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 percent of your daily requirements for one or more nutrients. Photo credit: Shutterstock
In some cases, one serving of a food can satisfy more than 100 percent of your daily requirements for one or more nutrients.
Here are eight healthy foods that contain higher amounts of certain nutrients than multivitamins.
Kale is extremely healthy.
Vitamin K1 is essential for blood clotting and may play a role in bone health (2).
One cup or 67 grams, of fresh kale contains the following nutrients in extremely high amounts (3):
- Vitamin K1: 900 percent of the RDI.
- Vitamin C: 134 percent of the RDI.
- Copper: 111 percent 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 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for these nutrients.
The recommended daily intake is 150 micrograms/day. However, different types of seaweed contain varying amounts of iodine (9):
- 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 percent 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 (10).
Bottom Line: Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, as one gram provides 20-1000 percent 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 (11):
- Vitamin B12: 1200 percent of the RDI.
- Vitamin A: 6–700 percent of the RDI.
- Copper: 6–700 percent 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.
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 (13).
Bottom Line: Brazil nuts are the single best dietary source of selenium. Just one large nut contains more than the recommended daily amount.
Shellfish, such as clams and oysters, are among the most nutritious types of seafood.
Clams are packed with vitamin B12. In fact, 100 grams provide over 1600 percent of the RDI.
Furthermore, they contain high amounts of other B-vitamins, potassium, selenium and iron (16).
Oysters are another type of nutritious shellfish. They contain an abundance of zinc and vitamin B12, with 100 grams containing 2–600 percent of the RDI (17).
Clams and oysters may be the perfect food for older individuals, as higher amounts of vitamin B12 are recommended after the age of 50.
Bottom Line: Clams and oysters both contain high amounts of vitamin B12, which is very important for older individuals. Shellfish are also high in many other nutrients.
Sardines are small, oily and nutrient-rich fish.
Although they are commonly served in cans, sardines can also be grilled, smoked or pickled when fresh.
One 92-gram (3.75 oz) serving contains more than half of the RDI for these essential fatty acids. It also contains over 300 percent of the RDI for vitamin B12 (24).
Furthermore, sardines contain a little bit of almost every nutrient we need, including high amounts of selenium and calcium.
Bottom Line: Sardines are a very nutrient-rich fish. They contain high amounts of essential fatty acids and over 300 percent of the RDI of vitamin B12.
7. Yellow Bell Peppers
Yellow bell peppers are one of the best dietary sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin. It is also water-soluble, meaning that extra amounts do not get stored in the body. Therefore, having a regular supply of vitamin C in the diet is very important.
Vitamin C deficiency, also known as scurvy, is very rare these days. Symptoms include fatigue, skin rashes, muscle pain and bleeding disorders (25).
One large yellow bell pepper, or about 186 grams, provides almost 600 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which is 75–90 mg.
Bottom Line: Yellow bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C. One large bell pepper provides almost 600 percent of the recommended daily amount, which is up to 4 times the amount found in oranges.
8. Cod Liver Oil
This is because the dietary sources of vitamin D are sparse. They include mainly fatty fish and fish liver oils, as well as egg yolks and mushrooms, to a lesser extent.
Cod liver oil is a great addition to any diet, especially for people who live far from the equator, where no vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin during the winter months.
Only one tablespoon, or 14 g, of cod liver oil provides 2-3 grams of omega 3 fats and 1400 IU of vitamin D. This is more than 200 percent of the RDI for vitamin D.
However, cod liver oil also contains high amounts of vitamin A, about 270 percent of the RDI. Vitamin A can be harmful in excessive amounts, so it is not recommended that adults use more than 1-2 tablespoons per day of cod liver oil.
Bottom Line: Cod liver oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and vitamin A. Taking more than 1-2 tablespoons per day is not recommended.
Take Home Message
Although multivitamins may be beneficial for some people, they are unnecessary for most. In some cases, they may even provide excessive amounts of certain nutrients.
If you want to boost your nutrient intake, consider adding some of these super nutritious foods to your diet instead of taking a synthetic multivitamin.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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By Jake Johnson
In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.
