Researchers at Nutrition Impact (a food consulting firm in Battle Creek, MI), Food and Nutrition Database Research, Inc. in Okemos, MI and the School of Public Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA have pioneered a fascinating new research tool for measuring nutrient richness and determining overall food quality.

The NUTRIENT RICHNESS chart below came from scientists who developed a mathematical equation that looked at the overall amount of desirable nutrients, subtracted out the overall amount of excessive undesirable nutrients, and then generated a Nutrition-Rich Foods (NRF) score. For example, their NRF15 score included an analysis of 15 desirable nutrients (protein, vitamins A, C, E, D, B1, B2, B12 and folate; the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium; and the macronutrients fiber, and monounsaturated fat) minus the impact of 3 nutrients that are undesirable when in excess (saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium).

Especially interesting were the nutrient richness scores found to be associated with different food groups.

No matter what statistical approach was taken, vegetables topped the list of all food groups in terms of nutrient richness. 

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Nutrient rich cooking …

Essential nutrients are nutrients that your body can't make on its own. How these nutrients are introduced into your body may have a great impact on how well they are utilized.

Nutrients do not work alone but in concert (synergistically) with other nutrients. The benefit of deriving nutrients from eating fresh whole foods such as those included on the list of the World's Healthiest Foods is that they provide not only an abundance of individual nutrients but also the variety necessary for their optimal function.

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How you prepare and cook your food can be as important as the food you select to eat. Even the most nutritious foods will not provide its potential of nourishment if improperly cooked. It has been found that foods cooked the traditional way could lose from 50-80% of their nutrients because they were overcooked. This is the reason Nutrient-Rich Cooking was created—an optimal way of cooking using minimal cooking time and avoiding as much nutrient loss as possible while bringing out the foods' vibrant color, flavor and aromas.

Nutrient-Rich Cooking is science based cooking. Cooking itself is science based because it involves the chemical and structural changes that occur in our food when we transform it from its raw into its cooked form. We cook foods for four reasons:

  • to make it easier to digest
  • to increase availability of nutrients for assimilation
  • to enhance flavor
  • to preserve food safety

Science tells us that nutrient loss and retention are almost always predictable and that a very well defined group of factors can help you minimize nutrient loss:

  • minimizing degree of heat
  • minimizing duration of cooking
  • minimizing degree of surface area contact with water
  • minimizing size of food (chopping, slicing)
  • consideration of the ratio of surface area to the interior of food

Nutrient-Rich Cooking takes these basic science-based tenets of cooking and puts them into practice to:

  • preserve nutrients
  • preserve flavor
  • prevent formation of toxic compounds

The secret to Nutrient-Rich Cooking is precision using low cooking temperatures, exact cooking times, and specific cooking methods, which accommodate the unique characteristics of each food.

Nutrient-Rich Cooking not only helps preserve nutrients but brings out the great flavor of food. Because cooking impacts the nutrients in your food, with Nutrient-Rich Cooking, you cook your food just long enough to soften its fiber and change it as little as possible from its natural state. Nutrient-Rich Cooking was designed to make the transformation from raw to cooked food nutritious and flavorful. Nutrient-Rich Cooking helps keep your foods as close to their natural state and retain as many of their nutrients as possible.

For more on Nutrient-Rich Vegetable Cooking see 300 Quick and Easy Nutrient-Rich recipes.

Q & As About Nutrient Rich Cooking