Trying to maintain a healthy diet can be a tricky affair. But this doesn’t mean you have to try extreme measures like crash diets and other insane sounding recommendations from the self proclaimed health gurus on TV. The trick is to carefully select foods that provide the maximum density and diversity in nutrition. This ensures that you absorb a healthy dose of all the essential nutrient groups that your body requires to stay fit. Let’s take a look at the top 10 nutrient rich super foods that will help you consume the widest range of nutrients without resorting to extreme measures.
Popeye the sailor man was a very wise man indeed! Spinach is rich in vitamins A, C & K. It’s also one of the best vegetarian options to load up on Iron and Magnesium. It packs a big nutritional punch while containing just 0.4g of fat for every 100g, and is also rich in dietary fiber.
Kale is probably the only green leafy vegetable that trumps Spinach. Kale is one of the most nutrient rich foods in the world. At just 49 calories per 100g, Kale contains twice the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of Vitamin A & C. It’s also loaded with essential minerals like Iron, Calcium, Manganese & Magnesium, and contains roughly 600% of the RDA for Vitamin K.
Not all fats are bad. In fact, the body needs a healthy amount of fats to dissolve Vitamins A, D, E & K. Fresh salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids and also minerals like Sodium and Potassium. Research suggests that eating fresh salmon twice or thrice a week keeps heart disease at bay.
Not only does Garlic add an awesome continental twist to your food, but also has anti-bacterial properties and is rich in Vitamin C & B-complex, Copper and Calcium. Garlic is truly a super food because of a nutrient called Allicin. Studies show that Allicin combats risk of cancer and heart disease, while lowering blood pressure, increasing good cholesterols in the body and keeping erectile dysfunction at bay.
Blueberries are super-fruits! Along with a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, they are packed with anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants help faster cell regeneration, stabilize the body’s metabolism and even lower the risk of cancer. Blueberries have some of the highest concentration of anti oxidants among fruits.
6. Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
The orient has a host of mysterious super-foods to offer. The king among them is Bok Choy, a type of Chinese cabbage. Bok Choy has over 70 different kinds of anti-oxidants and is one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, which means it is a better source of Vitamin A than carrots or broccoli. It also contains plenty of earthy minerals and all this comes with a terrific low calorific value of around 13 calories per 100g. Bok Choy can be enjoyed stir fried with sesame or in salads.
Avocados are the perfect snacking substitute to junk foods. They are rich in carbohydrates and fats. This makes it a dose of instant energy, ideal for a post work-out snack. Avocados are rich in fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A & K. Its fat content also ensures that these vitamins are instantly absorbed on consumption. They are also rich in anti oxidants. Avocados can be eaten raw, as milkshakes or even as guacamole dips.
8. Dark Chocolate
Yes, it’s true! Chocolate is actually good for you. But this applies specifically to dark chocolate with 70% plus cocoa content and not to sugary milk chocolates. Dark chocolate is chock full of Iron, Magnesium, Copper and even fiber. But its biggest nutrient value is anti oxidants. Studies have confirmed that small amounts of dark chocolate help improve blood flow and brain function.
Whether it comes from a chicken, lamb or a cow, liver is the most nutrient rich organ. Although it’s an acquired taste, a small quantity of liver can provide you a week’s worth of essential micro-nutrients. Just 100g of beef liver contains a week’s worth of RDA of Vitamin A, B2, B5, B6, Niacin, Iron, Copper, Phosphorus, Zinc, Selenium and essential animal proteins.
10. Goji Berries
Goji berries have the highest concentration of carotenoids compared to any other food. A rich source of proteins, Goji berries are essential if you are trying to skim away visceral fat and add muscle mass to your body. They also contain large amounts of antioxidants and amino acids.
The nutritional density of all these super foods is extremely high. This means that they provide the nutrients your body requires in massive doses even while consumed in very small quantities. So, the key here is moderation. Excessive binge consumption of these foods will render them ineffective as too much of any nutrient can have adverse effects on the body. Make sure that you calculate the RDA for your body type and your daily work load and adjust the quantity of consumption accordingly.