15 Nutrient Dense Foods to Eat More Often

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Our modern world has allowed us to forget what food is actually for. Food can be delicious, cheap, entertaining, fun, quick, delicate, comforting, hardy, decadent, fragrant, beautiful, artful, and even downright sexy, but none of these characteristics should be mistaken for what food is truly for. Food is fuel, to keep our bodies running well as we pursue our goals and dreams in this short life we’re given.

lentil_bean_sprouts_picIf you want to live that life to the fullest, give your body what it needs, not just what tastes good in the moment. I’m not saying you have to sacrifice flavor and satisfaction in your meals just to live a little longer. You can still indulge that side of yourself often, but a slight sacrifice isn’t too much to ask for in return for more energy, less stress, less risk of disease, and a myriad of exciting colors, textures, and flavors.

1. Microalgae – These tiny little plants are the basis of almost all life in the sea, the lowest part of a chain that feeds krill, fish, and even the great whales that dominate the ocean. Microalgae are rich in omega 3s along with omegas most people haven’t even heard of, like omega 5 and omega 9. They also contain a very special carotenoid, like those found in carrots, called astaxanthin that has more antioxidant effect than vitamin C, vitamin E, or CoQ10. Omegas and astaxanthin fight inflammation and pain while protecting the heart, skin, eyes, joints, and brain from damage.

2. Sprouts – Sprouts are one of the most nutrient dense foods. Seeds contain a lot of nutrition, just waiting to spring to life. Many of these nutrients are locked away or kept from being digested by special compounds and enzymes in many seeds, grains, and nuts. But once the seed begins to sprout, it must also access these nutrients in order to have the energy necessary to push its way out of the ground and grow. So sprouts, unlike seeds, have all this nutrition unlocked with the inhibiting compounds removed, ready to be absorbed and put to use by our bodies. This is why Sunwarrior uses sprouted grains, like rice and barley in its products.

3. Microgreens – Sprouts and microgreens are often confused with one another. Microgreens are allowed to grow longer, usually at least two weeks before harvesting, while sprouts are eaten only days Red_Cabbage_Microgreens_picafter they start growing. Sprouts include what remains of the seed while microgreens are the stem and leaves without the seed or root. Microgreens also get sunlight and soil whereas sprouts see little to no sun and are grown in water alone. Microgreens are full of the same nutrients as the adult versions, but the nutrition and flavor is more concentrated and potent, making them a delicious and healthful addition to soups, salads, sandwiches, and as a delicious garnish.

4. Kale – Dark leafy greens in general are some of the best foods to eat. They come stocked with chlorophyll, iron, calcium, vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, copper, vitamin K, and plenty of antioxidants. Kale also boasts sulfur-rich phytonutrients that have been linked to fighting inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and microbial infections. Kale is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds that promote eye health. Kale has been linked to lowering cholesterol too.

5. Moringa – The leaves of this tree are gaining a lot of attention throughout the world as a way to combat malnutrition in third world countries. It grows easily and provides a lot of protein, fiber, healthy carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more in each bite. We were happy to see moringa added to Ormus Supergreens recently.

6. Raw Almonds – Nuts are very good for you in a moderate amount. They are pretty caloric dense, but the fats in nuts are the healthy monounsaturated kind that lower cholesterol, protect against inflammation, help the body use fats to slim down, and aid in the absorption of many beneficial nutrients. These healthy fats are also vital to brain function, boost energy, and keep the skin young, hydrated, and blemish free.

avocado_pic7. Avocados – Avocado is a fruit that is also full of amazing good fats along with plenty of potassium, fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, several B vitamins, and a slew of carotenoids. Avocados help the heart stay healthy, lowering cholesterol and protecting against inflammation damage. It also has been linked to cancer prevention, blood sugar regulation, and stroke prevention.

8. Coconut Oil – Coconuts, like avocado, got a bad name for years due to their fat content. Turns out the fats in coconut oil boost energy levels, combat inflammation, promote weight loss, lower cholesterol, and fight cognitive decline including dementia and Alzheimer’s. It has hundreds of benefits both internally and externally. Coconut oil can be used as moisturizer, deodorant, toothpaste, or chapstick, and it is one of the best oils to cook with.

9. Quinoa – Quinoa is a grain-like seed that has a nutty flavor. It can be used in place of rice or pasta in many dishes and there are plenty of good reasons to do so. Quinoa is rich in protein, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine which is often lacking in other grains. It is also gluten free.

10. Chia – Chia seeds were a staple of the Aztecs. Their warriors and messengers would carry pouches of these nutrient rich seeds that allowed them to run long distances with little other food. Chia seeds are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, essential fatty acids, and more. Chia seeds lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, boost energy, aid in healthy weight loss, reduce inflammation, and help the body remove toxins.

11. Broccoli – Broccoli has been the brunt of health food jokes forever, but it remains one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. It is rich in vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and calcium. It keeps bones and teeth healthy and strong, helps regulate blood pressure, berries_blueberries_strawberries_blackberries_cherries_raspberries_picbolsters the immune system, fights cancer, and keeps the heart healthy.

12. Berries – Berries are a fairly low calorie, low sugar fruit thanks to their small size, water content, and amount of fiber. Berries are also one of the richest sources of a multitude of antioxidants that protect against cancer, clean up free radicals, and prevent cellular aging. Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, grapes, and raspberries are the ones you may be familiar with. Also look for camu camu, goji, and acai berries.

13. Cabbage – Cabbage is rich in sulfur compounds that have been linked to cancer prevention, maintaining heart health, and defeating microbial infections. Cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C and several other phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, B vitamins, vitamin K, and many essential minerals. It also protects the brain against cognitive decline, boosts immune function, aids digestion, and protects the eyes.

14. Cacao – The bean that chocolate comes from is an extremely antioxidant rich little seed. Chocolate becomes unhealthy as we add sugars and animal fats to them, but the original raw seeds are super healthy. They contain protein, good fats, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium, and magnesium. They stimulate endorphins and neurotransmitters that let us feel good and calm. Beside the antioxidant benefits, cacao is good for hair, skin, and nails.

e15. Kiwis – Kiwi is one of the richest sources of vitamin C with fiber and potassium. Vitamin C is used throughout the body to maintain tissue health including the elasticity of our skin, prevent cancer, protect DNA from damage, support immune function, and keep up respiratory health. The fiber helps remove toxins, maintain digestive health, and lower cholesterol too.

This is in no way a comprehensive list. If you want to learn more about superfoods and where to find them, check out our many other articles on the subject. Try 45 Superfoods to Add to Your Diet.

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

Sunwarrior likes to share. Please feel free to repost articles as long as you always link back to the original and credit the author.

COMMENTS / REPLIES 22

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  • I am food science and technology MSc holder in Ethiopia Which I need your support for the purpose of helping for the farmers living with very malnourished situation
    thank you

  • Great article.

    So many people are entirely food-focused - they live to eat rather than eat to live and missing out on so much life with all that time and energy wasted on food in one form or another.

    Once or twice a day, I'll throw a 70/30 ratio of leafy greens (with lots of Moringa leaves), some frozen fruit, a handful of chia seeds and maybe a spoonful of nut butter into my Vitamix - and that's it.

    Takes all of 3 minutes.

    That leaves me 23 hours and 57 minutes of every day to do some serious living - so much more fun than being a slave to food, a slave to social customs surrounding food, and slave to a kitchen :)

    • Moderator

      In reply to Suzanne's comment

      Thank you, Suzanne. I enjoy a good well-prepared meal now and again, but I agree with you that we spend a lot of time and energy worrying about how our food looks, smells, tastes, and gets made. Food, food, food. Your shake sounds as delicious as it sounds nutritious! I love it!

  • What about Watercress and others from the CDC study? Kale is well below other greens.

    http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/13_0390.htm

    • Moderator

      In reply to jeff's comment

      I love watercress, Jeff. I use it and dandelion as microgreens. The only reason I didn't mention them is because kale is a little more approachable for most people. Thank you for the link!

  • i aprove

  • If only more people knew the benefits and results of eating a more nutrient dense diet, many sickness would be avoided, obesity wouldn't be such an issue, and the strain on the environment would ease. Great article with plenty of practical and available foods to add to ones diet!

  • May I share this on my twitter feed?

  • I hope that there is not broccoli from Monsanto or GMO products.

  • Thats really true,almost everybody eat moringa in our country and it gives us more energy if we eat this vegestable,here in the US,I planted some moringa too.If whoever wants to buy some moringa seedlings,i have at home here in Florida.Just leave a message or send email,[email protected]

  • Great list! Where is moringa from, never heard of it.

  • An excellent list. These, plus a wholesome vegetarian diet should ensure less health problems. At 78, after over 60 years as a vegetarian I have certainly benefited. I've had 'flu only once as an adult and haven't even had a cold for 9 years. Compared with my siblings, I have not suffered, as they have, with heart attacks, cancer and severe joint problems (replacements). They are not eating a wholefood or vegetarian diet. It seems quite convincing, doesn't it?

  • Great list but where can we find Microalgae and Microgreens and Moringa?
    Thank you

    • In reply to Jean Lewis's comment

      Couldn't we find it at Whole Foods Market?

    • Moderator

      In reply to Keri Ann's comment

      You can sometimes find microgreen mixes, but microgreen kits are more common for growing them yourself. You can also find microalgae at almost any health food store, Keri Ann.

    • Moderator

      In reply to Jean Lewis's comment

      Good question, Jean! We're coming out with a microalgae product very soon that includes moringa oil. We'll also be adding moringa to our greens. You can buy moringa powder and even little trees from moringafarms.com. Microgreens are something you have to grow for yourself for now.

  • wow when I looked at the list of lower cholesterol food on your list. I eat them all.

    It's good to know. Thanks

    Carmen