The Importance of Whole Foods
Nutrient-dense foods give us an array of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids, among other things. A nutrient-dense whole foods diet can also be defined as an anti-inflammatory diet; of course, knowing that we are all unique individuals with specific requirements and sensitivities, always see which foods work for you and buy accordingly. Minimizing inflammation in the body helps in the prevention of chronic diseases and risk factors such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
As mentioned in my previous post, according to a new Frontiers in Nutrition study, our daily meals can easily be insufficient in iron, zinc, folate, calcium, and vitamins A and B12. Among the many nutrient-dense foods we can consume, some are specifically high in those nutrients: organs, small fish (and canned fish with bones), eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, bivalves, crustaceans, beef, lamb, goat, and goat milk. I discussed organ meats, small fish, and eggs in my last blog, so today I will discuss the other nutrient-dense foods listed above.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark leafy greens offer a great amount of nutrients like calcium, iron, folate, fiber, and polyphenols. In How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables, Dr. Thomas Cowan explains that when it comes to the chlorophyll in green vegetables, the “[i]ngested chlorophyll has many roles in mammals; it serves as a primary detoxifier of our tissues, it prevents cancer, improves vision and is usually found in plants with abundant vitamin C and folate, both crucial for cellular health and overall disease prevention.”
Since we can easily find a great number of green vegetables to consume, benefiting daily from what chlorophyll offers in abundance (the greener the plant) is an easy way to sustain our health and wellness goals. I eat salads almost every day. And I Iove using some of Dr. Cowan’s Garden powders in order to have a greater variety of plants in my diet. These powders are very helpful, especially in winter. Do not forget to add herbs to your daily dishes too! And consuming algae (like chlorella and spirulina) when you can is a plus!
Bivalves and Crustaceans
Bivalves like clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops are highly nutritional, loaded with protein, minerals (especially zinc and B12), and healthy fats.
Consuming crustaceans like shrimp, crayfish, crab, and lobster will add more iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B12 to your meals. Wild-caught seafood is best for most picks. If unsure, refer to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide, the EWG updates, and ConsumerLab.
Grass-Fed Beef, Lamb, Goat
Grass-fed meat has more nutrients and fewer toxins than conventional meat. It offers omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (a kind of fat that aids you to burn fat), trace minerals, and vitamins. So with the understanding that it is always better to buy local, pastured and 100 percent grass-fed (also called grass-fed and grass-finished, as opposed to grass-fed and grain-finished) is the way to go.
The next priority would be to make sure the meat is USDA-certified organic. The extra cost is worth bypassing CAFO meat. If you have to eat the latter, avoid consuming any fat on it as this is where some of the meat toxins are stored rather than in the liver. The same goes for pork and mutton if you eat those, too.
Goat (and sheep) milk are substantial sources of protein, MCT’s, and calcium, without containing the usual allergens that are linked to cow’s milk. Conventional cow milk has a protein (A1 casein) that can trigger inflammation in the gut. The A2 casein found in goat and sheep milk is usually fine, on the other hand. As highlighted in a previous post, full-fat raw dairy is probably the best pick, being high in vitamin A, K2, protein, and healthy fats.
On a Final Note
It may be more difficult nowadays to get all the nutrients we need in part because of the mass production of processed foods, soil depletion, and sometimes hard to get fresh, organic, local foods. But with a little effort and dedication, we can manage to improve the nutrient density of our everyday home-cooked meals. To your next delicious nutrient-dense dinner!
Until next time!
Dr. Axe. “The 30 Most Nutrient-Dense Foods on the Planet.” Dr. Axe, 26 Sept. 2021, draxe.com/nutrition/nutrient-dense-foods/. Accessed 26 May 2022.
“Most Nutrient-Dense Foods for Biohackers.” Dave Asprey, 26 May 2022, daveasprey.com/nutrient-dense-foods-for-biohackers/. Accessed 26 May 2022.
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