Simply put, the quality of your Health is determined by the amount and diversity of Nutrients that exist in the Calories you consume. When you consume a diet that is nutrient dense, you earn a proportionately better quality of life in your later years.
Dr. Fuhrman developed the ANDI (Aggregated Nutrient Density Index) scale to rank foods based on their nurient density per calorie. Cruciferous greens such as kale, collards, and mustard greens top the index with nutrient density scores of 1,000, while cola drinks are at the botton, with a score of 1.
While it is important to eat foods that are high in nutrient density (especially phytochemicals and antioxidants), it’s also vital to make sure that we get all of the individual nutrients we need to maintain good health. Even the most favorable diet might not supply optimal amounts of all micronutrients needed to maximize health and longevity. Therefore, the conservative use of nutrients that may be sub-optimal in the diet is advised, with awareness that too much of certain nutrients may also be detrimental.
We should use supplements conservatively and intelligently. Common deficiencies may include:
Two hormones specifically to consider are insulin and IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1). High levels of these hormones in the blood are linked with increased rates of cancer (especially breast and colon cancer), atherosclerosis and fat storage.
When you eat sweets or high-glycemic carbohydrates, glucose rushes into the blood stream, which causes insulin production to spike. The Nutritarian diet focuses on eating carbohydrates with a lower glycemic load, such as beans, berries and vegetables, which keeps insulin at favorable levels. IGF-1 levels can rise to unfavorable levels when too many animal products are consumed. To keep IGF-1 levels in a favorable range, it is necessary to limit animal products.
By emphasizing a nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating style, the Nutritarian diet is designed to minimize dietary exposure to chemicals, carcinogens and infectious agents often found in processed foods and animal products. In general, we have to keep all animal products—even seafood—to low levels in our diet. And even at that low level, we must take care to avoid foods that are the most likely to be contaminated.
A good example of toxins in the diet is the PCBs or dioxins in commercial seafood. Dioxins are environmental pollutants that belong to the so-called “dirty dozen”—a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants. They are of concern because of their toxic potential and relation to cancer. For example, salmon is widely considered to be a “healthful” option on a restaurant menu, but keep in mind that commercially raised salmon can be ten times higher in dioxin, compared to the wild-caught variety.