Superfoods, nutrient-dense or nutritious foods, are often considered strange foods to us, foods that we don't necessarily find easily and that sometimes have funny or hard-to-pronounce names. The truth is, when it comes to food, most of the time the simplest and cheapest options are the ones that provide us with the nutrients we need to thrive.
What are nutrient-dense foods?
Simply put, nutrient-dense food is a food that provides a large number of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds and is not excessive in calories. For example, green leafy vegetables are considered a nutrient-dense option because they contain many nutrients in a small number of calories.
On the other hand, potato chips or plain white sugar may be more calorie dense, but provide very few, if any, nutrients.
While we could do a worldwide search for the next "best" superfood, what we want to focus on is foods that are easy to find and available to many of us, no matter where we live.
Nutrient-dense foods to eat daily
So, we are sharing 25 daily foods that are also super high in beneficial nutrients.
Almonds are actually an incredibly nutritious seed that is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. They help with blood sugar control, support heart health, and provide a feeling of fullness that in turn helps with weight management.
Bonus Tip: Activate your nuts and seeds for increased bioavailability of nutrients.
How to eat: raw as a snack, cut into salads / on top of desserts, such as almond flour for baking, almond butter on toast, homemade almond milk.
As the common proverb says "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", apples are one of the broadest and healthiest fruits available. They are very rich in pectin, a prebiotic fiber that helps feed the good bacteria in the intestine.
They are also linked to a lower rate of type 2 diabetes and contain an impressive number of beneficial antioxidants.
How to eat: sliced on their own or with a little nut butter, in low-sugar desserts, in salads, with overnight oats.
Arugula, also known as arugula, is a cruciferous vegetable with an impressive nutritional profile. It has a spicy flavor that is softened by adding an acid like lemon.
Arugula is rich in vitamin K which is important for blood clotting and bone health, as well as vitamins A, C, folate, and calcium. As part of the cruciferous family, it also helps reduce the risk of cancer.
How to eat: in salad, on pizza, on your pasta, making pesto, in soups and smoothies.
This delicious veggie comes with a nutritious punch. Just half a cup contains 57% of the RDA for vitamin K, 34% folate, 18% vitamin A, and 12% vitamin C.
How to eat: baked, steamed, in salads, breakfast, in snacks.
Avocados are one of our favorite nutrient-dense foods. Rich in potassium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados are highly anti-inflammatory and can help lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Not only that, but eating avocados with other foods increases your antioxidant absorption up to 15 times.
How to eat: in smoothies, salads, sauces, spreads, with eggs, desserts, instead of mayonnaise.
An essential part of the Mediterranean diet, beans are one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet. They are rich in fiber that helps balance blood sugar levels, increase feelings of fullness, and help you lose weight.
Beans and lima beans can be harder to digest for most people, while chickpeas, black beans, and adzuki beans can be easier.
Cooking Tip: For better digestibility and nutrient availability, soak beans for 24-48 hours and add kombu seaweed while cooking.
Bee pollen, one of the most nutrient-dense foods
Bee pollen, the main food for the hive, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It contains more than 200 beneficial compounds, is a complete protein, and has an impressive profile of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, as well as antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Be careful if you are allergic to bees, pollen, or honey.
How to eat: Cover yogurt / cereal, add to smoothies, sauces, desserts and bars.
Beetroot / Betabel
Red, earthy, and sweet beets are definitely one of our favorite versatile vegetables. In addition to containing many vitamins and minerals, beets are a superfood to help control high blood pressure and improve athletic performance.
These benefits can be attributed to its nitrate content in the diet which helps to dilate blood vessels and increase oxygen refreshment.
How to eat: in salads, roasts, in smoothies, desserts, soups, garnishes.
When you think of blueberries, antioxidants are most likely the first thing to come to mind, and that's because blueberries contain one of the highest amounts of those beneficial compounds of all fruits and vegetables.
Anthocyanins specifically give blueberries their beautiful color and can be attributed to most of their benefits, including helping to control blood sugar, protect against heart disease, and reduce DNA damage.
How to eat: Add on top of breakfast, snacks, salads, yogurt, oatmeal, in smoothies, homemade jams, and sauces.
Most of us would cringe at the mere mention of broccoli, but this amazing cruciferous vegetable is packed with vitamins, minerals, and many beneficial compounds. One of them is glucosinolates that can offer protection against several types of cancer, including breast, prostate and lung.
How to eat: roasted, with sauces, in salads, pasta dishes, sauces, soup, stews, etc.
Another delicious cruciferous vegetable is cauliflower. It is high in fiber, vitamins C, K, B6, and folic acid. It is also the perfect alternative for making low carb breads and crusts and is a delicious and healthy alternative to rice.
How to eat: Roasted with tahini sauce, in soups, salads, sauces, instead of rice, to make the GF crust.
These tiny seeds date back to the Aztecs and Mayans who used chia seeds to gain strength and endurance. In fact, the word "chía" is an ancient Mayan word that means strength.
Chia seeds are an incredible source of fiber, omega-3s, calcium, and iron and are known to help promote good gut health.
How to eat: soak for better absorption, in smoothies, pudding, with overnight oats, in baked as egg replacement, chia water, over fruits, etc.
Yes, we know they should have been part of the bean family, but our special love for hummus gave chickpeas their own place.
