There is only so much food a person can shove down their gullet in a single day. That’s why it’s important to maximize the number of nutrients you get into your body by choosing specific nutrient-dense foods.
Here are 10 foods that I think everyone should include into their regular diet, as they carry the greatest amount and variety of nutrients.
Potatoes are a great source of nutrient-dense carbohydrates.
One large potato contains lots of Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper and Manganese, vitamin C, and most of the B vitamins (27). They contain a little bit of every nutrient that a person needs, and I personally eat them almost every day.
2. Wild salmon
Salmon, and other fatty types of fish, contain the greatest amount of Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are linked to a lower risk of many serious diseases (1).
But salmon also includes a massive amount of other nutrients. A 100 gram piece of wild salmon contains 2.8 grams of Omega-3s, lots of high quality animal protein, and a ton of Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium and all the B-vitamins (2).
You should aim to eat fatty fish at least once a week to get all the Omega-3s that your body needs.
Garlic not only makes food taste great; it’s also extremely nutritious. It is high in vitamins C, B1 and B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium (11).
Garlic also contains an important nutrient called Allicin. There are many studies showing the health benefits of allicin and garlic. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, which can lead to a reduced risk of heart disease (12, 13, 14, 15).
Kale is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can eat, with large amounts of vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting compounds.
A 100 gram portion of kale contains (9) 200% of the RDA for Vitamin C, 300% of the RDA for Vitamin A (from beta-carotene), 1000% of the RDA for Vitamin K1, and large amounts of Vitamin B6, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese.
It also has 2 grams of fibre, 3 grams of protein and only 50 calories.
Vegetables from the sea are highly nutritious, but people in Western society very rarely consume them. They are particularly high in iodine, which is essential for optimal thyroid function.
There are thousands of different plant species in the ocean, and in many cases, seaweed is even more nutritious than vegetables from the land. It is particularly high in minerals like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese (10).
But the amount of iodine in seaweed is what makes it really impressive. Iodine is a mineral that is used to make thyroid hormones. If you’d rather not eat seaweed, you can also supplement with dried kelp tablets. They are cheap and have lots of iodine.
6. Egg Yolks
As I discussed previously in “The Incredible, Edible Yolk,” egg yolks have been unfairly criticized for their cholesterol content. Egg yolks are loaded with vitamins, minerals and various powerful nutrients (1).
Eggs are also full of choline, a brain nutrient that about 90% of people aren’t getting enough of (2).
Eggs also contain high quality protein and healthy fats. Seek out pastured and/or Omega-3 enriched eggs. They’re healthier and more nutritious than the regular egg you find in most grocery stores (3, 4).
Overall, egg yolks are an amazing food. The yolk is where almost all the nutrients are found, and throwing it away is the absolute worst thing you can do. If anything, throw away your whites and add more yolks to all of your meals.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate with high cocoa content is loaded with fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese (5).
There are multiple studies in humans showing that dark chocolate has powerful health benefits, including improved blood flow, lowered blood pressure, reduced oxidized LDL, and improved brain function (6, 7, 8, 9).
Make sure to find dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content. Ones with 85% cocoa or higher are even better.
Eating high quality dark chocolate every day may be one of the best ways you can supplement your diet.
Yeah, I know. Liver is the worst. It tastes terrible, but your body will love it.
Humans and pre-humans have been eating animals for millions of years.
But back then, we didn’t just eat the muscles like we do today. In fact, hunter-gatherers who eat meat usually prize organs like liver, because they are the most nutritious parts of the animal. Compared to the organs, muscle meat is nutritionally poor. There are even accounts of modern hunter-gatherers selectively eating the organs, and then feeding lean muscle meat to the dogs.
Out of all the organs, liver is by far the most nutritious. One of the liver’s functions is to store important nutrients for the rest of the body.
A 100 gram portion of beef liver contains (10)
- 1176% of the RDA for Vitamin B12
- Over 50% of the RDA for Vitamins B6, B5, Niacin and Folate
- 201% of the RDA for Vitamin B2
- 634% of the RDA for Vitamin A
- 714% of the RDA for Copper
- Over 30% of the RDA for Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Selenium
- 29 grams of high quality animal protein
Shellfish (clams, oysters, etc.) are some of the most nutritious organisms found in the sea. They are very high in important nutrients like Vitamin B12 and Zinc.
Clams are a great source of vitamin B12, as 100 grams of clams provide over 16 times the RDA. It also includes a number of other nutrients, including Vitamin C, B-Vitamins, Potassium, Selenium and Iron (11).
Oysters are also incredibly nutritious, as 100 grams has 6 times the RDA for Zinc, which plays a critical role in the production of testosterone. They also have 2 times the RDA for Copper, large amounts of B12 and Vitamin D, and a variety of other nutrients (12).
Since sardines are usually eaten whole, which includes the organs, bones, brains – they are almost perfect from a nutritional standpoint, containing almost every nutrient that the body needs (13).
And like wild salmon, which was discussed in Part 1 of this series, they’re also very high in heart-healthy Omega-3s.
By including all of these foods in your everyday diet, you will be giving your body the best energy, optimally fueling yourself so you can work on becoming the best person you can be.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.