Nutritional science has evolved immensely over the last 100 years. Every decade a whole new classification of nutrients is discovered and named. The more time we spend analyzing the natural foods God gave us, the more incredible life-sustaining nutrients we find. Several years ago a major breakthrough in nutritional science occurred when Dr. Joel Fuhrman developed a system for scoring foods by their level of nutrient density.
Dr. Furhman spent years deeply researching the nutritional literature in his quest for the right nutritional formula to utilize with his patient base. He titled this system he founded A.N.D.I or Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. This system ranks the value of a food based on the amount of nutrients per calorie. The higher the nutrients per calorie the more beneficial the diet is at slowing down the aging process and improving quality of life.
These ANDI rankings take into account the named and measurable levels of essential nutrients and anti-oxidant scores. There are still many new and upcoming nutrients that have yet to be classified and didn't factor into the ANDI scores. Colored vegetables contained the largest array of beneficial phytonutrients, trace minerals, and anti-oxidants. Several other factors are taken into account to classify an appropriate nutritional program. These factors include:
1.Levels of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) per calorie.
2.Amounts of macronutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein) to meet individual needs without excessive calories that may lead to weight gain or health compromise.
3.Avoidance of potentially toxic substances (such as trans fats) and limited amounts of other potentially harmful substances (such as sodium).
Atop of the ANDI score are collard greens, kale, watercress, and mustard/turnip greens which are extremely rich in nutrients and low in calories. These leafy green vegetables factor out with a perfect 1000 ANDI score. Other high placing foods include spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and berries. Surprisingly, olive oil is near the bottom of the list with a ranking of 2. This is due to its rich caloric intake. Despite the low ranking, olive oil is still beneficial to the body and should be incorporated in a healthy diet.
Low nutrient eating leads to increased oxidative stress, free radicals, and advanced glycolytic end-products (AGEs). These AGEs are sticky proteins that damage various tissues and accelerate the aging and degenerative processes in our bodies. Every time we eat food we produce metabolic waste that causes free radicals & AGEs. The food itself should contain the anti-oxidants and phytonutrients needed to neutralize and detoxify the waste. If the food is deficient in neutralizers for the waste it produces, then it has a weakening effect on the bodily systems.
A healthy diet has an abundance of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. Ideally, our internal system should have a surplus of these powerful agents that quickly minimize the damaging effects of metabolic waste. The best way to ensure this is to eat lots of these nutrient rich fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also essential to get more calorie rich foods such as healthy fat sources like avocados, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed meat products, free-range eggs, nuts and seeds. The proper combination of these provides the body with the essential calories and nutrients to produce abundant energy and quality of life.