ANDI Nutrient Density Rating
Nutrition is a significant component of our healthy lifestyle. Being nourished by different kinds of healthy foods and observing balanced diet prevents us from acquiring the most common health problems which greatly affects our mortality rate today.
Our body responds physiologically on our diet. What we eat greatly affects our body processes, so we must be careful on the kind of foods that we ingest. Carbohydrates, fats, minerals, protein, vitamins, and water are the six major classes of nutrients, and from these major classes, it is categorized as Macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Fats, Protein, and Water) which is needed in relatively large amounts, and Micronutrients (Minerals & Vitamins) which is needed in small quantities. Insufficient, excessive and imbalanced consumption of these nutrients can lead to different kinds of health problems; one of these is malnutrition which is especially seen in children.
Over 10 decades, Nutritional Science has evolved enormously. A whole new classification of nutrients is discovered and named for every decade. Our planet has been blessed with copious nutrients, all we have to do is to discover and analyze. The more we spend time on it, the more we can contribute to life-sustaining studies.
A major breakthrough in nutritional science, when an American author and physician who specializes in nutrionally-based treatment, developed a scoring rating index based on the level of nutrition density. The name of this physician is Dr. Joel Fuhrman and he named his system as A.N.D.I. or Aggregate Nutrition Density Index. The ANDI system ranks the value of food based on the amount of nutrients per calorie. The higher the nutrient, the more it is beneficial in the quality of life.
These ANDI rankings take into account the name and measurable levels of essential nutrients and anti-oxidant scores. Other nutrients that are not listed in this system are not having yet to be classified for this ranking. Several other factors are taken into account to classify an appropriate nutrition program. These include:
- Levels of micronutrients per calorie.
- Amounts of macronutrients.
- Avoidance of potentially toxic substances such as tran-saturated fats, and potentially harmful substances such as sodium.
In the ANDI table, the highest score is 1000, while the lowest is close to zero. This means that the higher the score is, the more its nutrients and less in calories. Foods that top in the ANDI system are kale and collards with a score of 1000. Other high placing food includes spinach, brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage, romaine and broccoli. Foods high in calories which have the lowest ANDI scores are potato chips, American cheese, vanilla ice cream, french fries and cola. Due to its rich caloric content, surprisingly olive oil is also listed in the near bottom. Despite of its low ranking, olive oil is still beneficial to the body and should be incorporated in the healthy diet.
Keep in mind that nutrient density scoring is only one of the factors in determining good health. If you are naïve and led to believe that foods that are high in ranking score are the only product worth consuming, then you must remember and take into consideration that if we only eat and stick on the foods with a high density score, then our body would loss its source of energy which is fats. We must balance our eating habits from these major foods classification.
Poor eating habit and unhealthy lifestyle leads to increased metabolic waste and Advanced Glycolytic End-Products or AGEs. These AGEs are sticky proteins that damage various tissues of our body, accelerate our aging and degenerative processes in our body and it is also found in diabetic and cancer patients. The food we eat should contain anti-oxidants and phytonutrients needed to detoxify and neutralize the waste in our body. These phytonutrients are chemical compounds, such as beta-carotene that occur naturally in plants. Lycopene is also one these chemicals that are usually seen in tomatoes that has been tested for prevention of cardiovascular diseases and prostate cancer. These chemicals however, can only be found in freshly harvested plant foods and may be destroyed or removed by modern processing techniques, possibly including cooking. For this reason, industrially processed foods likely contain fewer phytochemicals and may thus be less beneficial than unprocessed foods. Absence or deficiency of phytonutrients in processed foods may contribute to increased risk of preventable diseases.
A healthy diet should not be insufficient, excessive and imbalanced. A combination of different types of foods with essential calories and nutrients will constantly produce abundant energy and nutrition to our body cells that will improve the quality of life. These ranking systems are meant to develop to provide education to people not by complicating their life. In the end, it is themselves who will decide on how to become healthier and more productive in our society.