The Benefits of Nutrient-Dense Foods

By Reliv Key Director Dawn Tucci

Do you ever find yourself at the end of the day and nothing nutritious has passed your lips? If you’re snacking on food without much nutritional value, you’re probably still hungry. The solution? Nutrient-dense foods!

Let’s start by defining terms. What do we mean by “nutrient dense?” Nutrient-dense foods have a high nutrient content in proportion to the calories they contain. Therefore, including these foods in your diet can increase the nutrition you get per calorie. For example, foods like kale, blueberries, and quinoa offer a lot of nutrition without many calories.

The Nutritional Balance

If you only ate foods that were nutrient-dense, you’d have to say goodbye to most of your favorite snacks and “sometimes foods.” By making sure that a few bites of each meal and snack contain some of these nutrition powerhouses, you can get away with occasionally eating things that are not so healthy. When you pack your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and legumes, you can have a treat every now and then while still staying on track.

Added Benefits

In addition to vitamins and minerals, there are other benefits to eating nutrient-dense foods. Many of these foods are also high in fiber, which is a type of complex-carbohydrate that takes your body longer to digest than foods comprised of simple sugars. This means that you will also feel fuller, longer when you eat them. Of course, if you’re looking to increase your fiber intake, Reliv’s FibRestore® is a Targeted Solution that offers 10 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber per serving. By adding FibRestore to your daily Core Nutrition shake, you can ensure that you’re getting all the benefits of fiber, including digestive health, weight loss, blood sugar control, and lower cholesterol!

Snacking for the Win

Another way to keep you feeling full is to snack between meals. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want and expect to stay healthy. Snacks should be high in nutrition and loaded with protein. Ideally, you want a combination of lean protein and healthy fat for staying power. Aim for about 150 calories of nutrient-rich foods and your snack will be satisfying and give you the “pick me up” you are looking for!

Recipe Time

Here is a great snack from Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN:

Easy Yogurt Bowl
Add berries or a tablespoon of chia seeds to plain Greek yogurt to provide a filling combination of protein and fiber. In the fall, 1⁄2 cup of pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice make great stand-ins for berries and still provide 3 grams of fiber per 1⁄2 cup. You can also add locally-produced honey to sweeten the deal!

Examples of Nutrient-Dense Foods

  • Legumes and nuts – excellent sources of lean protein
  • Quinoa and sweet potatoes – healthful alternative to and more nutritious than white bread and rice
  • Salmon – also contains Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the body, especially the heart
  • Kale and other greens – also high in antioxidants
  • Berries – rich in anthocyanin which may have metabolic benefits
  • Others include garlic, sardines, eggs, dark chocolate, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, seeds, tomatoes, and soybeans.

If you want lots of nutrients without calories, focus on foods like the ones above mixed into your diet. A more nutritious diet benefits your health, and you will also feel better and have more energy!

The Power of the Pomegranate

Throughout history, pomegranates have inspired artists, writers, and countless cultures as a symbol of good fortune. Recently, clinical studies have revealed what good fortune this juicy, crowned fruit can offer you in addition to its unique and sweet taste. As it turns out, this tree-grown treat is one of the best fruits out there for you! Punicalagins, compounds found only in pomegranates, are to thank for many of the fruit’s powerful health benefits, especially its heart benefits. Punicalagins have been shown to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure. Continue reading “The Power of the Pomegranate”

We’re Nuts for Healthy Snacks

An Easy Nut to Crack
If you’re looking for a heart-healthy snack, look no further than nuts! Cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts — they all contain unsaturated fatty acids and other nutrients that can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease, so it’s good to incorporate nuts into your diet.

We’ve all got our favorites, but you don’t have to worry about restricting your nut intake to only certain kinds; almost every type of nut has nutritional benefits. Eating nuts has also been shown to reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause heart attacks. If you want to improve the lining of your arteries and entire circulatory system, nosh on some nuts!

Reasons to Come Out of Your Shell
Besides all the heart and cholesterol benefits, nuts provide additional benefits:

  • Lung Cancer Prevention: a diet rich in pistachios may help prevent lung cancer because of its healthy supply of gamma-tocopherol, a type of Vitamin E that protects against cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer Prevention: Brazil nuts contain a lot of selenium, which has been linked to prevention of advanced prostate cancer.
  • Weight Maintenance: Because nuts make you feel fuller longer and are metabolized slowly because of their fiber content, you’ll be less likely to cave to food cravings.

New information about the health benefits of nuts continues to be released, and many studies are underway that will tell us more about the elements of these small health wonders.

We’re Nuts for Nuts!
Although each nut has its own special mix of nutrients, most of them contain:

  • Unsaturated fats that help lower bad cholesterol. Nuts can be a healthy snack for those already fighting heart disease.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (also found in 24K®, GlucAffect® with LunaRich, ReversAge® and Reliv Now® for Kids with LunaRich) that help regulate your heartbeat and prevent dangerous rhythms that can lead to a heart attack. Nuts are the best plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Fiber (found in six Reliv products) that helps lower cholesterol and makes you feel full. It has also been shown to play a role in diabetes prevention.
  • Vitamin E helps keep the blood in your arteries from getting stopped by plaques.
  • Plant sterols that occur naturally in nuts and can also help lower your cholesterol.
  • L-arginine (also found in ProVantage® with LunaRich and ReversAge®) that helps keep your artery walls flexible and less prone to clots.

