The 10 Most Nutrient-Dense Foods In The World
Image Credit: Salmon | Image Credit:

Food, or more specifically, our diet, requires proper planning. The main reason is that while some nutrients are easy to get, some other vital nutrients are difficult to get through commonly available foods. Of course, the gift of modern supply chains means that no food is unavailable in our times. That said, planning a regular diet that includes nutrient-dense foods will always be crucial. The operative words here are "regular" and "nutrient-dense."

For instance, vitamin D is notoriously difficult to optimize in our body and inevitably requires supplementation at some point in our lives, especially for those of us who do not venture outside beyond a few minutes, whether on account of work or other reasons (excuses!). Conversely, vitamin K1 (which helps blood clot) is probably the easiest to get through our diet. Magnesium is a micronutrient that many people tend to be deficient in. But it is also relatively easier to resolve if you eat enough vegetables on a daily basis. We also need to get a healthy amount of vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, etc., so we need to factor those in when planning our grocery purchases. Let’s look at some of the easily available foods that pack in the most nutrients to help you reach your daily requirements for great overall health:

1)    Salmon 

Salmon is packed with micronutrients and helps fight inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes. This fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect against cardiovascular problems. This fish is so good for your health that many people even eat the skin. Salmon is rich in high-quality protein, making it ideal as a full meal. It is also packed with several vitamins: B3, B5, B6, B12, D, and E. It also contains minerals like selenium and potassium. Eating fish regularly is associated with improved weight management, a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and even dementia. Salmon is the superfood to beat all superfoods.

2)    Legumes  

We know legumes because of our daals and beans, but this group of foods also includes peas and peanuts. So, adding beans, lentils, soybeans, peanuts, and peas will add a ton of healthy micronutrients to your diet. All of these are high in dietary fiber, which improves the overall health of the digestive system. The upside of high fiber is that it makes us feel fuller for longer, thereby helping reduce the number of calories we eat per day. Legumes are easily among the best sources of plant-based proteins and are a necessity for vegetarians and vegans. The complex carbohydrates in legumes take longer to break down, which helps stabilize blood glucose levels and also provides energy for longer periods. Legumes are also a good source of vitamins, antioxidants, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

3)    Eggs 

You knew this was coming. Eggs are chock-a-block with good nutrients. They contain small amounts of almost every kind of nutrient required by humans. A natural (and delicious) multivitamin source, the average egg contains every vitamin required by your body except vitamin C. (Yes, it also has trace amounts of vitamin D, but you’ll still need to get some sunlight on your skin.)

Eggs are low in carbohydrates and rich in healthy fats and animal proteins, making them a very good addition to the diet for those seeking to lose weight. Eggs are a good source of iron, iodine, phosphorus, and selenium. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration in the eyes.

4)    Avocado 

The avocado is highly nutritious. It is a fantastic source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA); avocado oil contains 71% monounsaturated fatty acids, 13% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and 16% saturated fatty acids (SFA). It also has a surprising amount of protein: one medium avocado packs 3 grams of protein, or a little under what a medium-sized egg white provides. Avocados are also a good source of vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, and K. They also double as a good source of folate, magnesium, copper, and manganese. The high fiber and plant-based antioxidants in this fruit are a bonus, making it a superfruit.

5)    Berries 

Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. are very nutrient-dense. They’re excellent sources of antioxidants, which fight aging, boost our immunity, and protect against inflammation and cancer. They’re high in fiber as well as vitamins C, K, and folate. Berries are also good sources of minerals like manganese and copper. They are associated with lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.

6)    Nuts 

Nuts are awesome. They’re easy to consume, last a long time, and have a ton of health benefits. In fact, the problem has always been curtailing our consumption of nuts. Walnuts, almonds, etc. are rich in MUFA, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B1 (thiamine), and vitamin B9 (folate). They also contain useful quantities of potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Do not overdo the nuts, though. It’s very easy to go overboard because of how tasty they are. And yes, skip the salted variety.

7)    Garlic 

For a vegetable that was so unpopular until not too long ago, garlic really has come a long way. And with good reason. The benefits of garlic come from its main ingredient: Allicin. This compound is known to lower lipid levels in the blood, raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and also lower blood pressure. Garlic is known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties and also protects against cancer when consumed as part of a healthy diet. With good amounts of vitamins like B1, B6, and C, as well as minerals like calcium, potassium, selenium, manganese, and copper, garlic is a nutrient-dense superfood that must absolutely be a part of your kitchen at all times.

8)    Dark Chocolate 

Dark chocolate is the fun entry in all such lists. For those of us who adore this (super)food, it is an endless source of gratitude that dark chocolate contains so many nutrients that eating small amounts of it on a regular basis is part of good health. It is rich—very rich—in antioxidants that protect our overall health. Some research studies showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidants than any other food tested, including blueberries!

It is a great source of fiber and minerals like magnesium, manganese, copper, etc. It improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and helps protect against heart disease by lowering LDL levels. All good things have a catch, so here’s the deal with dark chocolate: make sure you eat dark chocolate that has over 70% cocoa and without added sugar. For maximum benefit, go for dark chocolate that is 85% cocoa or higher. But be warned, they can get pretty bitter. Health experts recommend eating just one square of dark chocolate per day. But look at the bright side: one piece of dark chocolate every day for great health!

9)    Potatoes 

The humble, addictive aloo gets a bad rap. Yes, we fry/cook the daylights out of it, but that’s on us. Potatoes are nutrient-dense: they’re rich in vitamin C, most B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, and manganese. They’re among the most filling foods we can eat, so they actually help keep us away from snacking. In fact, some studies have shown that boiled potatoes provide more satiety than any other food tested. Once potatoes cool down after cooking, they form what's known as "resistant starch," a starch that behaves like fiber and has many health benefits. (If only we had a way of resisting the lure of deep-fried French fries.)

10)     Seaweed 

These are edible plants found in the ocean. They’re also nutrient-dense, making them one of the best foods in the world. If you‘ve had sushi, you have most likely tasted seaweed since it is used as an edible wrapping. Seaweed is often more nutritious than land vegetables, as it is filled with minerals like iron, calcium, iodine, magnesium, and manganese and a ton of antioxidants that help fight inflammation.