When averaged over all 7 days, our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan meets or exceeds 100% of our recommended daily nutrient intake level for all 29 nutrients that we feature in our website rating system. This health-promoting list of nutrients includes vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can use the chart below to see our recommended daily intake amounts for all 29 nutrients, as well as the average percentage for each nutrient that is provided by our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan. We have also included a very brief synopsis of some key health-supportive roles that have been associated with each nutrient in research findings.
Our results below were obtained using the 2016 version of Food Processor Nutrition and Fitness Software® copyrighted by ESHA Research in Salem, OR, database version 11.2.274. No optional ingredients in the meal plan were included in the analysis, and when ingredient options were included in the recipes, we analyzed the first option only. Additionally, we tried whenever possible to use the same food database codes that we used in our website food profiles to provide maximum continuity between our website descriptions and our meal plan results.
|Nutrient||Unit of Measurement||HealthyFood Daily Recommended Amount||Average Percent Provide By Meal Plan||Key Health-Supportive Roles|
|Vitamin A||retinol activity equivalents||900||171%||
|Vitamin D||International Units||400||113%||
|Vitamin E||alpha-tocopherol equivalents||15||137%||
While this extensive list of 100+ percent nutrients—including 3 macronutrients (protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids), 13 vitamins, and 12 minerals—might seem like an impressive accomplishment for any 7-day meal plan, the nutritional benefits provided by our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan are even greater than indicated by this list. What you don't see in this list of 29 nutrients is the amazing diversity of phytonutrients provided in this 7-day plan. By "phytonutrients" what we are referring to are the wide variety of flavonoids, carotenoids, and other plant-based nutrients that allow the foods in this meal plan to dazzle our senses. Consider that the deep purple-red hues in red onion, the pastel orange in cubes of cantaloupe, the pungent bold flavor of garlic, and the unique texture of quick steamed broccoli are features in our meal plan that are only made possible by flavonoids like the anthocyanins in red onion, or carotenoids like the beta-carotene in cantaloupe, or organosulfur compounds in garlic. Because our 7-day plan is so rich in fresh vegetables, it provides outstanding amounts of these phytonutrients. In fact, the list of phytonutrients provided in our 7-day plan is actually longer than the list of macronutrients and vitamins and minerals shown in the chart above! It's also worth noting that virtually all of the carotenoids and flavonoids provided in our 7-day plan have been shown to provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits.
It's important to remember the elements in our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan that make these remarkable nutrient benefits possible. These high average percentages for 29 different nutrients could not be achieved within a framework of 1,878 calories and the absence of dietary supplements without an unwavering emphasis on whole, minimally processed foods that have been selected on the basis of nutrient-richness and that have been prepared in such a way as to preserve as much nutrient content as possible. In addition, these high percentages would not be possible without special emphasis on vegetable intake and the unique nutrient-richness provided by this food group.
The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan Is Overflowing With Carotenoids Our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan is exceptional in nutrient-richness. And sometimes it pays to look a little more closely "under the hood" to see how remarkable this nutrient-richness truly is. The wealth and diversity of carotenoids in our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan is a great example.
As you can see from the Nutrient Percentages that we have summarized for our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan, you will be averaging 171% of our HealthyFood recommended intake level for vitamin A when you follow our meal plan. As plentiful as this nutrient percentage certainly is, it is not possible to tell from this percentage alone just how extraordinary carotenoids are in contributing to this vitamin A total. When all seven days in our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan are added together, they provide you with well over 100,000 micrograms of total carotenoids! In addition, among the carotenoids that can be converted into retinol (the primary active vitamin form of vitamin A), our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan provides 10,770 micrograms of retinol activity equivalents (RAE).
But that's not all. A diverse range of carotenoids are provided on a daily basis throughout our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan. Included here are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, lycopene, astaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, and other key members of the carotenoid family. Just consider the carotenoid nutrient-richness reflected in the following list of carotenoids provided on different days in our meal plan:
We cannot emphasize too strongly the well-documented health benefits associated with carotenoids. The vast majority of nutrients in this group have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as research demonstrating their ability to lower your risk of chronic disease. At the top of these risk-lowering benefits are the special properties of carotenoids for lowering risk of cardiovascular disease. There are also certain circumstances when particular carotenoids are needed to help us lower our disease risk. For example, the only carotenoids found inside the retina of the human eye are the xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin. So it is not surprising that strong long-term intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is associated in research studies with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (a condition in which deterioration occurs in the small central portion of the retina).
One of the best parts about The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan and its carotenoid richness is not having to worry about any complicated numbers or science names. When a meal plan provides you with an average of 8 cups of the World's Healthiest Foods Vegetables each day - including more than 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables, 3/4 cup of red/purple vegetables, and a diverse list of other carotenoid-rich foods, all of your "homework" is done for you! That's one of the many unique advantages that you have when you start out with the World's Healthiest Foods as the basis for your meal plan, and then you combine them together in 23 recipes that are as uniquely nutrient-rich as they are in eating enjoyment.
