To look great and feel your best, it’s time to eat healthy. Not all healthy foods are created equal, however. Particular foods are nutrient-dense, meaning that each bite is packed with essential nutrients that build up your body and help it operate at peak efficiency. Adding nutrient-dense foods to your diet is easy because they're delicious and convenient.
If your idea of "leafy greens" consists of a bit of lettuce on a hamburger, it's time to expand your experience. Lettuce and salad greens are considered leafy greens, but darker greens, including kale, swiss chard, and collard greens, are especially nutrient-dense. You can eat them in a salad, soup, or sauté them. Greens are nutrient dense because they contain a multitude of vitamins and micronutrients such as calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, iron, and magnesium. Just a small amount of greens each day can help control your blood sugar, boost your immune system, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Fatty fish, sometimes called oily fish, don't sound very healthy, but they actually are. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, perch, cod, sardines, and pollock provide you with essential fats that your body can't produce on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Fish has many health benefits, such as phosphorus which can help your teeth. They're also an excellent source of protein, as well as niacin, vitamin B-12, iron, zinc, and calcium. Nearly every part of your body is nourished by the nutrients in fish.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds have been a basic part of the human diet since ancient times, and they're still an important source for nutrition. Each type of nut or seed has unique benefits. For example, pistachios contain lutein and zeaxanthin, important for eye health. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, which helps your thyroid function properly. Just a small handful provides you with protein, vitamins, and phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants. Keep in mind that nuts and seeds are high in calories, so don't overdo it. Try sprinkling a few in salads or a stir-fry!
It's easy to include nutrient-dense food as part of your daily diet, and the benefits are substantial. Because they're so nutritious, you don’t need a ton for maximum effect. You'll feel the difference now and enjoy better health in the future.
Read this next: How to Put a Healthy Spin on Popular Meals