Collard Bundle
Credit: Evan-Amos

Nutrient Density

I am an avid juicer.  In general, I try to include fruits and vegetables of different types and colors each time I juice.  The idea is include as many different types of vitamins, minerals and nutrients as possible to each concoction.  I usually alwasy add apple and carrots for taste because some of the other items use taste somewhat harsh.  My twenty something kids say it always tastes like dirt and refer to it as Dad's dirt juice, but in my humble opinion they are wrong and are missing out on significant health benefits by slurping down diet sodas instead of juicing.  I get the nutrients and they get nothing from the chemical laden soda.

Fruits and Vegetables Cut and Cleaned for JuicingCredit: Wikipedia commons - US Air Force/TSgt Samuel MorseWhat is Nutrient Density?

Nutrient density refers to the amount of nutritients in a given size serving of a particular food item.  The more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients you can pack into a given sized serving, the higher the nutrient density.  No great surprise that green leafy vegetables rank very high and sugary drinks like cola rank very low.  Sugary drinks are truly empty calories.


Dr. Joel Fuhrman has developed a scoring system for nutrient density known as ANDI, which stands for aggregate nutrient density index.[1]  Food items are scored on their nutrients per serving.  The highest ranking vegetables are collard greens and kale.  These two types of vegetables are genetically similar.  Among other things, they are great sources of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitimin C, Manganese and Calcium.   In other words, you achieve a high level of Fresh SpinachCredit: Wikipedia commons - Dinkumnutrients without a large calorie expenditure.  Obtaining similar amounts of these vitimins and minerals from other lower nutrient dense foods requires consumption of more calories.

Collard Greens

As one of the maximum ANDI vegetables,  I frequently juice collards.  Although the taste of kale is similar, as well as its nutritional profile, I generally prefer collards over kale due to the amount of juice produced for the amount of $1.00 worth of collards in comparison to $1.00 worth of kale.  Juicing collards is more economical than juicing kale based on the amount of juice produced.  In any given serving of juice, you only should include an ounce or two of collard juice.  If you add too much, it overwhelms the taste (not in a good way).  Also, collard juice contains oxalic acid, which can CauliflowerCredit: Wikipedia commons - Dinkumbe hard on the kidneys.

 Other Top Vegetables

Other greens with high ANDI scoring include bok choy, spinach, broccoli rabe and swiss chard.  Given that you should have some variety for your juicing instead of only using greens,  other non-green vegetables with good ANDI scores are radishes, red peppers, turnips, carrots, cauliflower and tomatoes.

Best of luck on your juicing adventures.  Targeting a good variety of nutrient dense vegetables will always give you the best bang for your buck.

If You Can't Juice, Still Get Your Vegetable Nutrients

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