Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Nutrient Dense. What Does It Mean?

As I read articles about healthy eating I quite often see the term "nutrient dense".  Dietary guidelines encourage us to choose foods that provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals in relationship to the calories.  Empty calories by the way refers to junk food or treats.  A treat is something special.  Being knowledgeable about the foods we eat by either checking them on the internet or reading food labels allows us to make the best choices.  For example, iceberg lettuce is pretty much water, about 98%.  At $3.49 per head, we choose spinach for a salad and get a lot more bang for the buck.  Even Romaine gives a lot of vitamin A.  White potatoes gives us a measureable amount of vitamin C, but over 60 grams of carbohydrate.  That's pretty pricey vitamin C.  Look at the whole picture and make food choices that for the fewest calories will give the most nutrition.  A white potatoe is not it.   If you haven't already, start by eliminating refined foods where much of the good stuff has been stripped away and shop for real food.  By eating foods like broccoli, tomatoes, squash, mushrooms to name a few the chance increases of getting vitamins and minerals and fiber needed every day. They're also a little help for the immune system and some protection from some cancers. If you are trying for a healthy lifestyle, this is the place to start.