We all know we need to eat our vegetables, but there are a number of not-so-obvious nutrient-dense foods that are worth adding to your diet (and not just on cheat days!). We asked Dr. Frank Lipman, integrative and functional medicine physician, founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, and author of The New Health Rules to highlight some of the most frequently overlooked healthy foods.
Oysters are known as an aphrodisiac and a fun start to a meal out with a hot date. Did you know that oysters are also a great source of magnesium, a nutrient that so many of us are deficient in? They are also rich in zinc, a key component for testosterone production — a hormone that boosts sexual desire in both men and women.
Liver and pâté
Liver is rich in minerals like iron and folate, a great source of B12. Vitamin B12 is necessary to keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA in all cells; people who are low in B12 also tend to feel tired and weak. Getting your liver in the form of a delicious paté is the perfect way add healthy saturated fats to your diet, too.
Fatty cold-water fish are greatly missing in most peoples’ diets — yet they are the best, most easily absorbed source of omega-3 fatty acids. Because sardines are small, they are also much less likely to contain harmful levels of mercury. Small canned sardines can be eaten whole, and their bones are a great source of calcium.
Always eat the whole egg! There’s no reason not to. Most of the healthy stuff is in the yolk. A lot of people don’t because they think it has cholesterol and it’s bad for your heart. There’s no correlation between cholesterol and heart disease. Contrary to popular belief you don’t get high cholesterol from eating cholesterol — most is made in the body. When you eat fragmented foods, your body starts to crave the rest, and that can make you reach for something unhealthy. Egg yolks contain choline — essential for the functioning of all cells, especially brain cells — and deliver more of those good fats your body needs.
Bone broth is a rich source of collagen, a group of proteins found in mammals, is an amazing nutrient for the skin. Bone broth is also another great source of minerals and has great healing properties for the gut, particularly helpful for any digestive issues.
Like many herbs, garlic has multiple medicinal qualities and it tastes great on food, making it an easy (and beneficial) addition to meals. It is probably most well-known for its immune boosting properties, making it a particularly sought after herb during the cold winter months.
Pickles and sauerkraut
Develop a taste for fermented foods; unpasteurized, fermented foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha feed your gut with trillions of healthy bacteria. Try to incorporate one fermented food or drink into each day.