avocado broccli beets 22 beans carrot kale 3 onion peas tomato strawberry blueberry almonds
 Comparing nutrient density of foods with their vitamins, minerals & amino acids 
Compiled by Walter Sorochan Emeritus Professor San Diego State University

Posted: May 16, 2020.

This article illustrates the difference between foods rich in nutrients and those that are low in nutrients.

The reason this author deemed this comparison necessary is that most persons do not really understand nutrition or nutrient density.  Americans-falsely-believe-their-diet-is-healthy Nutrition and food tables and diet analyses software programs display only a few of the 100 plus nutrients needed for optimal wellbeing. Most persons use their personal addictive habits in selecting a diet.  People habitually choose foods that make them feel comfortable due to the sugar, salt and fat. The human body is addicted to certain junk foods making us crave to eat more of these foods.  Scientists now think our bodies have evolved survival mechanisms that the brain chemistry deciphers nutrient deficiencies and so triggers the apostate center of the brain to tell us to eat more in hopes of getting missing nutrients. This theory may explain why so many persons on junk diets are feeling hungry all the time and overeating. In spite of ingesting a lot of food devoid of essential nutrients, the human body craves to eat more when the diet is deficient in vitamins, minerals and amino acids. 

Eating a healthy diet is especially important during the current cononavirus pandemic when food is getting more difficult to get and increasingly more expensive. We need to try to chose foods that have the best nutrients. The information in this article should provide scientific guidance for you to do just that.

Since 1950, nutritionists and weight loss experts have been focusing on counting calories, assuming that eating foods with fewer calories would be healthier. With this in mind, the USA federal guidelines mandated food companies to print the number of calories on food labels but very few if any nutrients. Such labeling becomes very confusing and misleading. Counting calories can be deceiving as foods may be low in calories but empty in nutrients. This has been a flaw in thinking about good and bad foods and calories; and Dr. Joel Fuhrman attempted to correct such thinking by evolving the ANDI table. But the ANDI table does not list or display the vitamins, minerals and amino acids for each of the foods. This article connects a few selected foods in ANDI to nutrients to further help visualize the linkage. 

Nutrient density is a concept pioneered by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and is simply the measurement of the concentration of micronutrients compared to the number of calories in a food. Some foods, like green vegetables have very high levels of nutrients [density measurements] per calorie, whereas processed and junk foods have very low nutrient density values. Foods that are high in nutrient density are associated with greater health, higher immunity, increased energy and weight loss.

ANDIScore 5Dr. Fuhrman created the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, or ANDI. The ANDI table [on the right] ranks 50 common foods on the basis of how many nutrients they deliver to the body for each calorie consumed. ANDI also helps you visualize the nutrient density of green vegetables, fruits and other common foods. Foods are rated on a scale of 1-1000. 1000 is super good while 1 is terrible. Food labels list only a few nutrients [e.g. 24 or fewer nutrients], but ANDI’s are based on thirty-four important vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

ANDI is a simple way to help you identify and eat larger amounts of nutrient-rich foods. The higher the ANDI and the greater percentage of those foods in your diet, the better your health will be. The ANDI table is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic when there may be food shortages and a tendency for people to eat take-out food, junk and processed foods that have low nutrients and can lower their immune system, making them vulnerable to infection. Eating high density foods means you ingest fewer calories but substantially increase your intake of nutrients per calorie. The reader can find more information about nutrient density and view a larger ANDI table by going to: Nutrient density and ANDI table

In the case of nutrient density, the "vitamins, minerals and amino acids" that are found in foods are analyzed in relationship to how much they "cost" you, in terms of calories. Simply stated, nutrient density means how many nutrients you get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. Nutrient density is a simple way to connect foods with more nutrients to fewer calories.

Although the ANDI table is better than just information on food labels or in a nutrition table, it  is not perfect. For example, ANDI scores identify good and bad foods, but neglect to list the vitamins, minerals and amino acids for each food. This article does that and allows the viewer to view the nutrient values.

