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March Food Madness

March is national nutrition month as well as the infamous March Madness. We thought we would see which foods make it to the final four for being the most nutritious.

I’m sure if there was a single super food that we could eat to get all our daily nutrients we would do it. Unfortunately, this super food does not exist. Instead we are organisms that are capable of eating a variety of different foods that are animal and plant-based to get our daily nutrition requirements. A study conducted in 2015 compared 1000 raw foods to find out which one had the highest nutrition score. The higher the nutrition score, the more likely each food would meet, but not exceed your daily nutritional needs, when eaten in combination with others. The results are in…..

  1. Almonds

  2. Cherimoya

  3. Ocean Perch

  4. Flatfish

Almonds are the most nutritious with a score of 97. A lot of animal meats tied for last place with a score of 0. In the top 10 nutritious foods the only animal product that made the list was pork fat (ranked #8). Evidently, pork fat is a good source of B vitamins and minerals and has more unsaturated fats.

This month was also exciting for berry lovers. It seems that a new berry has been found to be healthier than blueberries. Research at UVic has found that the native BC salal berry contains 4 to 5 times more tannins and about 3 times more antioxidant capacity than blueberries. These compounds are correlated with a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack, as well as neurodegenerative and metabolic disease such as Type II Diabetes.

Although salal berries have high nutrient value, the berries eaten out-of-hand are not as attractive or as tasty as blueberries. They are a little bit drier and leathery, a cross between a black currant and a blueberry. Although the taste and visual appeal aren’t that great they do have a “super-grape” aroma. These berries grow all over BC and are best picked in late August. I guess we will have to wait until then to determine for ourselves whether they truly beat the blueberry.

Andrew Ferguson et al.Phytochemical analysis of salal berry (Gaultheria shallon Pursh.), a traditionally-consumed fruit from western North America with exceptionally high proanthocyanidin content. Phytochemistry 2018; 147: 203-210.

Kim S, Sung J, et al. Uncovering the Nutritional Landscape of Food. PLOS ONE 2015; 10(3): e0118697.

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