ANDI’s top 10 foods

ANDI stands for the “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.” Basically, it’s a scoring system for how much nutrients a food contains and it’s a scale of 1 to 1,000. And they mean serious healthy stuff like micronutrients, minerals, etc. Not vitamin C.

I’m pretty sure 60% of the first stuff you grab from grocery stores is closer to the 1 mark. It just set up that way! There’s never a huge buy one, get one free bin with Brussels sprouts that greets you at the front door. It’s much more likely to be Pop-Tars or Doritos. Both delicious–both not on ANDI’s list…

But, here’s what is:

Ranking as the top three items all with perfect scores of 1,000 <insert your own drumroll>

  1. Mustard, turnip and collard greens
  2. Kale
  3. Watercress

Is that what you would’ve guessed? 150 points on the AGFK (that’s the Adriane’s Greenhorn Food Knowledge 😉 ) scale if you know what the other 7 highest scoring foods are!

  1. Bok choy=824
  2. Spinach=739
  3. Broccoli rabe=715
  4. Chinese and Napa cabbage=704
  5. Brussels Sprouts=672
  6. Swiss Chard=670
  7. Arugula=559

So? Who got the points? Second place goes to anyone who sees a theme!

Yep, they are all green veggies.

Are you singing his song in your head right now? Toot-toot!

[Pic found here]

There are other great foods though. Here are the highest rated choices in 9 other food categories:

  • Non-green veggie is the radish with 554
  • Fruit is the strawberry with 212
  • Bean is lentils with 104
  • Nut/seed is sunflower seeds with 78
  • Whole grains is old-fashioned oats with 53
  • Meat is Bison, top sirloin
  • Fish is tuna with 46 (Flounder takes second place with 41 and a bonus of not near as much mercury risk)
  • Cheese is Feta with 21
  • Refrigerated dairy is nonfat skim milk with 36 (okay, technically, it was tofu with 37 but it isn’t dairy so I don’t think it counts)
  • Also, just for fun, the lowest ranking item on the ANDI is cola with 0.6.

Of course, the most nutrients doesn’t mean you should eliminate all other kinds of food. We need sugar, salt and fat (whoo-hoo!). But it’s really interesting when you can make educated choices. I used to choke down arugula because I thought it was healthier. But I hate it. This shows me Brussels sprouts have more nutrients and I love them–substitution made!

Whole Foods grocery adopted the ANDI system and uses it in their Health Starts Here program, which I was lucky enough to find earlier this year. I guess it was on my brain again after my wonderful hostess served kale on New Year’s Eve (Hi Cheryl!). It converted some and disgusted some, which was hilarious.

See all the “superfoods” from the ANDI list on the Whole Foods website. What do you think? Would this list make a difference in your thoughts about food choices?


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