Fuhrman's ANDI table did not give values for all foods; leaving out onions, Brewer's yeast, beets and many other foods. Beets provide nitrous oxides facilitating methylation that are most essential for body functioning and should receive a high ANDI score. Brewer's yeast supplies amino acids that may be missing in a vegetarian diet. Other important missing nutrients are sunshine or hormone D [vitamin D], plant enzymes and co-factors. The formula used to determine ANDI scores for foods was the same for all foods and based on calories. Unfortunately, the ANDI table gives a low score to eggs and salmon because these foods are high in calories.

Although Dr. Fuhrman calculated ANDI scores for only 50 foods, omissions of other foods does not diminish the importance and value of ANDI food scores. Consider ANDI food scores as a short-cut to better nutrition.  The ANDI table illustrates this idea.

You can view the tables below and make the comparison between super nutritious and less nutritious foods. This comparison is made possible by using ANDI table scores and then using selected foods that in turn, list the vitamins, minerals and amino acids for similar foods. Keep in mind that ANDI scores give you the number of nutrients per calorie. 

 

nutrients Vitamins
Table 1: High ANDI Foods and their Vitamins
Food ANDI Serv/amt Cals Fat Fiber C Thiam Ribo Niacin Pant B6 Folate Folic Choline A E K D B12
Units     kcal gm g mg mg mg mg mg mg ug ug mg IU ug ug IU ug
Kale1000 1 cup 35 0.3 93.4 19.6 .024 .073 0.248 .078 .031 13.020.00 0.10 1010.52 0.14 81.8 0.00 0.00
Broccoli flower raw 376 1 cup20 0.3.065.119 .638.535.453 .380.11350.41 0.00 2130.0 0 0.000.00
Avocado Cal, raw 37 1 218 21.0 9.2 12.0 .102 .194 2.60 1.99 .390 121.04 0.00 19.3 199.92 2.68 26.6 0 0
Carrots grated240 1 cup 44 0.3 3.1 6.5.073.064 1.080.300.152 20.90.009.7 18376.6 .7314.5 0.00 0.00
Peas raw green70 1 cup117 0.1 8.3 58.0.386 .1913.03.151 .24595.250.00 41.2 1109.250.19 36.0 0.000.00
Tomato cherry164 5items 15.5 0.0 3.30 11.5 .08 .505.075.070 10.25 0.005.5 708.050.45 6.5 0.000.00
SunFlower seeds 78 1 oz 175 16.0 3.15 0.04.092.081 1.190 2.00.228 67.47 0.00  0.00   0.00 0.00 0.00
Beans Pinto boiled 78 1 245 1.1 15.0 1.4 .330.106 .544 0.359 .392294.12 0.00 60.40.00 1.616.0 0.000.00
Onions med 1slice 5.6 0.0 0.20 1.0 .006.004.016 .017.0172.66 0.00.900.28 0.00.01 0.00 0.00
Beets boil 44 0.2 2.0 3.6 .0270.04.331 .145.06780.0 0.006.335.00 0.040.20.00 0.00
Strawberries 212 5 19 0.00 1.0 35.6 0.015 0.015 0.23 0.075 0.030 14.4 0.00 3.50 7.20 0.15 1.50 0.00 0.00
Blueberries 130 50 39 0.2 1.6 6.60 .025 .028 0.284 0.084 .035 4.08 0.00 4.10 36.72 0.39 13.1 0.00 0.00
Almonds seeds 38 10 70 6.0 1.0 0.0 .010 0.10 0.43 0.06 0.02 5.3 0.00 6.0 0.20 3.10 0.00 0.00 0.00

Vitamin legend:  C = vitamin C; thiam = thiamin; ribo = Riboflavin; niacin = Niacin; pant =Pantothenic acid; B6 =B6; folate =Folate; folic =Folic acid; choline =Choline; A =A; E =E; K =K; D =D; B12 =B12; IU = International Units.

