Handy ANDI

It is often stated that junk food is cheap and health food is expensive. This can be true, but when choosing foods that satisfy and promote overall health, you can actually come out ahead of the budget game (i.e. less trips to the doctor and pharmacy and less money spent there). Knowing which foods do indeed pack more “bang for your buck” allows you to feed your family the healthiest choices without breaking the bank. The chart below is a ranking created several years ago, Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It presents a way for scoring and ranking foods by their level of nutrient density – the nutrients per calories. The higher the nutrients per calorie, the higher the ranking. This system is named the  A.N.D.I. or Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. Levels of the following are used to give a food their ANDI score:

  • Phytonutrients- Plant-based nutrients

  • Trace minerals – Minerals needed by the body, but in smaller amounts like iron, copper, and manganese

  • Anti-oxidants – Vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that protect against and repair cell damage

  • Micronutrients – Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals per calorie.

  • Macronutrients – Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that  meet individual needs without excessive calories

  • Potentially toxic substances – Such as trans and saturated fats and sodium- that can lead to health problems

This is a great tool to have handy when grocery shopping in the produce section since it is a good guide to nutrient-rich foods. The ANDI score is geared towards a plant-based diet, so foods high in good fats (salmon, olive oil, and even the fruit – avocado) receive a lower ranking even though they also are recognized as “super foods”. Your best bet is to stick with your salmon and add a Chinese flare to it with bok choy and cabbage to incorporate some high-ranking ANDI score foods.