Have you ever wanted to get more nutrients out of your daily caloric intake? These are the top 10 life-changing nutrient dense foods of health and fitness experts worldwide that you need to start implementing to your diet to optimize your health.
This post is all about nutrient dense foods.
Trying to fit in all of the recommended vitamins and minerals into your diet to achieve “optimal health” while still staying in a lower caloric range can seem nearly impossible. If you’re anything like me, you’re doing all the research you can on every food to find out what foods will give you the highest amount of nutrients for the least amount of calories. As someone who is a personal trainer and has been down that road of research for many years now, I have compiled a list of the top ten most nutrient dense foods to share with you that my clients are seeing unbelievable results with.
You are going to become enlightened on all of the top nutrient dense foods including energy dense foods, most nutrient dense vegetables, most nutrient dense foods per calorie, most nutrient dense foods for survival, and so much more.
Once you’ve reviewed all of these nutrient dense foods, you are no longer going to wonder what to buy at the grocery store to ensure that you and your family members are receiving the highest and most optimal levels of nutrition possible.
NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS:
Salmon is one of my favorite forms of protein for two primary reasons: its leanness and nutritional value. Salmon is one of the leanest forms of protein and is very easy to find in grocery stores and is also on the menu at most restaurants. It’s very easy to enjoy a night out with friends while staying healthy and hitting your nutrient goals.
Salmon is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the optimal function of your entire body. Not to mention salmon contains large amounts of selenium, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. Omega-3s are fantastic for helping lower the risk of many serious illnesses and diseases including heart disease, depression and even dementia. If given the option, it’s better to choose wild salmon as opposed to farmed because it is more nutritional in value and contains a better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
One four ounce serving of boneless, raw salmon contains only 166 calories, 6.72 grams of fat, 24.5 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbs, and all of the best micronutrients you could possibly want to put in your body.
Leafy Greens: specifically seaweed and kale
While it is no secret that leafy greens are fantastic for you to eat and are also some of the lowest calorie foods on the planet, there are two that stand out amongst them: kale and seaweed. Seaweed is fantastic for so many reasons. Unlike regular leafy greens, this ocean vegetable not only contains several important minerals such as iron, manganese, calcium and magnesium, but it also contains bioactive compounds, including carotenoids and phycocyanins. Kale and seaweed also serve as really powerful anti-inflammatory foods due to their antioxidant content.
While leafy greens are commonly added to foods and are even the main part of a salad, if you are given the opportunity to choose make sure to choose either kale or seaweed as the base to receive the extra nutrient boost you’re looking for when choosing a healthy food option.
I know you’re probably thinking wait…what? Yes, you read that right, garlic is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet – and here’s why.
Garlic is abundant in vitamins B1, B6, C, potassium, manganese, selenium and copper. Garlic also contains allicin which has been proven to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure while increasing the good cholesterol, HDL. This has also been shown to help potentially reduce the risk of heart disease for this very reason. Not to mention it also has cancer fighting properties. Older studies that have been done with garlic have shown that people who have eaten a lot of garlic have a much lower risk of several common cancers including colon and stomach cancer.
One clove of garlic contains 4 calories, no fat, 0.2g of protein and about 1 gram of carbs. It is truly amazing how great the nutritional value of garlic is while having such a low calorie amount. Not to mention garlic is used in so many dishes to add a great pop of flavor. Maybe that cheesy garlic bread isn’t so bad for you after all…just kidding 😉
While seafood is known to have amazing nutritional value, shellfish are known to be at the top of that list. Clams, for example, is one of the best sources of vitamin B12 in existence. They have a crazily abundant amount of potassium, iron and vitamin C. Oysters are great for zinc, copper and vitamin D to name a few.
Clams, oysters, mussels and scallops are the most commonly consumed shellfish. One ounce of cooked clams without the shells are about 50 calories, have 2 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of protein. Fish are a staple form of protein, especially for those looking for the leanest forms of protein, and also are a powerhouse when it comes to having incredible essential vitamins and minerals.
While it is no secret that meat is extremely important for a healthy and balanced diet, liver will blow your mind with the nutritional content it has. One 100 gram serving of beef liver contains more than 600 percent of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin A, more than 700% of the daily value for copper and more than one thousand percent of the daily value for Vitamin B12, this source of protein is unmatched in nutritional value.
One ounce of uncooked beef liver contains about 40 calories, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of carbs and 5.7 grams of protein. Liver is fantastic not only for it’s nutritional content but also that it is low in calorie and can be cooked a variety of ways, just like many of these nutritionally dense foods are. Eating liver is a great way to switch up the protein options in the house and create a more complete and balanced diet.