Legend:  Nutrition table Analysis used: NutritionValue.org This nutrient analysis table was the best one available that provided the most extensive list of nutrients per serving. However this software analyses has many missing nutrients, like no food values for sulfur, boron, other minerals, incomplete amino acids and no plant enzymes. Hormone D comes from sunshine and most foods do not have it. We have to live with what this nutrition analysis software gives us and then hope that many nutrient helpers or co-factors not listed, will somehow be included in the foods we eat.  Nutrients in food can vary depending on the mineral content soil plants grow in. Diet and food analyses were never meant to be perfect or complete; just approximate.

Briefly, ANDI in Table 1 points out that kale has a value of 1000, making kale the richest food .... it has the most and highest level of nutrients per calorie.  On the other hand, ANDI points out in Table 2 that cola drink has a value of 1 while French fries has a value of 7,  both have the lowest number of nutrients per calorie, making these the most empty calorie foods. You can view how other common foods are viewed by ANDI in the other tables below and use this information to select a good diet.

 

Nutrients: junk Vitamins
Table 2:  Low ANDI foods [junk] and their Vitamins
Food ANDI Serv/amt Cals Fat Fiber C Thiam Ribo Niacin Pant B6 Folate Folic Choline A E K D B12
  Units   kcal gm g mg mg mg mg mg mg ug ug mg IU ug ug IU ug
Lettuce iceberg chopped 110 1 cup 8 0.1 0.7 1.6 .023 .014 .070 .052 .024 16.53 0.00 3.8 286.14 0.10 13.7 0.00 0.00
Cucumber raw peeled 50 8" long 28 0.05 2.0 9.0 .087  .070 .104 .672 .143 39.20 0.00 16.0 201.6 .08 20.2 0.00 0.00
Salmon raw pink 159 g 39 0.5 fillet 202 7.0 0.0 0.0 .127 .167 12.712 1.638 0.971 6.36 0.00 150.4 186.03 0.64 0.6 17.3 6.60
Chicken breast roasted 56 g 27 1 sev 75 1.4 0.00 0.0 0.024 .035 3.66 .316 .167 1.68 0.00 0.00 0.00 .04 0.3 0.00 .167
Egg fried whole 27 1 196 15.0 0.0 0.0 .044 .495 .082 1.660 .184 51.0 0.00 317.1 787.0 1.31 5.6 2.20 0.97
Beef ground cooked 20 1/4 lb 240 15.0 0.00 0.00 .043 .180 5.682 .681 .380 9.00 0.00 81.0 22.00 0.43 1.70 0.02 2.73
Pasta white enriched cooked 18 1 cup 239 1.40 2.7 0.00 .414 .205 2.550 .169 .074 110.23 99.7 9.70 0.00 .09 0.00 0.00 0.00
Potato chips, salted plain 11 22 chips 149 9.5 0.9 6.0 .060 .025 1.333 .268 .149 8.12 0.00 3.40 0.00 2.93 6.20 0.00 0.00
Ice cream vanilla 9 1/2 cup 137 7.3 0.5 0.4 .027 .158 .077 .383 .032 3.30 0.00 17.2 277.86 0.20 0.2 .013 0.26
French fries restaurant 7 1 serving 491 24.0 6.6 1.90 .187 .097 4.359 .927 .401 25.50     0.00 1.70 61.0    
Cola carbonated regular 1 can/bottle 155 0.9 0.0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.10 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Grapes American raw 31 1 cup 62 0.3 0.8 3.70 .085 .052 .276 .022 .101 3.68 0.00 5.20 92.00 0.17 13.4 0.00 0.00
Bread white wheat reduced cals 18 1 slice 46 0.6 2.3 0.00 .073 .029 .794   .013 19.11 13.23 3.90 .12 0.05 0.00 0.00 0.00

Discussion:  comparing the tables 1 and 2 as above.  Reader can view both tables and compare ANDI scores.  ANDI in table 2 classifies salmon and chicken breast low due to the high number of calories in per serving. This seems somewhat miscalculated, considering all the high nutrient vitamin values when compared to the other low ANDI score vitamin foods. However, the other foods in table 2, like soft drink cola and French fries are justly classified based on the high calories per serving; foods with empty calories. Iceberg lettuce is listed in Table 2 to compare it to kale in table 1. This explanation is also applicable to tables 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Conclusion: If you want to get the greatest benefit from the food you eat, then select those that have a high ANDI score and avoid those foods that are low scores.  A good diet super charges your immune system and you have a better chance of surviving colds, flu's, infections like coronavirus and diseases. In other words, staying healthy.

Table 3: High ANDI Foods and their Amino Acids
Food ANDI Serv/amt Cals Fat Fiber Trypt Thre Isol Leuc Meth Cyst Phen Tyros Vali Argi Hist Alan Aspa Glut Prol Seri
  Units mg Kcal g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g
Kale1000 1 cup 7.4 0.3 0.9 .007.028 .037 .043.006 .008 .032.022 .033.034.036 .031.055 .070 .037.026
Broccoli flower raw 376 1 cup 20 0.3 1.6 .021.065 .077 .093 .024.014 .060 .045.091 .103 .036.084 .151 .266 .09 .071
Avocado Cal 37 1 218 9.11 .035 .098 .113 .192 .050 .037 .129 .065 .143 .118 .065 .144 .316 .384 .131 .152
Carrots grated, raw240 1 cup 45 0.3 3.1 .013.210 .085 .112 .022.091 .067.047.076 0.1.044.124 .209 .403 .059.059
Peas70 1 cup 117 0.0 8.3 .064.294 .283 .468.119 .046 .290.165 .341 .621.155 .348.719 1.07 .251.262
Tomato cherry 164 5 items 15.5 0.0 1.0 .005.025 .015 .020.005 .010.025 0.01 .015.020 0.010.020.115 .365 .015.020
SunFlower seeds 78 1 oz 175 16.0 3.3 .075.199 .244 .356.106 .097.250 .143 .282.515.135 .239.524 1.16 .253.230
Beans Pinto cook 100 1 cup 245
1.1 15 .185.566 .728 .308.200 .144 .908.364.887 .845.422 .6991.929 2.47 .881.966
Onions med medium 1slice 5.6 0.0 0.2 .002.003.002 .0040.00 .001 .004.002 .003.015 .002 .003.013.036 .002.003
Beets boil boiled 2  beets 44 0.2 2 0.02.049 .05 .071.019 0.02 .0480.04.059 .044.022 .063.121.446 .043.062
Strawberries 212 5 items 19 0.00 1.00 .005 .005 0.01 0.02 0.00 .005 0.01 .015 0.01 .015 .005 0.02 0.09 0.06 0.01 0.02
Blueberries 130 50 39 0.2 1.6 .002 .014 .016 .030 .008 .005 .018 .006 0.021 .025 0.007 0.021 0.039 0.06 .019 0.02
Almonds seeds 38 10 70 6.0 1.0 0.03 0.07 0.09 0.18 0.02 0.03 0.14 0.05 0.10 .30 0.06 0.12 0.32 0.74 0.12 0.11

Amino acid legend:  trypto = Tryptophan; thre = Threonine; isol = Isoleucine; meth = Methionine; cyst = Cystine; phen = Phenylalanine; tyros = Tyrosine; vali = Valine; argi = Arginine; hist = Histidine; alan = Alanine; aspa=Aspartic acid; glut = Glutamic acid; prol = Proline; seri = Serine.