Keep in Mind
Nuts contain a lot of fat (up to 80% of a nut is fat), so eat them in moderation. Use them as a substitute in your diet for the saturated fats found in meat, eggs and dairy products. A handful (1.5 oz or 42.5 grams) per day of most nuts may reduce your risk of heart disease. To gain the heart benefit, you must also cut back on dairy and meat products by replacing a normal serving with a handful of nuts.

You won’t be doing any favors by over-consuming nuts, especially if you eat them in addition to whole meals of other foods that contain saturated fats. If you replace a meat or dairy product with nuts, you’re on your way to a healthy weight.

Although they’re tasty, avoid chocolate-covered, sugar-coated and salty nuts if you’re looking for a health benefit. These should be considered the same as candy and eaten as a rare treat.

Nut oils contain both saturated and unsaturated fats and although they have omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, they don’t have the fiber found in whole nuts. If fiber is your goal, stick to the source.


Supplemental Benefits


S&HT_Supplement_blogWhat is a dietary supplement?

A dietary supplement is any product containing vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids or enzymes, according to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Given the broad nature of this definition and vast spectrum of forms in which supplements are available, it isn’t a stretch to say that not all supplements are created equal.

Why is supplementation so important?

As you age, your body goes through major physical transformations and along the way can be introduced to some far-from-healthy environmental factors and unhealthy eating habits. Many people who are moderately health conscious may get the proper amount of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, however, are often underconsumed. Immune systems need all of these nutrient groups. Supplementation helps make sure your immune system has what it needs to function properly and fend off health threats.

Maintaining optimal cell health also requires additional means of absorbing nutrients. Supplementation with beneficial bioactive compounds can provide your cells with nutrition necessary to combat today’s environmental stresses and decrease your risk of chronic disease. Lunasin, for example, is a soy peptide that has been shown to work at the epigenetic level within cells to promote overall cellular health.

The benefits of supplementing are far-reaching. A recent study from The University of Melbourne and Swinburne University of Technology found women in particular receive an energy level benefit following supplementation. Participants of both genders reported a trend toward better sleep, improved mood and emotional state. Supplementation has also been shown to aid in motivation, exercise performance, recovery and the regulation of calories.

Supplements may boost heart health

Heart disease is the country’s number one killer. “Supplements can be very beneficial to heart health,” says Mimi Guarneri, the founder and medical director of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California, and the author of The Heart Speaks. Supplementing with these nutritional compounds in particular can benefit your heart:

-Omega 3 fatty acids

-Plant sterols

-Fiber (psyllium)

-B-complex vitamins (B3, B6, B12, folic acid)

-Coenzyme Q10



Note: All ingredients listed above can be found in Reliv products.


Supplements may slow a biological effect of aging

In addition to overall cellular health and increased immunity, your body can experience anti-aging benefits from supplements. Another recent study from The Ohio State University found that inflammation can be positively affected by Omega-3 supplementation.

“Inflammation in particular is at the heart of so many health problems,” said Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State and lead author of the study. “Anything that reduces inflammation has a lot of potentially good spinoffs among older adults.”

Additionally, supplementing with Omega-3s garners the potential to lower the risk for “a host of concerns associated with aging,” said Kiecolt-Glaser.



Bottom line: taking supplements, Reliv products in particular, can help you feel healthier, happier and more energetic. It is also a proactive approach to taking control of your own health. So the question is no longer “Why supplement?” but rather “Why wouldn’t you supplement?”


A Note from Dr. Carl: The Best Supplements Around
Reliv’s approach to nutrition focuses on bioavailability, that is, how effectively a nutrient is absorbed by the body. Reliv products, chock full of nutrients, come in easily absorbed shakes. While LunaRich soy powder features lunasin, a key peptide in soy, other Reliv products feature a cocktail of nutrients.

For example, Innergize!®is stacked with Vitamins A and C, ChromeMate® and OptiZinc® (the most readily absorbed forms of Chormium and Zinc available), as well as L-Carnitine and L-Glutamine to help transport fatty acids, release more energy, and promote lean muscle development. Cardiosentials has Policosanol, which helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and improve coronary blood flow, as well as CoQ10, which energizes heart function.

If you’re looking for the anti-inflammatory benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, you need look no further than Reliv’s 24K™, GlucAffect®, ReversAge® and Reliv Now® for Kids. People of all ages will benefit, whether they’re children growing strong minds and bodies or adults maintaining their health and longevity. You can optimize your results by adding LunaRich X™—the most pure, concentrated form of lunasin ever produced—to your Reliv regimen. In addition to its own health benefits — from cholesterol reduction to overall cellular health — LunaRich X powers up the benefits you receive from other Reliv products.

We’ve taken people of all ages and from all walks of life into consideration when creating Reliv’s premiere line of supplements. You can feel good inside and out knowing that our ingredients come from the most reputable suppliers and undergo rigorous testing when they first enter our plant, and again at each step in the manufacturing process. And because we own our manufacturing facility, we are able to ensure product purity and potency in every can— guaranteed.

Reliv goes beyond the minimum daily requirements to follow the standard of optimal nutrition, developed by researchers who have shown that higher levels of key nutrients are essential to good health and well-being. We have a seat on the board of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, Australian TGA approval and are the first corporate partner of the Missouri Plant Science Center—affiliations of which we are proud!

To your health,

Dr. Carl W. Hastings
Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer





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