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What are some nutrient-dense foods?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
When choosing what to eat, emphasize nutrient-dense foods, which are packed with vitamins and minerals and have relatively few calories. These foods have a lot of nutrients per calorie:
  • Avocados
  • Chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Mushrooms (crimini and shiitake)
  • Potatoes (white or sweet)
  • Cantaloupe, papaya, raspberries, strawberries
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
  • Beans (garbanzo, kidney, navy, pinto)
  • Lentils, peas
  • Almonds, cashews, peanuts
  • Barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice
  • Salmon, halibut, herring, anchovies, scallops, shrimp, tuna

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine
Nutrient-dense foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, seafood, low- or no-fat milk products, eggs, poultry, and whole grains. You should try to eat more nutrient-dense foods and less of foods that are not nutrient dense, such as solid fats, complex and refined sugars (crackers, cookies, breads, sweets), and fatty meats.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.