Legend: Analysis used: NutritionValue.org

Table 4: Low ANDI [junk] foods and Amino Acids
Food ANDI Serv/amt Cals Fat Fiber Trypt Thre Isol Leuc Meth Cyst Phen Tyros Vali Argi Hist Alan Aspa Glut Prol Seri
  Units mg Kcal g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g g
Lettuce iceberg chopped110 1 cup 8 0.1 0.7 .005.014 .010 .014.003 .003 .013.004 .014.009.005 .014.071.111 .006.014
Cucumber raw peeled 50 8" long 28 0.2 2.0 .020.034 .034 .070 .034.020 .087 .006.034 .087 .006.087 .104 .571 .034 .070
Salmon raw pink 159 g fillet 39 0.5 202 7.0 0.00 .351 1.695 1.517 2.48 .917 .253 1.344 1.180 1.73 2.046 .863 2.08 4.094 4.616 1.38 1.44
Chicken breast roasted 56 g27 75 4.3 0.0 .090.334 .398 .587 .214.111 .315.258,393 .520.235 /489 .729 1.183 .420 .291
Egg whole fried27 1 196 15.0 0.0 .181.602 .728 1.18.411 .294 .736.541 .930 .887.335 .7951.4381.817 .558 1.051
Beef ground cooked 20 1/4 lb 240 15.0 0.00 .281 1.175 1.165 2.14 .676 .252 1.000 .927 1.25 1.692 .923 1.55 2.421 4.078 1.12 1.02
Pasta white enriched cooked 18 1 cup 239 1.4 2.70 .122 .307 .338 .655 .097 .169 .442 .162 .390 .314 .198 .290 .414 3.047 1.04 .409
Potato chips salted plain 11 22 149 9.5 0.9 .030.071 .079 .117.031 .025 .087.073 .110 .090.043 .060.478.328 .070 .085
Ice cream vanilla 9 1/2 cup 137 7.3 0.5 .030.096 .129 .209.053 .019 .104.102 .143.083 .058 .080.165.449 .215 .117
French Fries restaurant serv 7 1 491 24.0 6.6 .083.185 .204 .304.075 .056 .258.167.413 .325.093 .1851.287.899 .185 .212
Cola regular carbonated 1 1 can/bottle 155 0.9 0.00 0.000.00 0.00 0.000.00 0.00 0.000.00 0.000.00 0.00 0.000.000.00 0.00 0.00
Grapes American raw 31 1 cup 62 0.3 0.8 .003.016 .005 .012.019 .009 .012.010.016 .042.021 .024.071.121 .018 .028
Bread white wheat reduced cal 18 1slice 46 0.6 2.3                         

 

Kale minerals Avocado minerals Sunflower minerals Onions minerals Beets minerals
Table 5: High ANDI Foods and their Minerals
Food ANDI Serv/amt Cals Fat Fiber Ca Fe Mg P K Na Cu Mn Se Zn S B
  Units kcal g g mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg
Kale raw1000 1 cup 35 0.3 4.153.34 0.34 6.93 11.55 73.08 11.13 .011 0.193 0.2 0.08
Broccoli flower raw 376 1 cup20 0.3 1.634.08 0.52 7.75656.9 230.75 19.170.032 .1632.10.28
Avocado Cal 37 1 218 9.1117.68 .83 39.44 73.44 689.5 10.88 .231 .293 0.5 0.92
Carrots grated raw240 1 cup45 0.3 3.1 36.30.33 13.238.5 352.075.90.05 .1570.1 .26
Peas70 1 cup117 0.6 8.3 36.252.13 47.85 156.6353.80 7.25 .255 0.594 2.61.80
Tomato cherry164 5 15.5 0.0 1.0 8.50.25 8.3520.40 200.45 4.25.050.95 0.0 0.15
SunFlower seeds 78 1 oz 175 16.0 3.316.16 1.93 36.57 139.2 17.6 173.79 .520 .599 17.6 1.50
Beans Pinto 100 1 cup 245 1.1 15.078.663.57 85.50251.37 745.7 1.71 .374.77510.6 1.68
Onions med 1slice 5.6 0.0 0.203.22.03 1.44.06 20.44 0,56.005.018 0.1 .02
Beets boiled 44 0.2 2.016.00.79 23.038.0 305.0 77.0.074
.3260.7 0.35
Strawberries medium 212 5 19 0.00 1.0 9.60 0.25 7.80 14.40 91.80 0.60 0.03 0.23 0.00 0.10    
Blueberries raw 130 50 39 0.2 1.6 4.08 0.19 4.08 8.16 52.36 0.68 0.039 0.10 0.1 0.11    
Almond seeds 38 10 70 6.0 1.0 32.40 0.40 32.4 57.70 88.0 0.10 0.12 0.26 0.00 0.40    

