What are nutritionally dense foods?
Eating well and putting your health at the top of your own agenda is a great thing to do.
But as no one person could possibly eat all the foods that are great for their health in one day – or possibly even one week – it makes sense to learn about those foods you should add to your meal plan to give you the maximum bang for your buck.
That’s where nutritionally dense foods come in.
This list is not complete – far from it. But it’s a great place to start.
For more information on healthy eating and preparing nutritious meals, click here.
the 11 Nutritionally-Dense Foods
No. 1 Salmon
Salmon is the No.1 fatty fish for inclusion in your eating plan.
Salmon contains the greatest amount of omega-3 fatty acids important for bodily function. Omega-3 is associated with improved wellbeing and a lower risk of developing many serious diseases such as heart disease.
Salmon is also packed with other nutrients including animal protein, vitamins and minerals.
Large amounts of magnesium – to help turn food into energy;
Potassium – for cardiovascular health;
Selenium – to boost your immune system, and;
B vitamins that play an important part in maintaining health.
Salmon tastes delicious and is relatively easy to cook, plus it’s low in calories compared to some other protein sources.
Eat salmon or other fatty fish once or twice a week to get your bodies requirement of omega-3.
Try this delicious salmon recipe
Tandoori Spice Salmon with Cauliflower Rice is a fantastic, keto-friendly recipe. Simply click here to find it.
No. 2 Kale
Kale is top of the list of leafy green vegetables in terms of the vitamin and mineral content.
Kale is a rich source of vitamins A, C and K1.
Vitamin A maintains tissues such as your skin, intestines, lungs, bladder and inner ear.
Vitamin C helps to maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones & cartilage and it plays a key role in the healing of wounds.
Vitamin K1 is needed for blood clotting so that wounds heal properly.
Kale also contains vitamin B6 that allows the body to use the stored energy you get from protein and carbohydrates in the food that you eat; potassium, calcium – to build and maintain healthy bones, magnesium, and copper – for the formation of red blood cells.
Finally, Kale contains manganese for good thyroid health.
Kale is a great plant protein that is low in calories making it even healthier than spinach.
No. 3 Seaweed
There are lots of varieties of seaweed such as Nori that is often used in the preparation of sushi, and kelp.
Seaweed is high in minerals such as calcium, iron – the lack of iron causes anaemia, magnesium, manganese and antioxidants giving anti-inflammatory benefits.
The seaweed variety kelp is very high in the mineral iodine that your body needs to make thyroid hormones so including seaweed in your diet several times each month will provide your body with all the iodine it needs.
Seaweed isn’t to everyone’s taste though. It wasn’t to mine until I found this great recipe for Umami Rich Shitake Mushroom & Noodle Broth.
No. 4 Garlic
Garlic not only adds wonderful flavour to other foods it’s also nutritious being high in vitamins C, B1 that has a role in helping your body turn food into energy, and B6.
The mineral content includes calcium, potassium that supports blood pressure, cardiovascular health, bone and muscle strength, manganese essential for bone health, and selenium.
Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of garlic have a lower risk of developing several common cancers such as colon and stomach cancers making garlic not only tasty but healthy as well.
No. 5 Shellfish
Shellfish including oysters, clams, scallops and mussels are some of the best sources of vitamin B12 you will find anywhere. Clams, in particular, contain high levels of B12 that is important for the formation of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system.
Anyone who has an intolerance to dairy may have problems in getting sufficient vitamin B12 from their diet so the inclusion of shellfish will definitely help.
My particular favourite in terms of shellfish has got to be mussels. Mussels in spicy tomato sauce are especially fabulous so I’m thrilled to share the recipe with you. Trust me on this – you will be converted to a mussels fan too!
No. 6 Potatoes
Yes, you read that correctly. Potatoes may be off the menu for the low-carbohydrate dieters, but they are one of the best nutrient-dense foods for your health.
Potatoes contain a little of all the nutrients needed for your health.
Potatoes contain high levels of potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. Vitamins C and most of the B vitamins also make an appearance in the humble potato. Potatoes are tasty and they make you feel fuller for longer.
Cooled potatoes form something called resistant starch, a carbohydrate that resists digestion in the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine. That fermentation process acts as a prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
All of which means potatoes are a super-healthy addition to your diet.
No. 7 Liver
People have been eating animal meat for a very long time. In recent times the organ meat of animals has fallen off many people’s list of regular foods. For vegetarians the reason is obvious, but for meat-eaters, it’s possibly time to remind you of the health benefits of eating liver.
The liver has many functions including the storage of important nutrients for the rest of the body. That means that the liver contains many of the nutrients you need for good health.
Liver contains vitamins B2, B5, B6, B12 niacin (B3) and folate (B9). The mineral content includes copper, iron, phosphorus – for healthy bones and teeth, zinc – for metabolism and digestive health and selenium.
Eating liver once a week is recommended. If the thought of eating liver doesn’t appeal you could perhaps try it in pate.
No. 8 Sardines
Sardines are oily fish that are often eaten whole. As with the liver of other animals, the organs of the sardine are the most nutritious if you do eat the whole fish.
Being one of the ‘fatty’ fish, the sardine is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines contain a little bit of pretty much every nutrient your body needs to be healthy.
Canned sardines are perfect for grilling on bread. Delicious.
No. 9 Blueberries
Blueberries have been called super-foods even though there isn’t really such a thing. Berries are not as high in vitamins and minerals as vegetables but they are packed with antioxidants, some of which can increase the antioxidants in your blood and protect brain health.
Tests on animals have suggested that blueberries can help fight cancer. As I understand it, those findings have yet to be replicated in humans, but there’s no doubt that these great little berries are delicious when added to breakfast cereal.
No. 10 Egg Yolks
The cholesterol content of egg yolk has resulted in eggs being taken off the menu for many people. However, recent studies have shown that cholesterol in the diet isn’t something that we need to worry about. Moderate amounts of cholesterol are not considered bad.
Egg yolks are one of the most nutritious foods around. Sometimes referred to as nature’s multivitamin, whole eggs are a great addition to a non-vegan your diet.
Eggs are a great source of choline. Your brain and nervous system need choline to regulate memory, mood, muscle control, and other functions. You also need choline to form the membranes that surround your body’s cells. Eggs are also a good source of protein and healthy fats that studies suggest may help with weight loss.
No. 11 Dark Chocolate
Saving the best for last coming in at number 11 on the list of the top nutritionally-dense foods is dark chocolate.
Eating dark chocolate, chocolate with a high cocoa content is highly nutritious. That’s because it’s full of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese.
Dark chocolate also contains higher levels of antioxidants than blueberries.
Studies in humans confirm that dark chocolate has some great health benefits including blood flow, lowering of blood pressure and the risk of developing heart disease, and improvements in brain function.
Cocoa content should be no less than 70% but the best contains 85% cocoa or more.
And it tastes great! What’s not to love?
If you prefer your chocolate baked into a brownie, I have the perfect recipe for you. These brownies are beyond delicious!
If you’re on or are moving to a vegetarian diet
If you are a vegetarian, or you would like to move to a more plant based diet, having a list of foods that contain the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain health is key.
On our Freebies page, open to subscribers to Agiftedamateur, you’ll find guides to vitamins and minerals for vegetarians. The guides include lists of foods to retain or add to your diet.
In the coming weeks we’ll also be adding meal planning downloads to help you with your move to a plant based diet.
To get access simply fill in the sign-up form below and you’ll get the password to the Freebies page by email.
We look forward to welcoming you to the gifted amateur list of friends.