Chickpeas, rich in fiber, protein, and iron, help control blood sugar levels, are great for heart, hormone regulation, and aid detoxification and weight loss. They are also wonderful for gut health and are relatively inexpensive to buy.
How to eat: in sauces, salads, soups, curries, falafel, roasted as an appetizer, in desserts, hummus, etc.
Is there something the bogeyman can't solve? Used in anything from foods to toothpaste to deodorants and moisturizers, coconut has gained a lot of popularity in recent years.
Coconut water, coconut milk, sugar, cream, jam, and even vinegar are some coconut products that have hit store shelves, but none are more popular than coconut oil. Coconut oil contains what are known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are used as a quick source of energy and are not stored by the body.
How to eat: in desserts, ice creams and popsicles, milk, curries, cakes, hot drinks, coconut water, creams, smoothies, etc.
If there is one food that tops the charts in terms of pleasure and nutrition, it is definitely chocolate.
High-quality chocolate is an incredible source of antioxidants (higher than blueberries), as well as minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium.
It helps protect your body from oxidation, acts as food for your healthy gut bacteria, and is also rich in sulfur, the "beauty nutrient." Just make sure you pick a 70% + one.
How to eat: in pastries, desserts, hot or cold drinks and pure chocolate with 70% or more of good quality cocoa.
Eggs are without a doubt one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. In terms of biological value (BV) or the percentage of protein that is absorbed by an organism, eggs rank near the top of the table.
They are rich in many nutrients, especially choline, a B vitamin found in egg yolks. Choline is very important for the structure of cell membranes, as well as for the nervous system and the brain. It is also a nutrient that many of us do not have enough of. Just 2 eggs provide you with 50% of your daily requirement.
How to eat: boil, poach, fry, bake, frittata, tortillas, quiche, in pastries and desserts, salads, stir fries.
Flax seeds are generally associated with women's hormonal health, and for good reason. They contain plant compounds called lignans, which are weak plant-based estrogens that may help reduce the risk of breast cancer for some women, as well as offer other health benefits. They are also rich in fiber and omega 3s, and are known to help lower high cholesterol and benefit cardiovascular health.
For the body to absorb them, flax seeds must be ground, and since they are prone to oxidation, be sure to store any ground flax in an airtight container in the refrigerator once opened.
How to eat: on top of oatmeal, yogurt, in smoothies, salads, in pastries and as an egg replacement.
Garlic, one of the oldest natural remedies used by many ancient civilizations, is also one of the most studied with a lot of scientific research to back up its benefits.
As one of the strongest natural antimicrobials, it helps fight the common cold, as well as lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and can even aid in heavy metal detoxification.
Cooking Tip: Mince the garlic 10 minutes before adding it to any dish. This allows its main active compound, allicin, to be produced.
How to eat: Add to salads, soups, sauces, pasta dishes, crusts, and in many recipes as a flavor enhancer.
A powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger has been used by athletes to help relieve muscle pain, and by women for menstrual pain. It is also known as a natural remedy to help with nausea, nausea, and stomach aches.
Most of the beneficial effects can be attributed to its main active compound, gingerol.
How to eat: tea, in smoothies and drinks, soups, sauces, green juices, salads, in the kitchen to add flavor.
Hemp (not to be confused with marijuana) are the crunchy seeds of the hemp plant that are generally hulled to give creamy, soft, and earthy hemp hearts, but are still often referred to as hemp seeds.
Hemp seeds have the ideal 1: 3 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. They are also an incredible source of highly bioavailable plant-based protein and contain all the essential amino acids, making them an incredible addition to vegan or vegan diets. vegetarian
How to eat: on top of salads, yogurt, oatmeal, cereals, to make granola, desserts, in smoothies and sauces and soups.
Kale / Kale
Truly one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet, just one cup of kale provides you with over 200% of the RDA for vitamin A, 135% vitamin C, and nearly 700% vitamin K, plus many others. vitamins and minerals such as manganese, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6.
Cooking Tip: Many people give up on kale as it can be quite difficult to chew and tasteless on its own. The key to making kale taste great is massaging the leaves with a little olive oil until tender, then continue with your recipe.
How to eat: In salads, smoothies, soups, like French fries, in stews, pesto, stir fries.
Kefir, also known as Bulgarian, is a fermented milk drink that originated in Eastern Europe. It is much more powerful than yogurt in terms of probiotic content, which makes it wonderful for the digestive system.
How to eat: with fruits, in smoothies, desserts, sauces.
One of the richest sources of vitamin C, lemons add a delicious, nutritious, and refreshing boost to any recipe. They are an incredible source of antioxidants and lemon peels are known to have a compound called "limonene" that is being investigated in cancer prevention.
How to eat: in dressings, sauces, sauces, smoothies and drinks.
While regular honey has its benefits, native New Zealand manuka honey tops the charts in terms of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. Manuka honey has been used successfully to help people with gastric ulcers, and it is also used topically to speed up wound healing.
How to eat: add to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, desserts, sauces, dressings.
Did you know that there are more than 14,000 different varieties of mushrooms?
While most of them are not edible, the ones that are have an incredible health profile. They contain many nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, iron, zinc, folate, manganese, potassium, copper, and some B vitamins. They are also one of the few foods that contain vitamin D (if grown in the sun).
How to eat: in soups, salads, use as buns, hamburgers, in stews.
Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates.