to Better Health
When it comes to health and wellness, many of us focus on exercise, sleep, and stress levels. While all of these are important behaviors to prioritize, one often-overlooked key to achieving optimal health is nutrient density.
What is Nutrient Density?
Nutrient density is the measure of a food’s nutrients, namely vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) per calorie. Upon evaluating the nutrient density of different foods, one can decide which offer the greatest health benefit for the least amount of calories.
Maximizing Nutrient Density for Optimal Health
Reaching optimal health requires us to eat an abundance of nutrient-dense foods that are high in essential vitamins and minerals. It is equally important to limit foods with low nutrient density (such as processed foods and sugary beverages). As each individual’s needs are different, there is no “one size fits all” approach to maximizing nutrient density.
Fortunately, there are a few guidelines that everyone can follow when creating a diet to maximize nutrient density and better health.
Guidelines for Maximizing Nutrient Density
- Eat mostly whole foods: Whole foods are always the most nutrient-dense option. It’s best to focus on consuming foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.
- Include lean proteins: Eating protein is essential as it helps build and repair tissue, improve metabolism, and promote satiety. Good sources of protein are lean meats, poultry, eggs, and fish.
- Choose healthy fats: Certain types of fats are necessary for the proper functioning of our bodies, and should be included in moderation within a balanced diet. Ideal sources of healthy fats are nuts, avocados, and olive oil.
- Vary your diet: Eating a variety of foods from different food groups makes it easier to reach the Recommended Dietary Allowance for all essential vitamins and minerals. Eating a diverse diet also helps to prevent monotony and improve overall dietary satisfaction.
Final Thoughts on Maximizing Nutrient Density and Better Health
Maximizing nutrient density is key to achieving optimal health. One should base their diet around nutrient-dense whole foods, proteins, and healthy fats, while varying the types of food they eat. Following these dietary guidelines, while taking into account individual needs, will set one on a path to better health and wellness.