6 Nutrient-dense plant-based foods you need to include in your diet!
A lot has changed in how plants are grown since the days of your ancestors. Curiosity has piqued for consumers wanting to learn more about their food, such as where their food comes from, whether it’s organic and if it’s genetically modified, and even the distance it has travelled.
One of the primary concerns is the nutritional content. The human body requires certain nutrients for proper functioning and growth.
It’s not difficult for vegans to get essential nutrients. In the vegan world, nuts, and seeds are broken down into pieces and dissected to figure out which food is “super” or which is “nutritionally superior”. The main goal in the vegan world is to help animals, save the planet and live a sustainable lifestyle while simultaneously striving for optimal health; therefore, it is crucial to be picky about what they eat.
Hence, nutrient-dense foods are a hot topic for vegans, as these foods are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories. They contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. By eating these foods often, the body will stay energized and function better. Here is a list of 6 nutrient-dense plant-based foods you need to include in your diet!
With an ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) score of 340, broccoli is a superior, nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable. These little trees are a good source of protein, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. Broccoli also has a ton of dietary fibre, vitamins A, C, K, and B6; also present in this veggie are essential nutrients like folate, potassium and manganese.
Spinach has an ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) score of 707 and has a minute amount of fat and cholesterol. Full of lutein, which helps protect the eyes and decrease inflammation, spinach is one of the most popular, dark, leafy greens. When you bring it home, soak it in cold water, spin or pat dry, make sure to eat as soon as possible for the most nutritional benefit. This leafy green is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fibre, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese, all of which are good for your body!
A nutritious veggie, cabbage does not go rancid quickly, so it’s capable of being stored in your fridge for longer than many greens—up to weeks at a time without losing many nutrients. While shopping for cabbages, it’s best to look for compact heads that are heavy and firm. Eating cabbage shortly after purchase will result in the most flavour as it loses its sweetness in a few days after being refrigerated.
Strawberries have an ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) score of 182. Strawberries support and prevent cardiovascular disease, improve the regulation of blood sugar, and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. They also help to prevent certain cancer types, including breast, cervical, colon and esophageal cancer.
5. Flax seeds
Flax seeds have an ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) score of 103. Flaxseeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and the primary acid in it is alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. Flaxseeds also contain lignans which are fibre-like compounds that provide antioxidant protection due to their structure as polyphenols. ALA and lignans may be helpful for heart diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and other health problems.
Carrots have an ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) score of 458. A study showed participants who had the least carrot intake had the least amount of CVD risk reduction, even though they still received risk-reducing benefits from their carrot intake. But, those who consumed at least 25 more grams (less than ¼ of a cup) of carrots had a significantly lower risk of CVD. On top of that, the participants who ate 50- or 75-grams of carrots daily had an even more greatly reduced risk of CVD. So, make sure to eat these orange beauties daily!
There you have it! The best nutrient-dense foods are also unique to you and your tastes. If there is one simple take-home message, it would be to keep in mind the nutritional power of quality—go with the highest quality when you can. Enjoy a greater nutrient density!
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