Have you ever noticed how certain foods make you feel tired after you've eaten, while other foods seem to give you a boost in energy?
That's because there's a big difference between items that are packed with 'empty calories,' like added sugar and saturated fat, and nutrient dense foods, like fruits and vegetables, that are filled with natural vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.
Bariatric experts recommend eating a diet that is high in nutrient dense foods, since these foods leave you feeling full, energized and satisfied.
The right amounts of nutrients in your foods can also boost your immune system, help regulate blood sugar levels, and even reduce your risk for developing serious health problems like cancer and heart disease.
What Are Nutrient Dense Foods?
Simply put, nutrient dense foods are high in all-natural health-promoting nutrients, yet are relatively low in total calories. These foods have high levels of the kinds of nutrients that you might find in a multivitamin or dietary supplement.
For example, sunflower seeds have over 80 percent of the recommended daily value (RDV) of Vitamin E in a single 1/4 cup serving, along with lots of Vitamin B1 and B6, magnesium, and folate. Thus, it's a food that brings a lot of value to your overall nutrition.
What Are Examples of Nutrient Dense Foods?
Virtually all fruits, vegetables, and other natural, fresh foods are high in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. However, if you're looking for foods that deliver the most nutrients for the least amount of calories, you'll want to focus on these nutrient dense foods.
Here's a quick list of tasty, nutrient-dense foods that are easy to find at your local grocery store:
These tiny berries are high in Vitamin C and manganese. They help with blood sugar metabolism, fat breakdown, and calcium absorption.
New research has shown that raspberries can help manage obesity and type 2 diabetes by improving metabolism of fat cells.
Sweet potatoes have incredible nutritional density. A single sweet potato contains 100% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, along with high-levels of beta-carotene, a known anti-aging nutrient. They also pack a punch of fiber, potassium, vitamin B5, niacin, manganese, magnesium, and copper.
Sweet potatoes support digestive health with their fiber and keep your blood sugar stable, as they are a complex carbohydrate. They can even help you protect against cancer, since they contain powerful antioxidants and a cancer-fighting protein called sporamin.
You can prepare this superfood in a variety of ways -- boiling, baking, grilling, and more! They make for a delicious staple in your nutrient dense diet.
This cold-water fish is high in Omega-3 fatty acids which help improve brain health, reduce inflammation, and combat depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to support healthy weight loss!
Salmon can also improve weight loss efforts by regulating appetite and increasing metabolism. Due to it's high levels of protein, it will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
While high in many vitamins and minerals, blueberries are also packed with antioxidants - nutrients that help to protect the body against deterioration related to aging.
Blueberries have also been shown to improve blood pressure and LDL cholesterol in those within the obese weight range with metabolic syndrome.
Dark leafy greens have a great nutrient profile while keeping calories low. The most popular leafy greens are spinach, kale, microgreens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, bock choy, and arugula. They offer a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
In addition to that, they support weight loss by increasing the volume of your meals without adding too many calories, helping you feel fuller while staying within your calorie goals.
How Nutrient Dense Foods Help With Weight Management
Choosing nutrient dense foods can provide a host of health benefits, especially if your goal is to either lose weight, or maintain weight loss achieved with the help of a surgical weight loss procedure like LAP-BAND, gastric bypass, or gastric sleeve.
Most weight loss operations restrict the amount of food the patient can eat by either temporally, or permanently, making their stomach smaller.
That's why healthy food choices are so important for bariatric surgery patients. The food you eat needs to bring you nutrients, because you can't eat infinite amounts of it.
Eating a diet that is high in nutrient dense foods following weight loss surgery can help to increase the positive effects of the operation, as well as improve the overall health and wellness of the patient.
Not only are nutrient dense foods filled with essential vitamins and minerals, they also tend to be relatively low in calories, which means post-operative patients can feel satisfied while eating fewer calories.
Olde Del Mar Surgical Offers Dietitian Support
To learn more about how nutrient dense foods can help you enjoy better results from your weight loss surgery, contact our office and we can help you with diet and nutrition after bariatric surgery.