What does nutrient rich/dense mean? What is a super food? Nutrient rich/dense and super food are terms that are becoming more and more widely used – but what do they really mean and what foods are included.
Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients – nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. They contain phytochemicals, which have been found to have the potential to prevent disease in laboratory and clinical research.
Nutrient dense foods are more filling, therefore you need less. We have been programed to believe that we need fat free or low fat foods, but in reality that is what is making us fat! They are not nutrient dense, but empty calorie dense – so you tend to eat more to feel satisfied. When you focus on eating nutrient dense foods, you can trust that your body will know when you have had enough. They are rich and satisfying, so you don’t need to worry about portion control. They are also highly digestible and your body usually assimilates them quickly and efficiently.
These are some of the Super Foods that I have started to incorporate into our diet. The list is growing – I experiment with a few and then that usually leads me to others. There is so much information on each one listed – that I have included links within each, so that if you are interested in finding out more – you can.
Coconut Oil – helps in improving your digestive system. This is the only oil, besides butter that I cook with (stove top). This oil has gotten a bad rap and it is so amazing. The oil contains microbial properties – which supports your immune system, helps in the absorption of other nutrients, promotes heart health, provides energy, supports the proper functioning of your thyroid gland and a healthy metabolism
Sprouted Flours – are easier to digest since the sprouting breaks down the starches in the grains to simple sugars. They have increased amounts of vitamin C and B, have more carotene and enzymes and contain a reduced amount of anti-nutrients – which allows for better absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. I also soak my flours since sprouted flour is expensive – but oh so good.
Spirulina – is one of the most nutritious and concentrated food sources on the planet. It has B vitamins, contains all the essential amino acids we need, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium, zinc, gamma linolenic acid and 18 different amino acids. The health benefits are numerous!! A little amount goes a long way. To learn even more, click here.
Walnuts – are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, omega-3), minerals (magnesium, calcium and potassium), fiber, protein and antioxidants. They are a great source of vitamin E, packed with B vitamins and have many health benefits.
Almonds – are a very good source of protein and fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and iron. They are contain significant amounts of essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6.
Cacao – contains a naturally rich supply of antioxidants, a good source of fiber, magnesium, flavanols and polyphenols. A Harvard study showed that it lowers rates of heart disease and hypertension. The benefits are substantial.
Goji Berries – is full of protein and essential amino acids, rich in vitamin A, contains vitamin C, have over 20 trace minerals and vitamins, including zinc, iron, phosphorous, riboflavin, vitamin E, cartenoids and beta-carotene,
Chia Seeds – are very rich in omega-3 acids and antioxidants. They also provide fiber, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin and zinc. They support heart health, stabilize blood sugar, energize, have anti-inflammatory properties, assist in weight loss, help with detoxification and elimination and help improve brain function. For more.
Hemp Seeds – are the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. They contain all 20 amino acids, a good source of protein, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and phytonutrients. And not it will not get you high! Read more.
Avocado – is a monounsaturated fat, which helps lower blood cholesterol. They contain vitamins K, C, E, B6, folate, potassium, lutein, fiber, niacin and magnesium. Avocados also help reduce the signs of aging, regulate blood sugar, promote eye health, are helpful in preventing both rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis and help reduce the risk of heart disease.
I hope you try and incorporate one of these into your diet and maybe it will grow to more and more and more. Come back Monday for a recipe using several of the above mentioned foods. Super Foods = Super You!