They are also loaded with vitamin C, various B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and iron.
Oysters are also very nutritious. Only 100 grams supply 600% of the RDI for zinc, 200% of the RDI for copper, and large amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and several other nutrients.
Though shellfish are among the world’s most nutritious foods, most people rarely consume them.