There are some foods that really pack a big punch when it comes to their nutrient content, especially when you consider the number of calories in them. Some also have compounds within that are unique to them.
Here are 11 nutrition-jammed foods:
1. The Yolk of an Egg
For a long time it was considered prudent to just eat the egg white because egg yolks are high in cholesterol. Our understanding of cholesterol has now improved and we now know that eggs are, in fact, good for us. In fact, if you throw out the yolk, there is not much point in eating the whites as they are pretty much protein and not much else. The egg yolk is the superfood in this equation.
Studies have shown that the cholesterol in food has little bearing on cholesterol levels within your bloodstream. Along these lines eggs have been completely vindicated - they will NOT raise your chances of developing heart disease. In fact, there are not many foods that can hold a candle to eggs when it comes to nutrient density.
- Lots of protein - and top quality complete protein at that
- Zeaxanthine and Lutein - both antioxidants help to prevent the degeneration of your eyes
- A number of vitamins and minerals
- Choline - essential for the health of your brain - eggs are one of the best sources.
Eggs do also make you feel fuller for longer and give you energy to face the day. In studies, eggs have been proven the perfect breakfast food for those wanting to lose weight.
Look for free range chickens or those that have been enriched with Omega-3's.
We know that garlic makes food taste great. What you may not know is that it is extremely good for you. A lot of research has been done in terms of its effects when it comes to the cardiovascular system:
It can reduce the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, helps make blood less "sticky" (so that your chances of developing a blood clot and thus stroke are lowered); and blood pressure can also be normalized.
It also has a strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal function. Allicin - the compound that gives garlic its strong taste has been proven capable of killing MRSA - a Staphylococcus superbug infection. This is especially important in light of the number of antibiotic resistant bugs there are today.
It is better to eat the real deal rather than to rely on supplements.
There is a reason that animals in the wild rip the gut out of a kill - they want to get at the organs first. Organs are the most nutritious foods. Our ancestors knew that as well. They were not as fussy about what parts of a kill they ate.
Of all the organs, the liver has the most nutrients.
In just one portion - 100g - of beef liver there is:
- Almost 7 times as much vitamin A as RDA guidelines suggest
- Twice as much vitamin B2 as RDA guidelines suggest
- As much as 12 times as much vitamin B12 that RDA guidelines suggest
- 7 times as much copper
- Significant amounts of B3, B6, Folate, etc.
If you really want to follow the diet that evolution prepared us for, organ meat must be on your list. Even if you have only one serving of liver a week, you will substantially boost the nutritional value of your diet.
This may come as a bit of a surprise but kale is very nutritious, especially when you consider its low calorie count. One serving contains just 50 calories and no more than 10 grams of carbohydrates. But in terms of your recommended daily allowance of vitamins, one serving (100 grams) can provide you with your vitamin K1, vitamin C and your Vitamin A ration and still have more left to spare. It can also provide significant levels of Potassium and Calcium.
Looking at the bioactive components, there are significant cancer fighting properties in Kale. It is a better choice than Spinach as it contains no oxalates to interfere with the absorption of the calcium.
5. Coconut Oil
This is the queen when it comes to oils to use for cooking. It is pretty much entirely saturated fats and thus withstands high cooking temperatures well. Its fatty acids are primarily MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) which not only help you feel fuller but also rev up metabolism. Lauric Acid - a high quality MCT found in coconut oil - has also been shown to have a significant antimicrobial action and can thus help in fighting pathogens.
Using it can help you to reduce your risk factors when it comes to cardiovascular disease.
6. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious containing significant levels of potassium, vitamin C and vitamin A, and have a fair amount of fiber. They also have a lower GI than normal potatoes.
If you look at the makeup of blueberries you will see that they carry a lot of nutritional bang for the number of calories that they contain. Possibly the most important aspect is their high levels of antioxidants. They are, in fact, one of the most antioxidant rich foods you can get.
A study looked at women and men who suffered from metabolic issues. Blueberries helped to reduce the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and blood pressure as well. A different study proved that eating blueberries can help buoy up memory function. There are any number of studies that have linked blueberries with the prevention of cancer.
They also do not have a high carb count and are thus perfect if you are on a restricted carb diet.
Diets today are bound to be deficient in iodine yet this is an important mineral helping maintain a healthy thyroid. The thyroid, in turn, helps regulate body systems. The symptoms of deficiency can be quite severe - ranging from fatigue to decreased brain function and chronic illness.
Because a lot of what we eat these days has very little iodine in it, some supplementation becomes necessary. Fortunately, a lot of salts are fortified with it. Alternatively, you can up your intake of seafood or even consider eating seaweed a couple of times a week.
We all know that we are supposed to eat oily fish once a week or so. Salmon fits the bill and is a good source of Omega-3s - and very few people get enough of these. The benefits don't stop there though - you also get protein of a top quality and a wide range of nutrients.
Studies have linked an intake of oily fish with a reduced chance of developing heart disease and dementia. Eating wild salmon gets you first prize but eat the farmed version if you cannot get the wild variety.
10. Fish Oil
For those who do not eat fish, taking a supplement is essential. Cod liver oil is your best bet - one tablespoon has about two and a half grams of Omega-3s - more than enough for your day. There is also no other viable Vitamin D3 source from a dietary perspective. A tablespoonful will provide around about double what experts recommend and will stave off most A lot of Westerners battle to get sufficient quantities of D3. This is quite a serious issue as deficiencies can increase the chances of getting diabetes or cancer.
It is also a good source of Vitamin A. If you have no dietary source of Omega-3, you should probably start using a supplement like Omega-3 by Research Verified. This product contains pure fish oils with optimal levels of EPA and DHA.
11. Pasture-fed beef
Meat is a healthy food despite all the bad press. We evolved eating both meat and plant matter - we are made to deal with it. Recent studies have shown that you do not increase the risk of contracting any disease when you eat red meat that has not been processed.
Meat is one of the best ways to get the protein we need, it has a lot of fatty acids that we need and is very nutritious. It also contains a number of amino acids that are simply not obtainable from plant sources.
Pasture raised cattle that only eat grass are the best source of nutrients, as that is what cattle was designed to eat - not grain. As a result, the meat from grass-fed cattle has a lot more Omega-3, higher levels of CLA and more of all the nutrients than the meat from cattle that are fed grain. Grass-fed is more expensive though but don't worry, even the meat from grain-fed cattle is good for you.