Mix and match 5 to 10 food items from the list to meet your daily nutrient requirements within your budget.
If there is a single food item that comes close to containing all the essential nutrients required by a human body, that would be a human mother’s milk. Unfortunately, that is one food item that is no longer available to adults for daily dietary intake. We could try eating as many food items and in so much quantities as possible to meet our daily nutrient requirement. That is not efficient though and perhaps, could result to an unhealthy consequence.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if we know five to ten food items that when combined, could provide most if not all our daily required nutrients? Indeed, food like these would save the day! I pored over the food databases published by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health Canada. From the millions of food items, I focused my analysis on items that had been calculated or chemically analyzed by either USDA or Health Canada. The initial list consisted of eight thousand (8000) fresh and semi-processed food items that contain at least 20 essential nutrients. I applied an additional criterion: 100 grams of the food item must contain at least twenty (20) of the 22 tracked nutrients OR contain at least five of the twenty-two (22) tracked nutrients at quantities exceeding 25% of the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA). The 22 tracked nutrients are:
|1. Carbohydrates||9. Selenium||17. Vitamin B9-Folate|
|2. Fiber||10.Zinc||18. Vitamin B12|
|3. Protein||11. Vitamin A||19. Vitamin C|
|4. Calcium||12. Vitamin B1-Thiamin||20. Vitamin D|
|5. Copper||13. Vitamin B2-Riboflavin||21. Vitamin E|
|6. Iron||14. Vitamin B3-Niacin||22. Vitamin K|
|7. Magnesium||15. Vitamin B5-Panthothenic acid|
|8. Phosphorus||16. Vitamin B6-Pyridoxine|
The additional criterion narrowed down the list to one hundred-fifty food items. Many of these food items contain more than ten (10) nutrients at quantities of 25% or more of the RDA. Some food items are available only at specific geographic locations; some can be very expensive. The 150 superfood list hopes to overcome these challenges. Moreover, the list is a great reference for vegetarians and/or those who follow specific dietary regimen.
From the superfood list, I selected 20 items that form part of my pantry staples. I chose these for five reasons (i) ease of preparation/cooking (ii) availability: I could grab any of these anytime at my neighborhood grocery store or just one click from the best online grocery store (iii) versatility: I could mix any three or four items and I have an appetizer, main dish, or dessert (iv) affordability (v) most importantly, I get my daily required dietary nutrient intakes. Items that are marked $ cost less than USD 4 a pound at my local stores.
|Food Item||Food Type||Nutrients > 25% of RDA||Cost|
|Quinoa, uncooked||Cereal Grains and Pasta||Carbs, Fiber, Protein, Iron, Mg, P, Zn, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9|
|Pasta, dry, enriched||Cereal Grains and Pasta||Carb, Protein, P, Se, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B9||$|
|Wheat germ, plain||Cereal Grains and Pasta||Carb, Fiber, Protein, Iron, Mg, P, Se, Zn, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, E|
|Soy flour, full-fat, raw||Legume||Carb, Fiber, Protein, Iron, Mg, P, Zn, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9,K|
|Lentils beans, cooked, boiled||Legume||Fiber, P, Vitamin B9||$|
|Egg, whole, fresh, raw||Eggs and Dairy||P, Se, Vitamins B2, B5, B12, D||$|
|Cheddar Cheese||Eggs and Dairy||Protein, Calcium, P, Se, Zn, Vitamins A, B2, B12|
|Buttermilk, dried||Eggs and Dairy||Carb, Protein, Calcium, Mg, P, Se, Zn, Vitamins B1, B2, B5, B12|
|Atlantic Salmon, wild, raw||Fish||Protein, P, Se, Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, B12|
|Cantaloupe||Fruits||Vitamins A, C||$|
|Blueberries, dried||Fruits||Carb, Fiber, Vitamins C, K|
|Kiwi, raw||Fruits||Vitamins C, K|
|Chicken liver, raw||Meat||Protein, Iron, P, Se, Zn, Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12||$|
|Beef steak, baked or broiled||Meat||Protein, P, Se, Zn, B3, B6, B12|
|Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao||Sweets||Carb, Fiber, Iron, Mg, P, Zn|
|Kale, raw||Vegetable||Calcium, Vitamins A, C, B2, K||$|
|Dandelion greens, boiled||Vegetable||Vitamins A, K||$|
|Okra. raw||Vegetable||Vitamins C, K||$|
|Swiss Chard, raw||Vegetable||Mg, Vitamins A, C, K||$|
|Carrots, raw||Vegetable||Vitamin A||$|
Build your own twenty; check out the List 150 Superfood and let me know whether this helps you. While there, click the “Read more” button to see the nutrition fact details such as Protein, Calcium, Cholesterol, Fats, Sugar, Sodium, Potassium, Calories, and the like per 100 grams or per portion.