There is only a limited amount of food you can eat in a single day.

To maximize the amount of nutrients you take in, it makes sense to spend your calorie budget wisely.

The best way to do that is to simply eat the foods that carry the greatest amount and variety of nutrients.

Here are the 11 most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

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Not all fish is created equal.

Salmon — and other fatty types of fish — contain the greatest amount of omega-3s fatty acids.

Omega-3s are extremely important for the optimal function of your body. They’re linked to improved wellbeing and a lower risk of many serious diseases (1).

Although salmon is mainly prized for its beneficial composition of fatty acids, it also packs a massive amount of other nutrients.

A 100-gram piece of wild salmon contains 2.8 grams of omega-3s, along with lots of high-quality animal protein and ample vitamins and minerals, including large amounts of magnesium, potassium, selenium and B vitamins (2).

It is a good idea to eat fatty fish at least once or twice a week to get all the omega-3s your body needs.

Studies show that people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart disease, dementia, depression and many other common diseases (3Trusted Source4Trusted Source5Trusted Source6).

Also, salmon tastes good and is fairly simple to prepare. It also tends to make you feel full with relatively few calories.

If you can, choose wild salmon instead of farmed. It is more nutritious, has a better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and is less likely to contain contaminants (78).

SUMMARY

Fatty fish like salmon is loaded with beneficial fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals. It is a good idea to eat fatty fish every week.

Of all the healthy leafy greens, kale is the king.

It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and various bioactive compounds.

A 100-gram portion of kale contains (9):

  • Vitamin C: 200% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 300% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K1: 1,000% of the RDI
  • Large amounts of vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese

The same amount has 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and only 50 calories.

Kale may be even healthier than spinach. Both are very nutritious, but kale is lower in oxalates, which are substances that can bind minerals like calcium in your intestine, preventing them from being absorbed (10).

Kale and other greens are also high in various bioactive compounds, including isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol, which have been shown to fight cancer in test-tube and animal studies (11Trusted Source12).

SUMMARY

Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can eat, containing large amounts of vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting compounds.

 
 

The sea has more than just fish. It also contains massive amounts of vegetation.

There are thousands of different plant species in the ocean, some of which are very nutritious. Usually, they are referred to collectively as seaweed (13Trusted Source).

Seaweed is popular in dishes like sushi. Many sushi dishes also include a type of seaweed known as nori, which is used as an edible wrapping.

In many cases, seaweed is even more nutritious than land vegetables. It is particularly high in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese (14).

It is also loaded with various bioactive compounds, including phycocyanins and carotenoids. Some of these substances are antioxidants with powerful anti-inflammatory capacities (15Trusted Source).

But seaweed really shines in its high content of iodine, a mineral your body uses to make thyroid hormones.

Just eating a high-iodine seaweed like kelp a few times per month can give your body all the iodine it needs.

If you don’t like the taste of seaweed, you can also take it in supplement form. Dried kelp tablets are very cheap and loaded with iodine.

SUMMARY

Sea vegetables are highly nutritious but rarely consumed in the West. They are particularly high in iodine, which is essential for optimal thyroid function.

 

Garlic really is an amazing ingredient.

Not only can it turn all sorts of bland dishes delicious, it is also very nutritious.

It is high in vitamins C, B1 and B6, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium (16).

Garlic is also high in beneficial sulfur compounds such as allicin.

Many studies show that allicin and garlic may lower blood pressure as well as total and “bad” LDL cholesterol. It also raises “good” HDL cholesterol, potentially reducing risk of heart disease down the line (1718Trusted Source19Trusted Source20Trusted Source).

It also has various cancer-fighting properties. Studies show that people who eat a lot of garlic have a much lower risk of several common cancers, especially cancers of the colon and stomach (21Trusted Source22Trusted Source).

Raw garlic also has significant antibacterial and antifungal properties (2324Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Garlic is both tasty and healthy. It is highly nutritious, and the bioactive compounds in it have confirmed disease-fighting properties.

 

Many sea animals are high in nutrients, but shellfish may be among the most nutritious of all.

Commonly consumed types of shellfish include clams, oysters, scallops and mussels.

Clams are among the best sources of vitamin B12 in existence, with 100 grams of clams supplying over 16 times the RDI. They are also loaded with vitamin C, various B vitamins, potassium, selenium and iron (25).

Oysters are also very nutritious. Only 100 grams supply 600% of the RDI for zinc, 200% of the RDI for copper and large amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin D and several other nutrients (26).

Though shellfish are among the world’s most nutritious foods, most people rarely consume them.