Minerals legend: Ca = calcium; Fe = iron; Mg = magnesium; P = phosphorus; K = potassium; Na = sodium; Cu = copper; Mn = manganese; Se = selenium; S = organic sulfur; B = boron. Many minerals, including sulfur and boron, are not listed in nutritional tables.

Legend: Analysis used: NutritionValue.org

Table 6: Low ANDI Foods [junk] and their Minerals
Food ANDI Serv/amt Cals Fat Fiber Ca Fe Mg P K Na Cu Mn Se Zn S B
  Units kcal g g mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg
Lettuce iceberg chopped110 1 cup 8 0.1 0.7 10.26 0.23 3.99 11.40 80.37 5.70 .014 .071 0.10 .09
Cucumber raw peeled 50 8" long 28 0.5 2.0 39.20.62 33.60 58.80380.80 5.60 .199.204 0.300.48    
Salmon raw pink 159 g 39 .5 fillet 202 7.0 0.0 11.130.60 42.93 415.0581.94 119.25 0.1042.9349.9 0.62   
Chicken breast roasted 56 g 27 1 ser 75 4.3 0.0 3.360.189.52 67.76181.44 494.5 .0399.52 6.600.36    
Egg fried whole 27 1 196 15.0 0.00 62.01.89 13.00 215.0152.00 207.0 .078.03033.10 1.39   
Beef ground cooked 20 1/4 lb 240 15.0 0.00 25.002.67 22.00 213.00353.00 85.00 .081.012 20.506.19    
Pasta white enriched cooked 18 1 cup 239 1.4 2.7 10.57 1.93 27.18 87.58 66.44 1.51 .151 .486 39.9 0.77    
Potato chips salted plain 11 22 149 9.5 0.9 5.880.36 17.64 42.84334.88 147.6 .066.1200.70 0.31   
Ice cream vanilla 9 1/2 cup 137 7.3 0.5 84.48.06 9.24 69.30131.34 52.80 .015.005 1.20.46    
French fries restaurant serving 7  1   491 24.0 6.6 28.901.55 49.30 210.80926.50 606.9 .190.3990.70 0.87   
Cola regular carbonated can/bottle 1 1 155 0.9 0.00 3.700.07 0.00 33.3018.50 11.10 .026.011 o.400.33    
Grapes American raw 31 1 cup 62 0.1 0.8 12.880.27 4.60 9.20175.72 1.84 .037.6610.10 0.04   
Bread white wheat reduced cal 18 1 slice 46 0.6 2.3 34.230.61 9.03 31.2931.50 68.72 .036.2546.40 0.28   

As you can observe from scanning these tables, some foods that have low ANDI scores can have good nutritional values, but the cost per calorie is very high. Eating such foods is not an efficient way to eat.

 Use this information as a guide in selecting foods low in calories but high in nutrition, high ANDI scores. 

Quality food is becoming scarce during this caronavirus pandemic and many persons are addicted to the comfort and taste of junk and processed foods. Such foods lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections and diseases. You are at your best when you are healthy.

To find more information about Dr. Fuhrman's diet for weight loss and better health go to:  Fuhrman: Recommended diet

To contact this author insert his email address in the section 'contacts' in your email: wsorochan@gmail.com and then email your comments.

References:

Fuhrman Joel, "ANDI Food Scores: Rating the Nutrient Density of Foods," Dr. Fuhrman, March 16, 2017. Fuhrman: ANDI food scores

Americans Falsely Believe Their Diet is Healthy. 2011. Discovery News  Americans-falsely-believe-their-diet-is-healthy