It is one thing to document the outstanding nutritional content of a meal plan—but quite another to understand its potentially life-changing health benefits once it gets put into action. Our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan can bring outstanding nutrient-richness into your way of eating. But it can also do much more!
Take a moment to think about the astonishing combination of foods that you will be consuming in a very short 7-day period once you put this meal plan into practice. You will be enjoying cruciferous vegetables that include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale; allium vegetables like red onions, garlic, and scallions; leafy salad greens including plentiful amounts of romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, and cilantro; the vibrant and subtle shades of red vegetables and fruits including tomatoes, red bell peppers, strawberries, raspberries, and red grapes; the delightful oranges of carrots and cantaloupe; uniquely health-supportive fats found in flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, avocado, salmon, and extra virgin olive oil; one-of-a-kind phytonutrients provided by spices like ginger and turmeric; and a host of other healthy food combinations. From a health benefits standpoint, what you are supplying to your body is star-studded list of health-supportive foods that has been turning the heads of research investigators who are experts in the area of food and health.
This description of The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan might sound like an exaggeration. But it is neither exaggerated, not does it stray from the central findings of scientific research studies.
Many food groups can provide us with outstanding support for multiple body systems. But when it comes to food groups like cruciferous vegetables, there are potential health benefits that unquestionably stand out from the crowd. In the case of cruciferous vegetables, we are talking about showcase amounts of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox-related nutrients that make foods in this vegetable subgroup unique supporters of the body's antioxidant system, inflammatory system, and detoxification system. This special combination of benefits makes cruciferous vegetables an unsurpassed World's Healthiest vegetable subgroup in terms of their cancer risk-reducing properties. The anti-inflammatory properties of cruciferous vegetables—together with their unusual concentration of folic acid—combine to make this World's Healthiest vegetable subgroup protective against atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. The fiber and glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables also give them unique digestive support properties, including the ability to help regulate interactions between Helicobacter pyloribacteria and the stomach wall. Our 7-day plan averages more than 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables per day! Because strong intake of cruciferous vegetables helps shape the core of The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan, it allows your body systems to take advantage of some of the best-researched food-related pathways for disease prevention.
Also fully incorporated into our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan are the allium vegetables—including both garlic and onions. Our plan averages over 1/2 cup of allium vegetables per day. Like cruciferous vegetables, allium vegetables stand out from the pack in terms of their potential health benefits. From a research standpoint, the most legendary aspects of garlic and onions are their unique sulfur compounds. Included within this group are alliin, allicin, allixin, and a long list of compounds technically referred to as "allyl polysulfides." The list of cardiovascular benefits associated with these compounds and regular intake of allium vegetables is remarkable. This list includes better regulation of blood pressure and decreased risk of high blood pressure; improved regulation of blood fats, including triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol; and decreased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Yet, a more cutting edge list would focus on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of allium vegetables that help protect our blood cells and our blood vessel linings from oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. Damage to blood vessel linings by highly reactive oxygen molecules is a key factor for increasing our risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and atherosclerosis. Oxidative damage can also lead to unwanted inflammation, and it is this combination of unwanted inflammation and oxidative stress that can put our blood vessels at risk for unwanted plaque formation and clogging. The ability of allium vegetables to help decrease this risk is what makes their routine intake so potentially life-changing. It was also one of the reasons that we incorporated them so comprehensively into The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan. You will find garlic being included in every single day of our 7-day plan.
These details about the potential health benefits of cruciferous and allium vegetables are designed to give you a close-up look at the proven health support that the World's Healthiest Foods can provide once they become a routine part of your meal plan. But in a way that is truly remarkable, these select details only tell one part of the story.
The allium and cruciferous vegetable subgroups are not the only ones that provide our cardiovascular and digestive systems with support. Vegetable subgroups like green leafy vegetables also play an important role in this regard. In fact, research studies show support for these two body systems to be coming not only from vegetables but also from many different food groups represented in our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan. (Nuts & Seeds and Beans & Legumes would be two good examples here.) And equally important, it would be wrong to think about the health support being provided by these many different food groups as applying only to our cardiovascular and digestive systems. For virtually all of our body systems, there are detailed stories to tell about the health benefits of the World's Healthiest Foods. Whether we are talking about healthy blood sugar regulation and insulin secretion; ongoing bone, joint, and connective tissue health; proper functioning of the digestive tract together with healthy and balanced populations of intestinal bacteria; or streamlined communication throughout our nervous system, The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan can provide you with potentially life-changing benefits solidly anchored in nutritional science and fully trusting in the unparalleled revitalization that can come from The World's Healthiest Foods.
Everyone is aware of nutrition—and the importance of the World's Healthiest Foods to provide us with nourishment. But we don't always stop and think about what nourishment actually means.
Many people have the misconception that nourishment simply means "getting the proper quantity of nutrients." They don't necessarily think that the source of the nutrients matters; from this perspective, they think that it wouldn't matter whether they got them in a powdered breakfast drink; or a highly-processed, breakfast cereal that had been fortified with vitamins and minerals; or a vitamin supplement. As long as they got the quantity that you needed, the thought is that their body would be provided with nourishment.
Yet, nutritional research shows nourishment to require something quite different.
Nourishment starts with the nature of our digestive system. And there is an important rhyme and reason to the way our digestive tract works!
While dozens and dozens of nutrients are needed for optimal health, and we can easily swallow dozens and dozens of nutrients from a single multivitamin tablet, when we take this nutrient supplement approach, we are bypassing the very functions that our digestive tract was designed to perform. For each of the many nutrients that our body needs, there are select places in our digestive system designed for absorption of that particular nutrient. In addition, nutrients are typically absorbed not in isolated form but in modified forms that rely heavily on digestive tract metabolism. In recent years, scientists have learned more and more about the remarkable importance of nutrient metabolism in the lower half of our digestive system (large intestine) where bacteria play a major role. Therefore, the only way we can take full advantage of our digestive system design is to start off with whole, nutrient-rich foods.
At some point or other, most of us have been told to do a better job chewing our food. But we might not have thought about the critical role of chewing in nourishment. Chewing is like the opening act in a drama we call nourishment. Everything that follows must come together according to this initial event. Relaxed, enjoyment of the World's Healthiest Foods at a sit-down meal with plenty of time for chewing and savoring the unique textures and flavors of these foods is a critical part of nourishment. When we skip this step, we're not just robbing ourselves of some luxury in life. We're robbing ourselves of nourishment. People ask us why we take the time to cook from scratch with the World's Healthiest Foods rather than relying on processed ingredients. Our answer is simple: we don't want to rob ourselves of nourishment!
We realize that there are an endless number of eating approaches, each with its own particular roadmap. And far too often we hear from readers who have tried every possible way of eating, without lasting success. Our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan is not designed to be a "diet." It's a natural way of eating that focuses on the World Healthiest Foods. We did not develop this meal plan based on some little-known discovery about nourishment, or some unusual theory about metabolism. We developed it based on widespread and well-known research about foods and food groups, the way foods grow, the way digestion works, and the way all of these factors interact to change our risk of health problems.
In our Introduction to The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan, we pointed out the importance of nutrient-richness in our approach to healthy eating. Since this concept is so very central to our approach, it's worth reiterating here. Nutrient-richness refers to the amount of particular nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, or omega-3 fatty acids) that are provided by the World's Healthiest Foods in relationship to their caloric value. When a food is overflowing with nutrients, yet contributes very little to our daily caloric intake, we describe it as nutrient-rich. By basing The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan on foods that will provide you with the most nutrients for the fewest calories, we can make sure that you will be getting the greatest nutritional bang for your caloric buck. It's their superlative nutrient-richness that puts vegetables front and center in our meal plan. We cannot find a food group that rivals vegetables in terms of nutrient-richness, and that is why you will find our meal plan averaging 8 cups of easy-to-prepare and great-tasting vegetables per day that are easy to prepare and taste great!
Just as optimal nourishment can only come from a way of eating that respects the nature of food itself as well as the nature of our digestive system, it also requires a way of selecting, storing, preparing, and cooking food that respects its nutrient-richness. Nutrient-richness is so important for preserving optimal health! As a way of helping to preserve nutrient-richness, all of the recipes in our meal plan make use of minimal heat and minimal cooking times. And, of course, you will also find ample use of fresh, uncooked foods in The World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan. In addition, our specific cooking methods (involving choices like steaming versus boiling) have always been chosen with nutrient-richness in mind.
Nourishment requires far more than ingestion of nutrients in a quantity that is adequate. Nourishment requires us to step into the amazing world of the World's Healthiest Foods, with their delightful colors, shapes, and sizes as well as the rich aromas and flavors that they provide for us when cooked in a healthy way. The World's Healthiest Foods that we eat each day may be the single most important influence on our health! Our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan places its trust the nutrient-richness of the World's Healthiest Foods and the way that nutrient-richness can work to provide us with optimal nourishment in a potentially life-changing way.
To best understand our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan, we would like to focus your attention on its two key components. The first component is our World's Healthiest Foods! We like to imagine about our World's Healthiest Foods as the colors on a painter's palette. When your goal is healthy eating, our 100 World's Healthiest Foods provide you with a simply amazing diversity of colors from which to choose. In order to create your painting, however, you need to carefully choose certain colors and combine them together in a way that delights the eye.
