Have you ever noticed some foods leave you feeling tired and unsatisfied, while other foods seem to make you feel more energized and alert? That’s because some foods contain far more nutrition than other foods. We call these ‘nutrient dense foods’.
Nutrient dense foods are high in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and low in calories. They fuel your body and fill you up, providing the energy you need to look and feel your best.
On the other hand, processed foods that are packed with refined sugars, sodium, and preservatives are often full of ’empty calories’ from sugar and saturated fats. Things like pastries, candies, and soda might give you a short-term energy boost, but in the long run these low-quality foods can actually make it harder to lose weight and enjoy good health.
Whether you’re just beginning your weight loss journey, getting ready to have laparoscopic bariatric surgery, or you’d simply like to improve your diet, it is important to eat nutrient dense foods. By focusing on nutrient dense foods you’ll spend less time counting calories and more time actually enjoying the foods you eat.
Nutrient Dense Foods Explained
In a nutshell, nutrient dense foods are natural, unprocessed foods with high levels of the minerals and vitamins you’d expect to find in a high-quality multivitamin – things like calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, B, and E, as well as healthy fats. These healthy foods are relatively low in calories, which means that you can enjoy snacks and meals filled with nutrient dense foods without fear that they’ll make you gain unwanted weight.
Nutrient Dense Food List
While almost every fresh, unprocessed fruit and vegetable can be considered a ‘nutrient dense food’, some stand out for having exceptionally high nutrient values, making them a must-have for anyone who wants to improve their diet.
Here are some examples of foods that are high in nutrients, and relatively low in calories:
- Asparagus – One cup of cooked asparagus contains a mere 40 calories while delivering exceptionally high levels of Vitamin C, B1 and B2, and 3 grams of dietary fiber.
- Wild Alaskan Salmon – Unlike most types of seafood, salmon is actually high in Omega-3 fat, a type of fat that’s essential for healthy brain functioning, reduces joint pain and helps with cardiovascular functioning.
- Pineapple – Pineapples contain many vitamins and minerals, and are packed with bromelain. Bromelain is a nutrient linked with improved immune system functioning, better digestion and even cancer prevention.
- Sprouts – Alfalfa, chickpea, broccoli and sunflower sprouts are all exceptionally low in calories and high in Vitamins C and K, as well as iron and fiber. They make a great addition to salads, wraps, sandwiches and even smoothies!
How Nutrient Dense Foods Can Help You Achieve A Healthy Body Weight
Choosing nutrient dense foods can help you lose unwanted weight, and help you maintain a healthy body weight following LAP-BAND, gastric bypass, or gastric sleeve surgery. When you eat foods that are high in nutrients but low in calories, you’ll feel full and satisfied without overeating.
Better yet, eating high-nutrient foods like spinach, raspberries, sweet potatoes and salmon can actually boost your immune system so you’ll feel better. Many of these foods can also help regulate blood sugar levels which is a critical part of controlling cravings that can lead to overeating.
If you’d like to learn more about how nutrient dense foods can help you along your medical weight loss journey, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our weight loss experts.