Whole foods tend to be loaded with nutrients. In general, getting your nutrients from foods is better than getting them from supplements. That being said, some foods are much more nutritious than others. In some cases, one serving of a food can satisfy more than 100% of your daily requirements for one or more nutrients.
Here are 8 healthy foods that contain higher amounts of certain nutrients than multivitamins.
Kale is extremely healthy.
It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and is particularly high in vitamin K1.
Vitamin K1 is essential for blood clotting and may play a role in bone health.
One cup, or 67 grams, of fresh kale contains the following nutrients in extremely high amounts:
- Vitamin K1: 900% of the RDI.
- Vitamin C: 134% of the RDI.
- Copper: 111% of the RDI.
Furthermore, kale is also high in fiber, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium and iron.
Bottom Line: Kale contains very high amounts of vitamin K1, vitamin C and copper. A single serving of fresh kale provides over 100% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for these nutrients.
Iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, affecting nearly one-third of the global population.
Iodine deficiency causes thyroid problems in adults. During pregnancy, it may also increase the risk of mental retardation and developmental abnormalities in the unborn child.
Seaweed — such as kelp, nori, kombu and wakame — are all very rich in iodine.
The recommended daily intake is 150 micrograms/day. However, different types of seaweed contain varying amounts of iodine:
- Wakame: 1 g has about 30–110 micrograms, which is close to the RDI.
- Kelp: 1 g may have 700–1500 micrograms, or 460–1000% of the RDI.
Occasional seaweed consumption is a cheap, effective way to prevent iodine deficiency.
However, some types of seaweed, such as kelp, should not be consumed daily. Just one gram may exceed the upper level of safe intake, which is 1100 micrograms per day. This may cause adverse effects.
Bottom Line: Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, as one gram provides 20-1000% of the RDI. However, kelp is much higher in iodine than other types of seaweed, and should not be consumed daily.
The liver is the most nutritious part of any animal.
It is rich in essential nutrients, including vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron, folate and copper.
Vitamin B12 intake is particularly important, as many people are lacking in it. It plays a crucial role in cell, brain and nervous system health.
Beef liver contains high amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin A and copper. A 100-gram (3.5 oz) serving may contain the following quantities of these nutrients:
- Vitamin B12: 1200% of the RDI.
- Vitamin A: 6–700% of the RDI.
- Copper: 6–700% of the RDI.
Just be sure not to eat liver more often than once or twice a week, because excessive buildup of these nutrients may occur.
Bottom Line: Liver contains very high amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin A and copper. However, it should not be consumed more than once or twice a week.
4. Brazil Nuts
If you are lacking in selenium, then Brazil nuts may be the perfect snack.
Selenium is essential for human health. It is necessary for thyroid and immune system function, as well as antioxidant activity.
The recommended daily amount is 50–70 micrograms, which may be achieved by consuming just one large Brazil nut.
Each nut may provide up to 95 micrograms of selenium.
The upper tolerance level for selenium is set at about 3–400 micrograms per day for adults, so make sure not to eat too many of them.
Bottom Line: Brazil nuts are the single best dietary source of selenium. Just one large nut contains more than the recommended daily amount.