5 Nutrient Dense Whole Foods To Include In Your Diet!

5 Nutrient Dense Whole Foods To Include In Your Diet!

With so many different options when it comes to the foods we choose to include in our daily diet, deciding which whole foods are going to give us the most "bang for our buck" based on our health & fitness goals can be challenging.

If we are dieting and our primary goal is to lose body fat, we may choose foods that are higher in fibre and lower in caloric density to help keep us fuller for longer. On the other hand if we are trying to build muscle we may choose foods with a higher caloric density and higher protein content to help give us the building blocks to build new muscle tissue. However, regardless of our current goals, we should always try and consume whole foods that are dense in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as they are not only going to be beneficial for our general health & wellbeing, but will also help us reach our ever-changing health and fitness goals over the long term.

For your reading, and subsequent eating, pleasure, we have highlighted the Top 5 Nutrient Dense Whole Foods! Try and incorporate as many of these as possible into your daily diet and start reaping the rewards!

Related Article: Free Nutrition Plan

Related Article: The Top 5 Muscle Gain Foods

1. Blueberries

What Are They Good For?

Blueberries are low in calories, high in nutrients, and importantly contain more antioxidants per serve than any other fruit or vegetable. As we age, our DNA ages as well; as a result we are more prone to diseases such as Cancer and Heart Disease. Dietician Joe Leech, writer of Authority Nutrition, suggests that antioxidants can help suppress free radicals, which can destroy and damage good cells in our body, essentially reversing initial damage to DNA. Blueberries have also been shown to also help reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels in the body.

Nutritional Information:

 Per 100g
Calories 57
Total Fat 0.3g
Saturated 0g
Polyunsaturated 0.1g
Monounsaturated 0g
Cholestrol 0g
Sodium 1mg
Potassium 77mg
Total Carbohydrates 14g
Dietary Fiber 2.4g
Sugar 10g
Protein 0.7g
Micronutrient % (RDI)
Vitamin A 1%
Vitamin C 16%
Calcium 0%
Iron 1%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B6 5%
Vitamin B12 0%
Magnesium 1%

How Do I Eat It?

Blueberries are eaten whole with the skin on and can be enjoyed fresh as well as frozen. They are a great compliment to a fruit salad, can be eaten alone as a light snack, combined with oats in your breakfast, or even added into a whey protein sludge.


2. Avocados

What Are They Good For?

Avocados contain up to twenty different vitamins and minerals. Although they contain high levels of fat compared to other vegetables, these are mainly monounsaturated fatty acids which can be beneficial for your body as they can aid in reducing triglycerides and 'bad' cholesterol. The Oleic Acid found in avocados also has anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, the amount of digestible fibre found in avocados has shown to aid in the reduction of Colon Cancer, as demonstrated in research from Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center. Avocado oil has a high resistance to heat-oxidation, and is a healthier substitute for use in cooking when compared to other vegetable based oils.

Nutritional Information

 Per 100g
Calories 160
Total Fat 15g
Saturated 2.1g
Polyunsaturated 1.8g
Monounsaturated 10g
Cholestrol 0mg
Sodium 7mg
Potassium 485mg
Total Carbohydrates 9g
Dietary Fiber 7g
Sugar 0.7g
Protein 2g
Micronutrient % (RDI)
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 16%
Calcium 1%
Iron 1%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B6 15%
Vitamin B12 0%
Magnesium 7%

How Do I Eat It?

Avocados are eaten whole after the skin and seed has been removed. Avocados can be sliced, crushed or blended into salads, dips, salsas or sandwiches, and can even be utilised in desserts.

3. Almonds

What Are They Good For?

Contrary to popular belief, almonds are not actually nuts. Rather, they are a seed that grows from stone fruits and are part of the same family as peaches and apricots, commonly known as drupes. Almonds are nutrient-dense drupes that are higher in Fibre, Calcium, Vitamin E and Niacin when compared to any other tree nut. Although they are high in fat, they have a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats, which like the avocado, aids in heart health, blood pressure and blood glucose levels. Furthermore, the brown skin that surrounds almonds has been shown to contain high levels of antioxidants. With their combination of minerals, macro and micronutrients, studies indicate that almonds are a great in-between meal snack that can be used by those who are dieting or limiting their daily caloric intake, as demonstrated in a study by the International Journal of Obesity, City of Hope National Medical Center, USA. This study also demonstrated that an almond-enriched diet consumed over a 24 week period resulted in weight loss which was maintained over a longer period of time when compared to a standard, self-selected, complex carbohydrate based diet.