This painting process brings us to the second component in our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan: our World's Healthiest Foods Recipes! You will find 23 uniquely delicious recipes in our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan! And what we want to explain below is how our World's Healthiest Foods Recipes make exceptional nourishment possible.
Let's start by consider our Day 1 World's Healthiest Foods Recipe for Breakfast: Energizing Blueberry Smoothie. This World's Healthiest Foods Breakfast Recipe features four of our World's Healthiest Foods: blueberries, oats, spinach, and sunflower seeds. It is so easy to prepare that you can have it at your fingertips in 5 minutes! At 422 calories, this World's Healthiest Foods Recipe only uses up 23% of the total calories available on Day 1. But just take a look at the percentages below to realize how nutrient-rich this Energizing Blueberry Smoothie actually is.
When you look at these nutrient percentages, remember that our Energizing Blueberry Smoothie is only costing you 23% of your daily calories! So what you are seeing here is a World's Healthiest Foods Breakfast that will pay you huge nutrient dividends for your calorie investment! For each of the key vitamins and minerals listed above, your nutrient payout percentages are at least twice the percentage of calories that you invested. And for some of these nutrients, your nutrient-richness payout is actually five times greater than your calorie investment! It might sound astonishing to learn that such an easy-to-prepare breakfast can provide you with this exceptional level of nourishment. But it is exactly this type of nourishment that we see over and over when we start with The World's Healthiest Foods as the colors on our painter's palette and carefully transform them into a World's Healthiest Foods Recipe masterpiece!
Let's move on to one of our favorite World's Healthiest Foods Lunch Recipes: our Day 6 Omega-3 Rich Salmon and Avocado Salad. This World's Healthiest Foods Recipe features eight of World's Healthiest Foods: broccoli, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon, red onion, salmon, spinach, and tomato. At 474 calories, this World's Healthiest Foods Lunch Recipe only uses up 26% of the total calories available for the day—just a small amount more than our Day 1 Energizing Blueberry Smoothie. But once again, just take a look at the almost unbelievable nutrient-richness that you are getting from this World's Healthiest Foods Lunch Recipe.
It is difficult not to be dazzled by this nutrient-richness. As a payoff for investing 26% of your total Day 6 calories, you are getting nutrient richness returns that reach as high as 152% and 177%! Remember that these percentages refer to our recommended daily intake for each nutrient. As part of our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan, this Omega-3 Rich Salmon and Avocado Salad—all by itself—is giving you a full-days' worth of vitamin D and vitamin B12. And 99% of a full days' vitamin B3!
Finally, let's consider one of our favorite World's Healthiest Foods Dinner Recipes: Seafood Asparagus with Ginger Orange Sauce on Day 4. Here we are talking about a greater investment of calories: 821 calories, or 46% of the Day 4 total. Despite this much higher calorie level, however, none of the principles in our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan have changed. Our Seafood Asparagus with Ginger Sauce still focuses on the amazing nutrient-richness of 11 World's Healthiest Foods: asparagus, broccoli, cod, crimini mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon, red onion, salmon, soy sauce, and tomato. This unique combination results in a World's Healthiest Foods Dinner Recipe that is second to none in nutrient richness. Just look at these amazing nutrient percentages.
In addition to the 19 nutrients above, this World's Healthiest Foods Dinner Recipe also provides you with 72% vitamin B1, 55% zinc, and 51% iron. That's 50% of more of our daily recommended intake for 22 out of 29 nutrients from a single World's Healthiest Foods Dinner Recipe!
When we developed our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan, we took one additional step in order to unleash nutrient-richness to its fullest potential. We wanted to create 23 World's Healthiest Foods Recipes that were nutrient-rich in and of themselves, but we also wanted World's Healthiest Foods Recipes that could work together to average at least 100% for all 29 of the nutrients that we feature in our World's Healthiest Foods Rating System. We wanted our World's Healthiest Foods Recipes to be carefully matched in order to provide you with a minimum of 100% for all 29 nutrient averages. And our World's Healthiest Foods Meal Plan accomplishes this important goal!
To get a better idea of this remarkable outcome, consider our World's Healthiest Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Recipes described above: our Energizing Blueberry Smoothie, our Omega-3 Rich Salmon and Avocado Salad, and our Seafood Asparagus with Ginger Orange Sauce. When combined, these three World's Healthiest Foods Recipes provide you with 100% or more of the following nutrients.
What you are looking at here is nutrient-richness unleashed to its fullest potential through our World's Healthiest Foods Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Recipes. By starting with the right color palette (namely, our 100 World's Healthiest Foods), we were able to paint a picture of exceptional nutrient richness through the creation of our World's Healthiest Foods Recipes. You can bring this nutrient richness into your own life through the use of these easy-to-follow World's Healthiest Foods Recipes as combined our World's Foods Meal Plan. Enjoy nutrient richness at its flavorful best!