"What Are THE MOST Nutritious Foods?" Review

It's the start of a new year and you're overwhelmed with endless weight loss information of about what to eat. How do you know what's credible? Check out this recent article "What Are THE MOST Nutritious Foods?" from Livestong.com. It'll provide the foundation for your weight loss grocery list.

According to a Consumer Reports survey, 90 percent of Americans polled said they believed that they consumed a diet that was at least "somewhat" healthy.

But are we really eating healthy?

Unfortunately, it doesn't sound that way. Another report published in 2011 (based on data from national food-consumption surveys), found that 90 percent of Americans are NOT getting the essential nutrients we need to stay healthy. According to this report, the 11 nutrients we are falling short on include: potassium, fiber, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, zinc, folate, magnesium and iron.

So, what is it that we’re doing wrong?

Americans' shortages in these key nutrients are attributed to the fact that we aren’t eating enough of the foods that supply these vitamins and minerals.

If I asked you what the most nutritious foods were, what would you guess?

The answer is probably easier than you think. Remember back to when your mom told you to "Eat your vegetables"? Well, she was right.

Vegetables and fruits are the most nutrient-dense foods you can find (followed by legumes/beans, nuts and seeds, and then whole grains).

If your mom was always prodding you to “eat your spinach and Brussels sprouts,” she was really on to something!

THE MOST nutrient-dense foods are all green vegetables:

* Bok choy
* Watercress
* Kale
* Collard greens
* Mustard greens
* Swiss chard
* Spinach
* Arugula
* Romaine lettuce
* Brussels sprouts
* Broccoli

These foods rank at the very top when using the Aggregate Nutrient Density (ANDI) score that ranks the whole foods rated by highest nutrients per calorie as described by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in his books “Eat For Health” and “Eat Right America Nutritarian Handbook.” (Dr. Fuhrman defines a “nutritarian” as “a person who bases food choices on maximizing the micronutrients per calorie.”) Whole Foods grocery stores adopted the ANDI system.

ANDI scores are calculated by evaluating an extensive range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, beneficial phytochemicals (angiogenesis inhibitors, organosulfides, isothiocyanates, and aromatase inhibitors) and antioxidant capacities.

Did your mom try to get you to eat kale, watercress or arugula when you were little? Mine did not, and I’m pretty sure those greens were not on many people’s radar in the 1970s or 1980s. Today, you’re likely to find kale and arugula as tasty salad options at most restaurants.

Next on the scale of nutrient density, green leafy vegetables are followed by non-green vegetables:

* Carrots
* Cauliflower
* Bell peppers
* Asparagus
* Mushrooms
* Tomatoes
* Sweet potatoes

Fruits that are high on the nutrient-density list are:

* Strawberries
* Blackberries
* Plums
* Raspberries
* Blueberries
* Grapes
* Pomegranates
* Cantaloupe
* Papaya
* Oranges

OK, so what should we do to fix our nutrition and health issues?

We have to start eating foods with a bigger nutritional bang, rather than processed junk. For example, you could eat about 20 corn chips for 176 calories, 8 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein, 1 percent of vitamin A, 0 percent of vitamin C, 6 percent of calcium and 5 percent of iron.

Or, you can choose to eat 3 cups of raw kale for 100 calories, 1 gram of fat, 20 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein (more than double the protein in the 20 chips!) plus 618 percent of vitamin A, 402 percent of vitamin C, 27 percent of calcium and 19 percent of iron. Now it makes sense why your friends are snacking on kale chips, right?

As Michael Pollan wrote in “In Defense of Food” in 2009: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” It makes sense when you look at ANDI scores because eggs, low-fat dairy and meats such as chicken and lean beef rank lower in nutrient density than plant-derived onions, sunflower seeds, kidney beans and oatmeal.

White bread and corn chips rank lower than eggs, meats, and low-fat dairy products in nutrient density.

If you’re one of those people who reaches for corn chips, crackers or vanilla ice cream at night, be aware that these foods rank very, very low on the list of nutrient-rich foods. They are just a small step above soda, which is at the bottom of the list.

Which of these foods will you add to your grocery list?

Picture Credit: LIVESTRONG.com - It's time to add more color to your weight loss table. Does your table look like this one?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from JESS BARRON's article What Are THE MOST Nutritious Foods? on LIVESTRONG.com
"What Are THE MOST Nutritious Foods?" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.