It's thanksgiving all over again, but this time you want to make it nutrient dense!
Sure it's great to indulge in some favorites every so often, but why not opt for mineral rich foods as you celebrate with friends and family, right?
Today, we thought we'd help compile a list of some easily accessible foods that are not just packed with a variety of nutrients but also suitable for any holiday lunch or dinner.
Organ meats, specifically liver
I know what you're all thinking, oh my gosh, liver?! Just hear us out!
Liver is one of the most nutrient dense pieces of meat one can reach for due to its copper content and other nutrients. Just with copper in itself, it's supportive for mitochondrial function, mobilizing iron in and out of our tissues, hair growth, thyroid function and balancing out other nutrients such as zinc, manganese and selenium that it contains as well. Conversely, in just 3 oz of beef liver, one gets over 200% of the RDI for B12 and a slew of other B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9. Liver is also very rich in retinol, also known as bioavailable vitamin A which is essential to helping us utilize copper appropriately, for thyroid function, converting vitamin D, and skin health.
But let's say you're not into liver, heart or kidney are also great alternatives! beef heart is very similar to muscle meat, like chicken breast, and very high in protein and nutrients like vitamin B3 and zinc. Kidneys on the other hand not as rich in nutrients as liver, but still rank up there with its B vitamin content.
Need ideas? Grind up some organ meats into some burgers or add into a meat sauce for a change!
Have many of you grew up on your grandmother's or great grandmother's chicken soups? Sticking out from the pot were beef bones or chicken bones, and the whole house would smell like a cozy winter day. If you know you know, right?
Bone broth is not just boiled down protein, it's actually extremely mineral rich as the minerals are coming straight from the bone matrix of the animal being used. Minerals such as boron, calcium, copper, magnesium and phosphorus are found in this liquid gold, which ironically enough are the main minerals we need to maintain robust bone density! In addition, bones are also made up of amino acids, particularly glutamine, glycine and proline. In having some bone broth, whether it be in a soup, gravy or even as a drink, one can reap the benefits of these amino acids that help with tissue repair, hormone production, skin and hair health, and even digestion.
Oysters and other shellfish
Did you know oysters are considered aphrodisiacs? This is your sign if you're bringing someone special home this holiday season, grab a box of oysters and get ready to shuck! All jokes aside, oysters and other shellfish are loaded with minerals like zinc and copper which pertain particularly to our hormones. Zinc is synonymous to testosterone and progesterone, whereas copper is to estrogen. Both are required for numerous enzymatic reactions in the body, and more than just hormone production, but for the immune system, energy and thyroid health.
Shellfish are also a great source of less commonly found minerals like iodine and selenium to further support thyroid and metabolic function as well.
Dairy, raw to be exact
Got milk? Now, we know dairy is a bit of a controversial topic, many people struggle to consume it due to intolerances, but hear us out! Dairy, whether it be milk, cheese or yogurt, is actually very nutrient dense, especially raw. When dairy is pasteurized or homogenized it is stripped of many nutrients due to the heat and preparation method in removing beneficial bacteria and enzymes. That being said, whether it be raw or not, always try and reach for products that don't have added fillers and are unpasteurized to reap the full benefits. Dairy is a rich source of minerals such as calcium, iodine, magnesium, potassium and selenium- particularly if the animal is grass fed. Furthermore, whole fat sources of dairy also contain all fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K which are all so necessary for bone and development.
Fruit and potatoes
Nature's candy and most satiating food all in one, can you believe it?
Most people are not consuming even half of their required potassium intakes in a day, and these two sources of food will definitely help with that.
Did you know potassium is needed to help balance blood sugar as well as absorb active thyroid hormone?
It's not even just the potassium that supports this but the fructose within the fruit! Fructose does not require insulin to be digested and enters the blood stream right away, making it an easily digestible source of quick energy, particularly for people who struggle with insulin resistance. Ironically enough, low potassium has been linked to individuals who struggle to with the production of certain hormones like leptin, ghrelin and insulin to regulate appetite and satiety.
Potatoes on the other hand, despite not being high in fructose per say, are rich in potassium but also have something called resistant starch when boiled and then cooled down after a few minutes of being cooked. For those who don't know what that is, resistant starch is the transformation of an oil molecule into a starch molecule, making the starch more difficult to digest, acting more like a prebiotic than a source of glucose. It essentially keeps people feeling fuller longer, and supporting the microbiome as it converts the starch into short chain fatty acids.
So don't be afraid to have some fruit for dessert or the mashed potatoes. They're actually good for you.
Wishing everyone a happy thanksgiving this week!
Chemical Engineer and Nutritionist
Founder of Upgraded Formulas