POTATOES! I bet you weren’t expecting this one either, were you?
Trust me, neither was I.
As it turns out, potatoes, specifically sweet potatoes, have a little bit of every nutrient you need. It has been proven that people can live for a very long time just eating potatoes. Magnesium, copper, iron, potassium, vitamin C and most B vitamins are abundant in potatoes. Not to mention that potatoes have been rated as one of the most filling foods you can eat. Compared to other foods, potatoes are ranked the highest in satiety value.
One five inch sweet potato contains about 112 calories, almost no fat, 26 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein. These are an amazing source of carbohydrates not only because of their nutritional content, but also because they are absolutely delicious and can be made in so many different ways, you will never get tired of eating them. I know none of my clients or family members haven’t. My favorite way to eat these are cut up and thrown in the air fryer with light seasoning to make healthy homemade sweet potato fries. If you do not have an air fryer, these fries can also be baked and turn out fantastic also.
Berries are unbelievably abundant in antioxidants. They are oftentimes referred to as nightshades. Berries help improve memory, lower blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol. Blueberries have even been shown to help fight cancer.
One cup of berries contains 48 calories, 0.43 grams of fat, 11.5g of carbs and about 1 whole gram of protein. Berries are a fantastic low-calorie snack that are packed with essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy diet. Berries are wonderful to eat on their own in the morning, before a workout, or are even fantastic to have as a late night snack to help satisfy any sweet tooth craving you may have. Trust me, I deal with these cravings daily. My clients love adding them to yogurt, homemade fruit smoothies and even salads to provide an extra burst of flavor and variety.
While people are oftentimes hesitant to eat eggs in fear of having too high of cholesterol, eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat for several reasons. They have even been referred to as nature’s multivitamin for the crazy nutritional content it has.
Eggs, specifically egg yolks, are high in vitamins, minerals, lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help with improving eye health. Eggs are known to help aid in weight loss by having a high amount of quality protein and healthy fat. Eggs are very cheap and abundant in stores everywhere, making eggs that much more loveable.
One large egg yolk contains 55 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, a half a gram of carbs and almost 3g of protein. Egg yolks are known for containing some of the healthiest fats you can possibly eat on this planet, and are a key part of the ketogenic diet as the egg contains a fantastic protein to fat ratio.
Nuts, just like eggs, have gotten a bad reputation for having a higher fat content, but they are the best kinds of fat you can put into your body.
Nutritious, crunchy, filling and yummy, nuts can be wonderful to include in your diet as long as they are in moderation, just like anything else! They are a fantastic source of fiber, plant protein and healthy fats. Not only do they contain an abundant amount of healthy fats, they also are high in minerals such as calcium, plant iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium to name a few. Nuts have been proven to help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk for things like heart disease and diabetes. While they are higher in calorie, it’s great to set aside a small amount of nuts to have as a midday snack or addition to a salad or favorite dish. Oftentimes almonds are paired with steamed green beans with a protein source for an additional pop of flavor and nutrients. I love having walnuts and pecans in salads and I love to eat a few cashews or almonds before working out to have a good source of clean energy to help fuel a fantastic workout.
One 30 piece serving of mixed nuts contains about 170 calories, 15 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein. This yummy snack can be eaten alone or can be added to several dishes to add the extra bit of vitamins and minerals to create a more wholesome meal or snack to help rejuvenate during the day.
If you’ve never heard of quinoa, don’t feel bad. I had no clue about this nutritional gem for a long time. However, after today, this amazing food will be a stranger to you no more.
Quinoa is technically a seed but is classified as a whole grain. It is naturally gluten free and has in recent years become more prominent in restaurants. Not only is it amazing to have in your house, but you can eat out at restaurants without a single ounce of guilt; knowing that you are putting one of the best foods on this planet in your body.
Quinoa is better than rice, having twice the protein and about 5 grams more of fiber than the same amount of white rice. Not only is it healthier for you, but it will also fill you up faster and keep you fuller for longer. You would need less of this food to get the same satisfaction, making your portion sizes smaller and more calorie-conservative.
One cup of cooked quinoa has 229 calories, 3.55 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and 42 grams of carbs. While it is higher on the carbohydrate end of things, this is one of the healthiest forms of carbohydrates you can eat, it contains a substantial amount of protein and provides generous nutritional benefits. Before thinking of chips, cereal or fries for carbs, try switching to quinoa for a delicious variety.
THIS POST WAS ALL ABOUT NUTRIENT DENSE FOOD.
Other posts you’ll love reading: