Food with Nutrition Facts provides a comprehensive list of food that contains essential nutrition, such as vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fiber and fat. The site also provides information about recommended serving size and energy value for each food item, as well as its glycemic index. This resource is a good place to start when making food choices to improve your diet.
Food With Nutrition Facts
Good nutrition is much more than something to fill your stomach — what you eat can affect your health, energy, and well-being in so many ways.
The most important feature of a good diet is variety. We all know variety is the spice of life, but did you realize that unless you eat a wide variety of foods, you may be missing out on important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients? Eating the right mix of vitamins and minerals will help you feel and look your best at any age.
To make sure your eating plan contains all the nutrients you need, choose a rainbow of colorful foods. The pigments that give foods their color are also the nutritious substances that can reduce your risk of cancer and chronic diseases like heart disease.
Of course, foods with the most “pigment power” are mostly fruits and vegetables — yet another reason to fill your plate with these fiber-filled, low-calorie, fat-free, super foods! Eaten together, fruits and vegetables pack an even bigger punch in reducing free radicals — unstable molecules in the body that damage cells and are thought to contribute to the development of many diseases.
Vitamins in the News
The hottest vitamins these days are the antioxidants (E, C, and A, along with the mineral selenium) and the “sunshine” vitamin, also known as vitamin D.
Antioxidants help gobble up those nasty free radicals. A diet rich in antioxidants has been linked to a host of health-promoting, disease-fighting activities in the body.
Antioxidant-rich foods include:
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene: Pumpkin, squash, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, dark leafy greens, and mangoes
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus
- Vitamin E: Vegetable oil, almonds, whole grains, wheat germ, sweet potatoes, yams
- Selenium: Salmon, haddock
Vitamin D has been in the news lately as studies have shown that people living in northern latitudes (such as much of the northern U.S.) may not get enough of this nutrient. Without adequate vitamin D, your body can’t properly absorb calcium, leading to a higher risk of broken bones — especially in the elderly. A recent Swiss study suggests that elderly folks may be able to reduce their risk of injury from falls with vitamin D supplementation.
The best source of this nutrient is sunshine. Other good sources include:
- Fortified milk and some orange juices. Juice manufacturers are now adding both calcium and vitamin D for better absorption.
- Salmon and mackerel
The Calcium Connection
Calcium is the sweetheart of minerals these days because of its weight-loss power. Research has shown that foods rich in calcium and protein can enhance weight loss by revving up your metabolism.
Calcium is also the super-nutrient for keeping bones and teeth strong and preventing osteoporosis. The best sources of calcium are dairy foods, though it’s also found in:
- Dark leafy greens
- Fortified products like cereal and orange juice
Food or Pills?
Supplements are not the secret weapon to better health, nor can they make up for a poor diet. While vitamin and mineral pills can help round out a healthy diet, they cannot take the place of the many nutrients and fiber found in whole foods.
At the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic, we recommend taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement for nutritional “insurance.” Depending on your food choices, even the best eating plans can fall short of meeting all your nutritional needs. Taking a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement is safe, and may offer additional health benefits. According to a study published in the August 2003 Journal of Nutrition, a daily multivitamin can reduce your risk of having a first heart attack. Other studies have suggested that daily supplements can help maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
But remember that more is not always better: When you are choosing your daily multivitamin/mineral, make sure it contains no more than 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for any nutrient.
It’s a much better idea to get your nutrients from food and take a simple vitamin/mineral supplement once per day — unless your physician recommends otherwise. (Keep in mind that that certain health conditions, such as pregnancy, call for specific supplements, so check with your doctor if you have health issues).
Every day, scientists are discovering substances in food that promote health and protect against diseases. As time goes on, they will likely uncover even more exciting links between nutrients and health.
In the meantime, here are some basic things we know for sure about vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamins and minerals have no calories.
- All vitamins and minerals can be found in foods.
- If your diet has too little of a vitamin or mineral over a long period of time, you will develop a deficiency.
- The best form of most vitamins and minerals is the kind you get from food.
So go ahead: Add any or all of the foods mentioned in this article to your grocery list. Choosing foods and beverages that are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other healthful substances will help satisfy hunger, ward off chronic diseases, and keep a zip in your step.
What’s In Food
Use these resources to learn about nutrients in the foods you eat. Find information on carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and more.
Read about why carbohydrates are important to the body and how they fit in a healthy diet. Explore types of carbs and examples of high carb and low carb foods.
Find how much protein to eat per day, what foods are high in protein, and why protein is important.
Learn what dietary fats do for the body and how much fat is recommended per day. Look up how much fat is in popular foods, like avocados and eggs.
View information on how much fiber you need per day, why fiber is important, and examples of high fiber foods.
Food Additives and Compounds
Find out about food additives…What they are, what they contribute to foods, how they are regulated, and how to identify them in the foods you eat.
Learn more about phytonutrients and how they play a role in your overall health. Vegetables and fruits are rich sources of phytonutrients, including antioxidants.
Salt and Sodium
Learn more about salt and sodium in your diet and how it affects your health. Find resources and tips for reducing the amount in your diet while keeping the flavor.
Vitamins and Minerals
Get the facts on vitamins and minerals, from A to Z.
USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Look up what’s in the foods that you eat using this system of nutrient databases.
Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables and Fish
HHS, Food and Drug Administration
Download and print these charts which show nutrition information for the 20 most frequently consumed raw fruits, vegetables, and fish in the United States.
International Food Composition Table/Database Directory
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Find links to International food composition resources, including those from Asia, Africa, Canada, Caribbean, United States, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The Basics of the Nutrition Facts Label
Step 1: Start with the Serving Size
- Look here for both the serving size (the amount people typically eat at one time) and the number of servings in the package.
- Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. The Nutrition Facts applies to the serving size, so if the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients than what is listed on the label.
Step 2: Compare the Total Calories to Your Individual Needs
- Find out how many calories are in a single serving and compare it to your total calorie allowance for the day. For general nutrition advice, 2,000 calories per day is used, but your individual needs may be higher or lower depending on a number of factors, including your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level.
Step 3: Let the Percent Daily Values Be a Guide
- Use the percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan. Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack. Daily Values are average levels of nutrients based on a person who eats 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5% DV of fat provides 5% of the total fat that a person who needs 2,000 calories a day should eat.
- You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. This means that you may need more or less than 100% DV that is listed on the package for some nutrients.
- Low is 5% or less. Aim low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
- High is 20% or more. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
Step 4: Check Out the Nutrition Terms
- Low calorie: 40 calories or less per serving.
- Low cholesterol: 20 milligrams or less and 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.
- Reduced: At least 25% less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product.
- Good source of: Provides at least 10 to 19% of the Daily Value of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.
- Excellent source of: Provides at least 20% or more of the Daily Value of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.
- Calorie free: Less than five calories per serving.
- Fat free/sugar free: Less than ½ gram of fat or sugar per serving.
- Low sodium: 140 milligrams or less of sodium per serving.
- High in: Provides 20% or more of the Daily Value of a specified nutrient per serving.
Step 5: Choose Low in Saturated Fat, Added Sugars and Sodium
- Eating less saturated fat, added sugars and sodium may help reduce your risk for chronic disease.
- Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
- Eating too much added sugars makes it difficult to meet nutrient needs within your calorie requirement.
- High levels of sodium can add up to high blood pressure.
- Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these.
Step 6: Get Enough Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Fiber
- Choose more foods containing dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin D, calcium and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia.
- Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients.
- Remember to aim high for percentage DV of these nutrients on other foods.
Step 7: Consider the Additional Nutrients
You know about calories, but it also is important to know about the additional nutrients on the Nutrition Facts label.
- Protein: A percentage Daily Value for protein is not required on the label. Eat moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans and peas, nuts, seeds and soy products.
- Carbohydrates: There are three types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fiber. Eat whole-grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta plus fruits and vegetables.
- Sugars: Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, occur naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose) or come from refined sources such as table sugar (sucrose) or corn syrup. Added sugars are included on the updated Nutrition Facts label. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that foods and beverages with added sugars be avoided by children under the age of 2 and individuals 2 years and older consume no more than 10% of daily calories from added sugars.
Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities or allergies, those who need to avoid certain ingredients due to religious reasons, or people who prefer a vegetarian eating style.
19 NUTRITION FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to nutrition and overall health; even qualified experts often have differing opinions on some issues. However, there are other topics that most agree on because they are well-supported by research.
1. Run from sugary drinks
The most fattening things you can put into your body are sugary drinks. Why, you ask? The brain doesn’t register calories from liquid sugar the same way as those from solid foods. So, drinking soda or even fruit juices mean more calories and a possibility of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of health problems.
2. Nuts about nuts
Nuts may be high in fat, but they are very nutritious and healthy. They contain a high source of magnesium, vitamin E, fibre and other nutrients. They can help you lose weight, fight type 2 diabetes and even boost metabolism.
3. Real food over junk food
The biggest reason why people in the world are fatter and sicker than ever before is processed junk food. These foods are made in such a way that they trick our brains into eating more than we need, even leading to addiction in some. They are also low in fibre, protein and micronutrients (empty calories), but high in unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined grains.
4. Coffee isn’t bad
Coffee has been treated unfairly for a while, when in fact it is actually pretty healthy. High in antioxidants, studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and numerous other diseases.
5. Fatty fish is healthy
Most people agree that fish is healthy, especially fatty fish like salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients. People who eat the most fish have a lower risk of all sorts of diseases, including heart disease, dementia and depression.
6. Eat your vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are important to your diet for good reason. They are filled with fibre, vitamins minerals and all sorts of antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects. People who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and all sorts of diseases.
Fibre foods: fresh fruits and vegetables
7. Probiotics and fibre are good for your gut
The bacteria in your gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, are incredibly important for all sorts of health-related aspects. A disruption in these “gut bugs” is linked to some of the world’s most serious chronic diseases, including obesity. A good way to improve gut health is to eat probiotic foods (like live yoghurt), take probiotic supplements, and eat plenty of fibre, which functions as fuel for the gut bacteria.
8. Drink water
Drinking enough water can have numerous benefits. It can help boost the number of calories you burn. Studies show that it can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours. The best time to drink water is half an hour before meals. Half a litre of water, 30 minutes before each meal, can increase weight loss by 44%.
9. Don’t overcook your meat
Meat can be a nutritious and healthy part of a diet. It is very high in protein and contains various important nutrients. However, when meat is overcooked and burnt, it can lead to the formation of harmful compounds that increase the risk of cancer.
10. Eat enough protein
Many experts believe that the recommended daily intake of protein is low. Protein is very important for weight loss, as it can boost metabolism significantly while making you feel so full that you automatically eat fewer calories. It can also reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
11. Eat the whole egg
Whole eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, even often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin”. It is a myth that eggs are bad for you because of the cholesterol. Studies show that they have no effect on blood cholesterol in the majority of people. Also, a study showed that egg consumption had no association with the risk of heart disease. The yolk is where almost all of the nutrients are found. Telling people to throw it away is among the worst pieces of advice in the history of nutrition.
12. Don’t do drugs; drink in moderation
Your diet is the least of your worries if you are a tobacco smoker or drug addict. You need to tackle those problems first. If you choose to take alcohol, only do so in moderation and avoid it completely if you have alcoholic tendencies.
13. Use extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on the planet. It is filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that can fight inflammation and leads to many beneficial effects on heart health and lowers the risk of dying from heart attacks and strokes.
Olive oil. Photo credit: Soul Vegan Summit
14. Avoid refined carbohydrates
All carbs are not the same. Refined carbs have been highly processed and have had all the fibre removed from them, making them low in nutrients (empty calories), and can be extremely harmful. Studies show that they are also linked to overeating and numerous metabolic diseases.
15. Use herbs and spices
There are so many incredibly healthy herbs and spices, like ginger and turmeric which both have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, leading to various health benefits. Try to include as many different herbs and spices as you can as they can have powerful beneficial effects on your health.
16. Track your food intake
The only way to know exactly what you are eating is to weigh your foods and use a nutrition tracker. It also helps ensure that you’re getting enough protein, fibre and micronutrients. People who track their food intake in one way or another tend to be more successful at losing weight and sticking to a healthy diet.
17. Say goodbye to excess belly fat
All body fat is not the same. The most harmful fat in your body is in your abdominal cavity, the belly fat. This fat builds up around the organs and is strongly linked to metabolic diseases. Because of this, your waist size is a stronger way to check your health than the number on the scale. Cutting carbs, eating more protein, and eating plenty offibrer are all excellent ways to get rid of belly fat.
Doing aerobic exercise or cardio is good for your mental and physical health. It helps reduce belly fat, the harmful type that builds up around your organs, leading to major improvements in metabolic health.
19. Don’t starve
Believe it or not, diets are ineffective and rarely work well in the long term. In fact, starving or depriving your body of foods it needs may lead to future weight gain. Instead, try adopting a healthier lifestyle and focus on nourishing your body. Weight loss should come as a natural side effect of better food choices and improved metabolic health.