Probably one of the most important topics I cover with groups and in my individual coaching sessions is NUTRIENT DENSITY. Teaching people the BEST sources of carbs, fats, and proteins in which to reap the best micronutrient benefits for energy and decreased inflammation. I often share the difference between the number of carbs in a sweet potato vs a granola bar, for example. Both have the same amount of carbs if you are counting macros, but the sweet potato hands down contains 10 times the nutrition.
Micronutrients include vitamins, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids and amino acids. Every cell, tissue and organ of the body needs micronutrients to function effectively. Micronutrient deficiency is a major underlying cause of chronic disease, fatigue and inflammation. Nutrient density refers to the concentration of nutrients per calorie of food. If your diet is centered around grass fed meats, shellfish, bright fruit, cruciferous veggies, leafy greens, mushrooms, fermented veggies, herbs, tubers, and olive oil you should be in great shape!
Vitamin D, which I covered at length in the January blog HERE is required for the function of every system in the body. Insufficient vitamin D is strongly linked to autoimmune disease and has been implicated as an environmental trigger for Lupus, type 1 Diabetes, MS, RA, Celiac, Psoriasis, and IBD. Average sun exposure for most people is inadequate. 75% of people in Northern climates (that’s us) are deficient. In my years of practice and testing people I’ve only had TWO clients with sufficient vitamin D. TWO out of hundreds!
Let’s talk Root Veggies as one example of nutrient density. I’ll cover additional foods the rest of this month in my live broadcasts so head over to my Facebook page for those HERE. Root veggies include things like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, parsnips, celery root, taro, cassava, and rutabaga. They are rich in slow burning carbohydrates which are great for sustained energy. One medium potato is 160 calories and has 4 g fiber, and ¼ your daily value of vitamin c! A medium sweet potato has 100 calories, 4g fiber, and 438% of your daily vitamin A!!! Sweet potatoes are anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, liver protective and blood sugar lowering. Vitamins in sweet potatoes have been shown to be protective against colon tumors and bladder cancer cells in scientific studies. They reduce inflammation and prevent free radical damage. Turnips are likewise like the potato for vitamin c. Turnips have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive and anti-oxidative effects largely because of their bioactive compounds. Cassava is another good root vegetable example. It contains resistant starch which improves insulin sensitivity, increases satiety, and lowers blood sugars. Cassava is also high in vitamin C!
Root veggies contain a variety of carbohydrates that feed beneficial species of bacteria in the gut: Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus to name the big two. Presence of these two in the gut have been directly connected with lower body fat in humans.
So, what root veggies do you regularly make part of your diet? Root veggies and fruits is where I suggest most people get their carbohydrates from, vs processed foods, sugars and grains-simply for the reasons of nutrient density.
Want a customized meal plan with root veggies? Contact me with a free consult HERE!
Keep Moving Forward 😊 Sarah