Eating healthy comes with plenty of positives for the body and the mind! Eating healthier makes us feel good, when we feel good we’re happier and more productive, and cycle continues. Of course, you don’t want to keep the same old foods on rotation week after week – so, how do you get the most nutrients without getting bored? Easy: munch on these unexpected nutrient-dense foods!
Where there’s sea, there’s seaweed – and that’s good news for us! Of the thousands of different plant species in the ocean, some are very nutritious. They’re collectively referred to as seaweed and these nutrient-dense foods contains a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals based on where the seaweeds were grown. Compared to the plants we see on land, seaweed is far more rich in nutrients such as:
- Dietary fiber
- ω-3 fatty acids
- Essential amino acids
- and vitamins A, B, C, and E.
Seaweed is a regular part of the Asian diet, and many Japanese homes can have four or five unique kinds on hand depending on common local dishes! But, you don’t have to travel far to add it into your diet. It’s extremely versatile and can be used in everything from including sushi, soups, salads, and even smoothies once you grab it.
This spicy, green plant is not only considered healthier than kale – it’s been ranked as the #1 most nutrient-rich vegetable per 100-calorie serving by Jennifer Di Noia of William Paterson University! Watercress contains four times the beta-carotene + vitamin A of broccoli, apples, and tomatoes and broccoli, but that’s not all. It’s a fantastic source of:
- Vitamin C
- and Pantothenic acid
Another great thing about this item on our list of unexpected nutrient-dense foods? It is generally grown without the use of major chemical fertilizers, fungicides and requires very few pesticides!
In terms of unexpected nutrient dense foods, this guy just might be the winner! Beef, pork, or chicken – you can’t go wrong in terms of getting that nutritional punch. Each of them is incredibly rich in:
- Vitamins A + B12
…and more! It’s pretty simple to make but, if you aren’t quite ready to dive in head-first, you can easily cook it up and mix it into your favorite stews or veggie bowls once per week to get all the benefits.
Shellfish are among the world’s most nutritious foods, but most people rarely consume them. This is sad considering that, while many animal products are high in nutrients, shellfish could just be the most nutritious of them all. More specifically, oysters! Only 100 grams gives you:
- < 600% RDI for zinc
- 200% RDI for copper
- 324% RDA for vitamin B12
- 223% RDA for copper
- 91% RDA for selenium
- 80% RDA for vitamin D
- 37% RDA for iron
Pretty impressive, right? You don’t have to eat them raw to get the benefits – just stay away from the fried ones.
Almost everyone knows that salmon is the best fish for getting those omega-3s, but not all salmon is created equal. Much of the salmon you buy in-stores isn’t caught in the wild but bred in fish farms instead. Why does it matter? The nutrient composition of wild and farmed salmon can differ greatly as you can see below:
- Farmed salmon is fed with processed fish feed while wild salmon eat various invertebrates
- Farmed salmon contains slightly more omega-3s, more omega-6 & 3x the amount of saturated fat.
- Farmed salmon has up to 46% more calories
- Wild salmon is higher in minerals like potassium, zinc and iron.
Whenever possible (and if your budget allows) try and whip up your next seafood dinner with wild-caught salmon instead!