The World's Healthiest Foods are health-promoting foods that can change your life.

Try the exciting new lunch recipe from Day 5 of our upcoming 7-Day Meal Plan.

The George Mateljan Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests or
advertising. Our mission is to help you eat and cook the healthiest way for optimal health.
What is nutrient density and why is it so important?

Like anything involving "density," " nutrient density" means how much you get of one thing, given the presence of something else. In the case of nutrient density, the "things" you receive, the nutrients, are analyzed in relationship to how much they "cost" you, in terms of calories. Simply stated, nutrient density means how many nutrients you get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. Nutrient density is a simple way to connect nutrients with calories.

More nutrients for less calories

Nutrient dense foods give you the most nutrients for the fewest amount of calories. In other words, nutrient dense foods give you the "biggest bang for the buck." You get lots of nutrients, and it doesn't cost you much in terms of calories.

Nutrient density is the exact principle we used when we rated all of 127 foods found on the World's Healthiest Foods website. The World's Healthiest Foods give you the biggest bang for your buck. They give you the most nutrients possible for the least amount of calories.

Eating nutrient dense foods is one of the healthiest ways to eat

Eating nutrient dense foods like the World's Healthiest Foods is one of the healthiest ways that anyone can eat. No principle is more likely to support healthy eating than the principle of nutrient density. Why is nutrient density so helpful? Because it gives you concentrated amount of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients, to name a few.

Nutrient density — an example

Let's take a quick example. Let's say you're low on vitamin E, and decide to eat a food that is not nutrient dense. A slice of run-of-the-mill white bread will give you about 1/10th of a milligram of vitamin E. This 1/10th of a milligram will cost you about 80 calories (the number of calories in a slice of many white breads). Now let's compare this number and amount to a slice of 100% whole wheat bread.

Whole grain products, like most whole foods, are nutrient dense. A slice of 100% whole wheat bread will cost you approximately the same number of calories (about 70-75 calories) but the vitamin E content will be substantially different. Instead of getting only 100 micrograms of vitamin E in exchange for your 70-80 calories, with 100% whole grain bread, you will get between 250 and 500 micrograms. Or, to put it somewhat differently, you would have to eat between 2-1/2 and 5 slices of run-of-the-mill white bread in order to get the same amount of vitamin E as is found in one slice of 100% whole wheat bread. And those extra 1-1/2 to 4 slices would cost you as much as 320 additional calories.

Getting your nutrients from nutrient dense foods is clearly the way to go! Why? Because in this example, it would save you about 320 calories. While that amount might not sound like a lot, in terms of average walking, it would mean an additional 45 minutes of walking just to break even. It would also be the equivalent of a 33-pound weight gain every year if it happened on a daily basis.

Practical tips

No foods are more nutrient dense than whole, organically-grown foods. The reason is simple: nothing is contained in a fresh, whole organic food that doesn't need to be there. That's why we've picked whole, organically-grown foods as the World's Healthiest Foods. Everything you need to stay optimally nourished is right there, packaged in its lowest calorie form. We've created delicious, simple to prepare recipes that feature these whole, organically grown foods. Try the recipes or make up your own using the World's Healthiest Foods, since these foods are your best connection to nutrient density, and nutrient density is your best bet for a healthy way of eating.

Printer friendly version

Send this page to a friend...

rss


Find Out What Foods You Should Eat This Week

Also find out about the recipe, nutrient and hot topic of the week on our home page.

 

Everything you want to know about healthy eating and cooking from our new book.
2nd Edition
Order this Incredible 2nd Edition at the same low price of $39.95 and also get 2 FREE gifts valued at $51.95. Read more

Newsletter SignUp

Your Email:

Healthy Eating
Healthy Cooking
Nutrients from Food
Website Articles
Community
Privacy Policy and Visitor Agreement
References
For education only, consult a healthcare practitioner for any health problems.

We're Number 1
in the World!

35 million visitors per year.
The World's Healthiest Foods website is a leading source of information and expert on the Healthiest Way of Eating and Cooking. It's one of the most visited website on the internet when it comes to "Healthiest Foods" and "Healthiest Recipes" and comes up #1 on a Google search for these phrases.

Over 100 Quick &
Easy Recipes

Our Recipe Assistant will help you find the recipe that suits your personal needs. The majority of recipes we offer can be both prepared and cooked in 20 minutes or less from start to finish; a whole meal can be prepared in 30 minutes. A number of them can also be prepared ahead of time and enjoyed later.

World's Healthiest
Foods
is expanded

What's in our new book:
  • 180 more pages
  • Smart Menu
  • Nutrient-Rich Cooking
  • 300 New Recipes
  • New Nutrient Articles and Profiles
  • New Photos and Design
privacy policy and visitor agreement | who we are | site map | what's new
For education only, consult a healthcare practitioner for any health problems.
© 2001-2017 The George Mateljan Foundation, All Rights Reserved