Why You Should Wash Fresh Produce<p>Global pandemic or not, properly washing fresh fruits and vegetables is a good habit to practice to minimize the ingestion of potentially harmful residues and germs.</p><p>Fresh produce is handled by numerous people before you purchase it from the grocery store or the farmers market. It's best to assume that not every hand that has touched fresh produce has been clean.</p><p>With all of the people constantly bustling through these environments, it's also safe to assume that much of the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables" target="_blank">fresh produce</a> you purchase has been coughed on, sneezed on, and breathed on as well.</p><p>Adequately washing fresh fruits and vegetables before you eat them can significantly reduce residues that may be left on them during their journey to your kitchen.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Washing fresh fruits and vegetables is a proven way to remove germs and unwanted residues from their surfaces before eating them.</p>
Best Produce Cleaning Methods<p>While rinsing fresh produce with water has long been the traditional method of preparing fruits and veggies before consumption, the current pandemic has many people wondering whether that's enough to really clean them.</p><p>Some people have advocated the use of soap, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/white-vinegar" target="_blank">vinegar</a>, lemon juice, or even commercial cleaners like bleach as an added measure.</p><p>However, health and food safety experts, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), strongly urge consumers not to take this advice and stick with plain water.</p><p>Using such substances may pose further health dangers, and they're unnecessary to remove the most harmful residues from produce. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/chlorine-poisoning" target="_blank">Ingesting commercial cleaning chemicals</a> like bleach can be lethal and should never be used to clean food.</p><p>Furthermore, substances like lemon juice, vinegar, and produce washes have not been shown to be any more effective at cleaning produce than plain water — and may even leave additional deposits on food.</p><p>While some research has suggested that using neutral electrolyzed water or a baking soda bath can be even more effective at removing certain substances, the consensus continues to be that cool tap water is sufficient in most cases.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>The best way to wash fresh produce before eating it is with cool water. Using other substances is largely unnecessary. Plus they're often not as effective as water and gentle friction. Commercial cleaners should never be used on food.</p>
How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables With Water<p>Washing fresh fruits and vegetables in cool water before eating them is a good practice when it comes to health hygiene and food safety.</p><p>Note that fresh produce should not be washed until right before you're ready to eat it. Washing fruits and vegetables before storing them may create an environment in which bacterial growth is more likely.</p><p>Before you begin washing fresh produce, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-should-you-wash-your-hands" target="_blank">wash your hands well</a> with soap and water. Be sure that any utensils, sinks, and surfaces you're using to prepare your produce are also thoroughly cleaned first.</p><p>Begin by cutting away any bruised or visibly rotten areas of fresh produce. If you're handling a fruit or vegetable that'll be peeled, such as an orange, wash it before peeling it to prevent any surface bacteria from entering the flesh.</p><p>The general methods to wash produce are as follows:</p><ul><li><strong>Firm produce.</strong> Fruits with firmer skins like apples, lemons, and pears, as well as <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/root-vegetables" target="_blank">root vegetables</a> like potatoes, carrots, and turnips, can benefit from being brushed with a clean, soft bristle to better remove residues from their pores.</li><li><strong>Leafy greens.</strong> Spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, leeks, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and bok choy should have their outermost layer removed, then be submerged in a bowl of cool water, swished, drained, and rinsed with fresh water.</li><li><strong>Delicate produce.</strong> Berries, mushrooms, and other types of produce that are more likely to fall apart can be cleaned with a steady stream of water and gentle friction using your fingers to remove grit.</li></ul><p>Once you have thoroughly rinsed your produce, dry it using a clean paper or cloth towel. More fragile produce can be laid out on the towel and gently patted or rolled around to dry them without damaging them.</p><p>Before consuming your fruits and veggies, follow the simple steps above to minimize the amount of germs and substances that may be on them.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Most fresh fruits and veggies can gently be scrubbed under cold running water (using a clean soft brush for those with firmer skins) and then dried. It can help to soak, drain, and rinse produce that has more dirt-trapping layers.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Practicing good food hygiene is an important health habit. Washing fresh produce helps minimize surface germs and residues that could make you sick.</p><p>Recent fears during the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/coronavirus" target="_blank">COVID-19 pandemic</a> have caused many people to wonder whether more aggressive washing methods, such as using soap or commercial cleaners on fresh produce, are better.</p><p>Health professionals agree that this isn't recommended or necessary — and could even be dangerous. Most fruits and vegetables can be sufficiently cleaned with cool water and light friction right before eating them.</p><p>Produce that has more layers and surface area can be more thoroughly washed by swishing it in a bowl of cool water to remove dirt particles.</p><p>Fresh fruits and vegetables offer a number of healthy nutrients and should continue to be eaten, as long as safe cleaning methods are practiced.</p>
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From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.
