Picking up where we left off last time with the most nutrient-dense foods, let’s look at those that start with L and go through P:
💠 Lentils - Ranging in color from yellow and red to green or brown, lentils are packed with B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. A one cup serving will also provide 18g of protein as well as 37% of your daily iron needs.
💠Mushrooms - Not only are they free of fat and cholesterol, mushrooms are also low in sodium and calories. Their health benefits include fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, copper, and potassium.
💠 Oats - Oats are among the healthiest grains of all and a good source of carbs, fiber, and are higher in protein than most grains at 13g in a half cup serving. You’ll also get 191% of your manganese, 41% of your phosphorus, 34% magnesium, 20% iron, and 39% vitamin B1.
💠 Onions - Belonging to the unique group of plants known as alliums, onions are particularly high in vitamins C and B and a good source of potassium and antioxidants.
💠 Peas - One cup of peas offers up 8g of protein as well as 8g of fiber. They’re also rich in copper, manganese, phosphorus, B vitamins, and in vitamins A, K1, and C. They even contain several different types of phytochemicals that can help with everything from eye health to blood sugar regulation.
💠 Pomegranates - The small pink seeds of the pomegranate yield good amounts of fiber, vitamins C and K, potassium, antioxidants, and even some calcium and protein.
💠 Potatoes - Don’t let the carbs scare you away - potatoes have lots more than that to offer such as 30% if your daily vitamin C. They also provide potassium, vitamins B and K, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese.
💠 Pumpkin - This bright Fall favorite provides vitamins A, B, and C, copper, fiber, folate, and manganese. Additionally, the calcium, potassium, and magnesium it offers can help with heart health and blood pressure levels.
Iodine is an essential mineral you must get from eating foods that contain it. It’s needed by your thyroid for proper hormone production and you’ll see it added to “iodized” table salt because of its importance. If you’ve switched to natural sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, those aren’t fortified with iodine but don’t worry, there are still plenty of other sources of this mineral:
🔹 Seaweed - Kombu, kelp, wakame, and nori specifically
🔹 Dairy - Milk, yogurt, cottage and other cheeses
🔹 Lima Beans
Cilantro is a bright green herb that’s used frequently in Mexican, Asian, and Middle Eastern dishes. It adds a refreshing citrusy and peppery flavor to meals but does it also add health benefits? It does! Let’s take a look:
🌱Vitamins and Nutrients
While it brings brightness in flavor and color, cilantro also adds a good mix of vitamins and nutrients to whatever it’s in. A quarter cup (golf ball-sized) serving yields 16% of your daily value of vitamin K (to boost healing and bone health) as well as 5% of your vitamin A and 2% of your vitamin C. Those can help keep your immune system strong.
🌱Low in Calories
More good news - all the vitamins mentioned above will only cost you 1 calorie!
Cilantro actually belongs to the same family of plants as carrots, so they contain some of the same antioxidants - beta carotene and lutein being a couple of them. Another group of antioxidants called polyphenols have been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent cell damage to help reduce the effects of aging.
There’s a genetic variant that around 14% of the population has that makes them highly sensitive to a compound in cilantro called aldehydes. This sensitivity causes cilantro to taste more like soap or dirt to them, so keep in mind not everyone has the same experience with it!
🔆 Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in three varieties: D1, D2, and D3.
🔆 Your body can produce it naturally from sunlight exposure or you can get it from certain foods and supplements.
🔆 It’s most widely known for its role in regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus for bone health, helping keep bones from becoming brittle or misshapen and avoiding conditions like rickets and osteoporosis.
🔆 It serves many other important processes in your body though. One of them is reducing inflammation. Additionally it can help support cell growth, metabolize glucose, and boost immune system function.
🔆 Another interesting benefit of proper vitamin D levels is neurological health. Because it helps preserve the integrity of neurons, it helps protect our neurological processes from inflammation. This can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and degeneration of the nervous system.
🔆 One form of vitamin D3, calcitriol, has been shown to boost levels of antioxidants like glutathione, which can help protect nerve pathways in the brain. Basically, it helps to protect your brain against the effects of aging.
🔆 A review of over 7,000 people also found that depression and anxiety might be improved by increasing vitamin D levels.
We’re back with some more of the most nutrient-dense foods around. This time let’s look at the ones that start with C and go through the letter K:
💠 Carrots - They’re crunchy and a great source of vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) and a good source of B vitamins, vitamin K, fiber, and potassium. There are also several helpful plant compounds such as lutein and lycopene in carrots.
💠Celery - This unique vegetable is packed with 12 different antioxidants as well as vitamins C, A, K and minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium.
💠 Chia Seeds - These tiny but mighty seeds are stuffed with 11 grams of fiber and good amounts of calcium, manganese, omega-3s, and even some protein in a single ounce.
💠 Cruciferous Vegetables - Included in this category are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts. They’re low in calories but high in things like vitamins C, E, and K and their phytonutrients can help relieve inflammation.
