by Digestive Wellness Coach, Katie Lamie

A lot of sage health advice boils down to this simple statement: Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Let’s take it to the next level. Add more nutrient-dense fruits and veggies to your plate. Now we’re talking.

Let’s maximize the health benefits you – and your family – get every time you toss a veggie in your cart at the grocery store. The tool I recommend to explore nutrient density is Dr. Fuhrman’s list of Nutrient Density Scores. Kale, collards, mustard greens and watercress top this list at the highest rating of 1000 while soda earns a frightening 1.

I was first exposed to Fuhrman’s rankings when I started working at Whole Foods Market two years ago, and I was stunned that such a simple, yet informative system existed. I realized some of the fruits and vegetables I ate consistently like avocados (28) and bananas (30) ranked far lower than I expected.

Fuhrman’s chart is a powerful reminder that variety is exceedingly important when it comes to getting our bodies the nutrients it craves.

For example, cucumbers which score an 87 are a fantastic addition to a daily salad and certainly better than no vegetable at all – but Fuhrman’s chart challenges you to expand your horizons to hit higher nutrient numbers. It asks you to stop mindlessly throwing the same three vegetables into your shopping carriage every week. And if you’re anything like me it takes willpower to turn off your auto-pilot shopping and try something new.

Fuhrman’s scores certainly make cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower, arugala, bok choy, broccoli and brussel sprouts) the star of the show and a powerful key to amping up your bodies’ natural healing properties. Check out this statistic:

Cruciferous vegetables are twice as powerful as other plant foods. In population studies, a 20% increase in plant food intake generally corresponds to a 20 percent decrease in cancer rates, but a 20% increase in cruciferous vegetable intake corresponds to a 40% decrease in cancer rates. (JAMA 2004 as cited in “Super Immunity”)

Here are two recipes I recommend to incorporate more cruciferous veggies in your diet:

1.) Cauli-Power Fettuccine “Alfredo” from Oh She Glows.

2.) Kale Waldorf Salad from Whole Foods Market.



About the writer: Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Teacher, Katie Lamie. Katie is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is passionate about helping individuals tap into vibrant health. She works with her clients to reduce cravings, explore and prepare new foods, increase their energy and find time for physical movement. Katie also specializes in helping clients struggling with digestive disorders.


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