We all know that consuming nutrients is good for your health, but do you know exactly which foods are the right for the job? In honor of National Nutrition Month, we’re focusing on making informed food choices to achieve a more balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
While you may already know that green, leafy foods are rich in nutrients, did you know that other non-assuming foods like potatoes, garlic and blueberries also fit the bill? According to Healthline, these foods are some of the most nutrient-dense foods. Also included on the list are salmon, kale, seaweed, garlic, shellfish, potatoes, liver, sardines, blueberries, egg yolk and dark chocolate. While we aren’t suggesting that your diet consists only of these 11 foods, we do suggest making a conscious effort to work these foods into your diet more often.
Outside of this list, there are many other foods that contain the nutrients you need to live a healthy, balanced life. For example, foods high in fiber often double as nutrient-rich foods. These include whole grains such as steel-cut oats or quinoa, legumes such as dried beans or peas, and richly-colored fruits like strawberries and raspberries. When it comes to protein, it’s typically beneficial to opt for low-fat choices like plant-based protein, lean meats and seafood.
Looking at your nutrient intake as a whole, it’s important to focus on balance. Foods rich in vitamins A, C and E are found primarily found in fruits and vegetables. When balancing your diet, you should include a combination of these in your diet throughout the day. For example, try adding a handful of kale in your morning smoothie, or adding some spinach to your scrambled eggs. Remember, the foundation of a nutrient-rich diet is a balanced plate. How do you achieve this? Here are some of our best tips:
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that half of the food on your plate is a combination of fruits or vegetables. Focusing on creating a colorful plate is an easy way to ensure that you are getting your needed amount of daily nutrients.
- Drink water. Drinking water is one of the best, and easiest, ways to keep your body healthy. Not only does water help your body filter out toxins, but it also helps to regulate your body temperature and, of course, is an essential daily nutrient. To ensure that you are drinking enough water, try carrying a reusable water bottle with you as you go about your day.
- Keep nutrient-rich foods on hand. When those afternoon cravings hit, making sure you have healthy snacks that are easily accessible is key to making smarter food choices. Keep peanut butter, fruit or protein bars in your car, desk drawer or purse.
- Plan your meals. An easy way to ensure that you are getting nutrients is to plan and shop for your own groceries. When you plan out your weekly grocery list, you can better track what proteins, fruits and vegetables you’ll have access to throughout your week. That way, when it comes time to cook meals, you have healthy foods readily available. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring either—try planning nutrient-rich meals around foods you enjoy eating.
- Stay up-to-date on doctor appointments. When scheduling your yearly physical appointments, be sure to work in a blood work test every now and then as well. While you may think that you are getting enough nutrients, a blood test will show what levels of vitamins and minerals you may not be getting enough of.
At NorthCrest Health, we are committed to the overall health and happiness of our patients. Visit our website or give us a call at 615-384-2411 to start fueling a healthier life.