💠 Garlic - The active compound in garlic, allicin, has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It also contains high amounts of vitamins B1, B6, and C as well as calcium, copper, manganese, and potassium.
💠 Green Beans - You might not suspect it, but green beans are rich in many vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, and vitamins C and A. Their combo of zero cholesterol, low sodium, and high fiber make them heart healthy.
💠 Kale - Their leafy goodness is loaded with vitamins A, B6, C, and K1 as well as potassium, magnesium, copper, calcium, and several antioxidants.
We’ve picked out some of the most nutrient-dense foods you can get your hands on and want to share them with you. So in alphabetical order, let’s take a look at A through B:
💠 Almonds - They’re portable and loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium.
💠 Amaranth - This ancient grain (technically considered a pseudocereal) is kind of like quinoa’s cousin and provides protein, fiber, calcium, iron, manganese, and selenium. It’s also gluten-free.
💠 Artichokes - They may not look like much, but artichokes (technically not a vegetable, but a type of thistle) are a good source of fiber, vitamins C and K, and folate. They also bring iron, potassium, and magnesium. One serving also contains 4g of protein with only 60 calories.
💠 Asparagus - Low in calories, but huge on nutrition, asparagus has lots to offer including folate, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. There’s also some protein and fiber in there.
💠 Avocado - Loaded with healthy fats and fiber, avocados also contain vitamin C and potassium among over 20 other vitamins and minerals. They’re also low in carbs and keto friendly.
💠 Beets - We recently had an entire post about beets, but the short version is: they’re low in calories but high in nutrition. Bringing folate, manganese, and copper, beets can help with everything from heart health to growth and even athletic performance.
💠 Bell Peppers - While they’re composed of mostly water and some carbs, bell peppers have around 160% of your daily vitamin C needs as well as vitamins K1, E, A, folate, and potassium. This combo can help with blood and bone health, nerve and muscle development, and eye health.
💠 Berries - Whether you go for blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries, you can’t lose. They pack high amounts of polyphenols (plant antioxidants) that can help avoid several chronic health conditions. They also contain vitamins C and K, manganese, and a variety of minerals and phytochemicals.
🔸The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) is a very low carb, high fat diet that offers several health benefits.
🔸It can be useful for losing excess body fat while maintaining hunger or for improving metabolic, neurological, or insulin-related diseases. Keto originated as a tool for treating neurological diseases like epilepsy.
🔸The keto diet involves severely reducing your carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fats. This puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis as fat becomes your primary fuel source instead of carbs.
🔸There are blood, urine, and breath tests that can be done to ensure you’ve entered ketosis. Symptoms that may indicate it include increased thirst, frequent urination, dry mouth, and decreased appetite.
🔸For the keto diet to work, certain carb-based foods will need to be severely limited or eliminated including: grains, legumes, sugar, rice, potatoes, candy, juice, most fruits, and alcohol.
🔸Foods that can be part of keto include: meat, fish, eggs, butter, nuts, healthy oils, olives, cheese, avocado, and low carb veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, and most green vegetables.
🌻 Sunflowers and their seeds are one of the few crops that originated in North America and are thought to have been domesticated around 1000 BC.
🌻 Sunflowers have many uses and account for 14% of the world’s seed oil production.
🌻 Since seeds have to be able to sustain the life of the next generation of plants, they can be a great source of many nutrients and sunflower seeds are no exception. Usually a tablespoon or two per day is enough to get a good amount of their nutrients.
🌻 Macros of a 1-cup serving of sunflower seeds are: 269 calories, 9.2g carbs, 23.7g fat, 9.6g protein, 4g fiber, 0g cholesterol.
🌻 As for vitamins, that same 1-cup will yield: 76% daily value (DV) of vitamin E, 45% DV thiamin, 19% DV niacin, 31% DV vitamin B6, 26% DV folate, and other trace vitamins like vitamin C, riboflavin, choline, and betaine.
🌻 Minerals found in 1-cup include: 13% DV iron, 37% DV magnesium, 30% DV phosphorus. 41% DV copper, 45% DV manganese, 35% selenium, and other trace minerals like calcium, potassium, and zinc.
🌻 The good fats found in sunflower seeds may help keep blood cholesterol levels in the body under control.
🌻 There’s an acid called chlorogenic acid found in sunflower seeds that can help inhibit the breakdown of glycogen in the liver, which may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The combo of fiber and magnesium in sunflower seeds can help reduce the risk as well.
🌻 Chronic inflammation may be reduced by the high amounts of vitamin E found in sunflower seeds. It’s been found that chronic inflammation may lead to many severe conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and autoimmune diseases.
🌻 The antioxidants in the seeds can help protect your body’s DNA and possibly reduce your risk of developing conditions such as emphysema, macular degeneration, ulcers, and Alzheimer’s.
🌻 Pantothenic acid found in the seeds can help reduce muscle cramps and may improve thyroid function.