Nutritional Information

 Per 100g
Calories 163
Total Fat 14g
Saturated 1.1g
Polyunsaturated 3.4g
Monounsaturated 9g
Cholestrol 0g
Sodium 0.3mg
Potassium 200mg
Total Carbohydrates 6g
Dietary Fiber 3.5g
Sugar 1.1g
Protein 6g
Micronutrient % (RDI)
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 7%
Iron 6%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B6 0%
Vitamin B12 12%
Magnesium 19%

How Do I Eat It?

Almonds are typically eaten whole with the skin on. They can be consumed raw or roasted, and make a great compliment to salads, desserts and smoothies.

4. Leafy Greens

What Are They Good For?

Leafy greens are low-calorie vegetables that are ideal for weight management. They are rich in Dietary Fibre, Vitamin C, Potassium, Iron and Folic Acid. The greener the vegetable the more dense it is with vitamins and minerals. Carotenoids like Lutein and Zeaxanthin, found in dark green leafy vegetables, protect the eyes against cataracts and degeneration. Some studies also have found that these Carotenoids can help protect against throat and mouth cancers, along with certain types of breast, lung and stomach cancers. Leafy greens are also abundant in Iron, which is ideal for women, who are more likely to be deficient in this mineral. They are also filled with Calcium, which aids in bone strength and muscular contractions.

Nutritional Information

 Spinach: Per 100g
Calories 23
Total Fat 0.4g
Saturated 0g
Polyunsaturated 0.2g
Monounsaturated 0.2g
Cholestrol 0g
Sodium 79mg
Potassium 558mg
Total Carbohydrates 3.6g
Dietary Fiber 2.2g
Sugar 0.4g
Protein 2.6g
Micronutrient % (RDI)
Vitamin A 187%
Vitamin C 46%
Calcium 9%
Iron 15%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B6 10%
Vitamin B12 0%
Magnesium 19%

How Do I Eat It?

Green leafy vegetables can be eaten cooked or raw. They are a perfect addition to any stir-fry, pasta or salad. They are ideal to add to most foods as their low calorie/high nutrient profile is perfect for people who want to manage their weight. Be sure to wash them all before eating.

5. Salmon

What Is It Good For?

There are many different types of salmon including Atlantic, Pink and Coho salmon. The high levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in salmon promote healthy skin & bones, and can reduce the risk of Heart Disease. Studies performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center have shown that increased consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids can also protect against Alzheimer's Disease and other cognitive and neurological diseases. Salmon is also very high in protein.

Nutritional Information

Atlantic Salmon: Per 100g
Calories 208
Total Fat 13g
Saturated 3.1g
Polyunsaturated 3.9g
Monounsaturated 3.8g
Cholestrol 55mg
Sodium 59mg
Potassium 363mg
Total Carbohydrates 0g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugar 0g
Protein 20g
Micronutrient % (RDI)
Vitamin A 1%
Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 0%
Iron 1%
Vitamin D 0%
Vitamin B6 30%
Vitamin B12 53%
Magnesium 6%

How Do I Eat It?

Salmon can be fried, oven baked, broiled, steamed or barbecued. It tastes best lightly marinated in lemons or limes and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Dill adds an elegant and aromatic touch as well. You can remove the salmon skin to reduce the amount of fat per serve.

Related Article: Free Nutrition Plan

Related Article: The Top 5 Muscle Gain Foods

References:

Dr. Shilling, R. Medical Articles."Eat Your Avocado." Source, website: http://www.askdrray.com/eat-your-avocado/.
Leech, J. 2016. 10 Proven Benefits of Blueberries. Source, website: https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-blueberries/.
University of Maryland Medical Center. Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Source, website: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
Szalay, J. 2015. Live Science. Almonds: Nutrition & Health Benefits.Source, website: http://www.livescience.com/51627-almonds-nutrition.html.
International Journal of Obesity. 2003. Almond vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. Source, website: http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v27/n11/abs/0802411a.html
Edmonds, M. 2016. What do Free Radicals have to do with aging?. Source, website: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/aging-process/free-radicals-aging.htm
Ohio State University. 2007. Avocados May Help Prevent Oral Cancer. Source, website: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070904114442.htm
American Institute for Cancer Research. Foods that Fight Cancer.http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/foodsthatfightcancer_leafy_vegetables.html?referre


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