When Looking Through a Microscope Isn’t Close Enough.<p>For the last few years, <a href="http://www.rokaslab.org/" target="_blank">our team at Vanderbilt University</a>, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/lab/Gustavo-Goldman-Lab" target="_blank">Gustavo Goldman's team at São Paulo University in Brazil</a> and many other collaborators around the world have been collecting samples of fungi from patients infected with different species of <em>Aspergillus</em> molds. One of the species we are particularly interested in is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1006/rwgn.2001.0082" target="_blank"><em>Aspergillus nidulans</em>, a relatively common and generally harmless fungus</a>. Clinical laboratories typically identify the species of <em>Aspergillus</em> causing the infection by examining cultures of the fungi under the microscope. The problem with this approach is that very closely related species of <em>Aspergillus</em> tend to look very similar in their broad morphology or physical appearance when viewing them through a microscope.</p><p>Interested in examining the varying abilities of different <em>A. nidulans</em> strains to cause disease, we decided to analyze their total genetic content, or genomes. What we saw came as a total surprise. We had not collected <em>A. nidulans</em> but <em>Aspergillus latus</em>, a close relative of <em>A. nidulans</em> and, as we were to soon find out, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.071" target="_blank">a hybrid species that evolved through the fusion of the genomes</a> of two other <em>Aspergillus</em> species: <em>Aspergillus spinulosporus</em> and an unknown close relative of <em>Aspergillus quadrilineatus</em>. Thus, we realized not only that these patients harbored infections from an entirely different species than we thought they were, but also that this species was the first ever <em>Aspergillus</em> hybrid known to cause human infections.</p>
Several Different Fungal Hybrids Cause Human Disease.<p>Hybrid fungi that can cause infections in humans are well known to occur in several different lineages of single-celled fungi known as yeasts. Notable examples include multiple different species of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/yea.3242" target="_blank">yeast hybrids</a> that cause the human diseases <a href="https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6218/cryptococcosis" target="_blank">cryptococcosis</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html" target="_blank">candidiasis</a>. Although pathogenic yeast hybrids are well known, our discovery that the <em>A. latus</em> pathogen is a hybrid is a first for molds that cause disease in humans.</p>
(Left) Candida yeasts live on parts of the human body. Imbalance of microbes on the body can allow these yeasts, some of which are hybrids, to grow and cause infection. (Right) Cryptococcus yeasts, including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008315" target="_blank">Why certain <em>Aspergillus</em> species are so deadly</a> while others are harmless remains unknown. This may in part be because <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbr.2007.02.007" target="_blank">combinations of traits, rather than individual traits</a>, underlie organisms' ability to cause disease. So why then are hybrids frequently associated with human disease? Hybrids inherit genetic material from both parents, which may result in new combinations of traits. This may make them more similar to one parent in some of their characteristics, reflect both parents in others or may differ from both in the rest. It is precisely this mix and match of traits that hybrids have inherited from their parental species that <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/science/14creatures.html" target="_blank">facilitates their evolutionary success</a>, including their ability to cause disease.</p>
The Evolutionary Origin of an Aspergillus Hybrid.<p>Multiple evolutionary paths can lead to the emergence of hybrids. One path is through mating, just as the horse and donkey mate to create a mule. Another path is through the merging or fusion of genetic material from cells of different species.</p><p>It is this second path that appears to have been taken by our fungus. <em>A. latus</em> appears to have two of almost everything compared to its parental species: twice the genome size, twice the total number of genes and so on. But unlike other hybrids, which are often sterile like the mule, we found that <em>A. latus</em> is capable of reproducing both asexually and sexually.</p><p>But how distinct were the parents of <em>A. latus</em>? By comparing the parts contributed by each parent in the <em>A. latus</em> genome, we estimate that its parents are approximately 93% genetically similar, which is about as related as we humans are with lemurs. In other words, <em>A. latus</em>, an agent of infectious disease, is the fungal equivalent of a human-lemur hybrid.</p>
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