In looking for the most nutritious foods we need to know there are two types of nutrients needed by the human body:
- Macronutrients: These are needed in large amounts. They include carbs, protein, healthy fat and water. They also include macro minerals (calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron).
- Micronutrients: These are needed in small amounts. They include vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
These days we eat far too many processed foods with little nutritional value. Some experts believe that up to 90% of Americans are not getting enough of some of the most crucial nutrients. This can lead to chronic disease; osteoperosis, anemia, night cramps, heart disease, diabetes etc. This isn’t always directly, because certain nutrients protect us from certain diseases. For instance, omega 3 lowers cholesterol, protects against heart disease, promotes healthy eyesight and healthy joints.
So how can we address this issue? It’s easy to improve our diet by going back to basics. Eat organic foods if you can afford it. Organic produce is ripened on the plant so it’s absorbing nutrients from the soil for longer making it more nutritious. It’s also a good idea to eat raw foods when you can because cooking destroys many nutrients. An extra crucial factor is digestion. Fresh produce contains digestive enzymes. Our bodies need these enzymes to break down nutrients so we can absorb them. Cooking and processing kills them. This makes it harder for our body to digest and absorb nutrients. We also need the good bacteria found in things like yogurt, cheese, kefir etc.
So what are the most nutritious foods?
So we need to know what the most nutritious foods are. It’s not just the so called ‘super’ foods. Some of the most nutritious foods are found in the fresh produce section of any grocery store. Foods like:
- All berries: Especially blueberries, cranberries, black currants and goji berries.
- Leafy green: Kale, spinach. romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts.
- peppers and chili.
- sweet potatoes (yams): Low GI.
Herbs and spices
- Cilantro (coriander).
Nuts (Best eaten raw without salt)
Seeds (Eat raw)
- Pine nuts.
- Pumpkin (pepita).
- Whole wheat (not white flour which is NOT healthy).
- Broad (fava) beans.
- Black beans.
- Black eyed beans.
- Chick Peas
- Edamame (baby soy beans).
- Lima Beans
- Hemp oil.
- Flax seed oil.
- Rice bran oil.
- Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.
Note: Olive oil is not very heat stable which means it corrupts when it gets heated. It is best not to use it for cooking but as a dressing or glaze etc. So it’s only on this list of most nutritious foods when used cold. The best oil for cooking is rice bran oil because it is heat stable.
Meat and Dairy
- Cottage cheese.
- Free range eggs.
- Goat cheese.
- Sardines (wild)
- Skinless chicken breasts.
- Tuna (wild)
- Wild salmon.
- Unpasteurized honey.
Want to find more info? The best place to go for nutritional info on foods is NutritionData. You can even do a search by nutrient if you find out you are low in something.