Micronutrient Food Search Tool: Level Up Your Nutrient Density

In our modern food environment, getting all the essential nutrients you need from your food is challenging.

Before modern food processing technology, our appetites did an excellent job of seeking the nutrients we needed.  But today, a little technology can help us navigate our modern food environment.

We created this interactive nutrient food search tool to help our Optimisers ensure they get all the essential nutrients they need from their food in the Micros Masterclass

To start, click here to access our interactive search tool (on your computer). 

QuickStart Guide

  • If you’re starting out, focus on the high-nutrient foods shown to the right of these charts.     
  • Once you have built a solid foundation, focus on the nutrient-rich foods towards the top of the charts. 
  • Use the sliders and filters to find foods that align with your taste preferences and goals.
  • Use the tabs across the top to focus on protein and each of the minerals and vitamins.

To learn more, read on.

Lay a Strong Foundation: High-Nutrient Foods

While nutrient density per calorie is the simplest approach, it’s usually not the best place to start your journey of nutritional optimisation. 

For example, watercress provides a lot of nutrients per calorie.  However, because we eat watercress in such small quantities, we don’t get a lot of nutrients from it.  By comparison, steak has a lower nutrient density per calorie but provides more essential nutrients per serving because most people eat a larger portion of steak.  

Most of the time, it’s best to start by upgrading the foods that provide most of the energy in your diet with high-nutrient foods that contain more nutrients per serving.   High-nutrient (per serving) foods are shown to the right of these charts. 

Note:  The average serving sizes are calculated from half a million food entries logged by Optimisers in Nutrient Optimiser.  Rather than adopting an arbitrary serving size from the USDA database, we have calculated the amount most people eat of these foods. 

The foods towards the right of these charts contain more essential nutrients in the serving sizes Optimisers typically consume them in.  High-nutrient foods are often meat and seafood, providing plenty of protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals per serving. 

You’ll also find some fast foods we eat in larger portions towards the bottom right of the chart.  These foods are more nutritious than those at the bottom left of the chart, but they’re not great in terms of satiety.  Unless you’re super active and using a lot of energy, you’ll probably have to consume more energy than your body needs to get enough nutrients from these foods. 

So, once you get the minimum amount of nutrients from the high-nutrient foods (toward the right of these charts), you can transition to the nutrient-dense foods (towards the top). 

Perfect Your Diet: How to Fill Nutrient Gaps Efficiently

Once you’ve built a solid foundation, you can use the nutrient-rich foods (per calorie) to fill in your remaining micronutrient gaps.  Nutrient-rich foods (per calorie) tend to be organ meats and non-starchy vegetables that most people eat in much smaller quantities. 

Nutrient-rich foods fill in the remaining nutrient gaps once you’ve laid the foundation with high-nutrient foods. 

Unlock Detailed Insights: Use Nutrient Tabs for Better Choices

The main nutrient density chart is the best place to start, showing you how to get more of all the 34 essential nutrients from your food (i.e. minerals, vitamins, amino acids and omega-3). 

To explore further, click on the tabs along the top to see separate charts for protein and each of the individual minerals, vitamins and omega-3. 

In the Micros Masterclass, we show Optimisers how to increase their diet quality score with the foods they already eat.   However, Optimisers can also use the food search tool to find new foods and fill the remaining gaps at the top of their nutrient fingerprint chart. 

If you’re not a big fan of the interactive charts, you can check out the:

Maximize Fullness: Use the Satiety Score to Your Advantage

The chart’s colouring is based on our satiety score.  So, if weight loss is a priority for you, prioritise the foods in green and minimise those in red.  

Food Discovery Made Easy: Tips for Effective Searches

If you want to learn more about a particular food, type the food in the search box and hit enter. 

Using Popularity to Choose the Best Foods

By default, each chart shows only popular foods.  Select ‘ less common ‘ to see more variety, including many processed and fast foods.  To simplify the chart, untick popular to show only the most popular foods with our Optimisers. 

Categorize Your Nutrition: Tailor Choices to Your Tastes

Use the categories drop-down to find foods that align with your tastes and preferences.  It can also be fascinating to compare the nutrient profiles of the different food groups. 

Precision Nutrition: How to Use Sliders for Optimal Choices

To further personalise the foods shown to your preferences and goals, use the sliders to zoom in on:

  • the most nutrient-dense foods,
  • high-satiety foods,
  • protein-rich foods,
  • foods that contain a minimum amount of protein per serving or
  • a maximum amount of carbohydrates per serving. 

Food Facts Uncovered: Navigate Pop-Ups for Essential Nutrient Info

Mouse over any food, and a pop-up with additional details will appear to learn more about each food.   You’ll see the amount of protein, carbs and energy contained in Optimisers’ typical serving sizes (weight and calories) consumed.     

In addition, the detail pop-up also shows:

  • Omega 6:3 ratio: If you’re concerned about your intake of omega-6 from seed oils, look for foods with a lower omega 6:3 ratio.
  • Glycemic index: GI ranks foods from 0 to 100% based on their impact on blood sugar levels.  Choose lower GI foods to reduce the rise in glucose after you eat.
  • Glucose score: The area under the curve glucose responds to foods over two hours after eating them.
  • Insulin index: A ranking based on the insulin response to food in the two hours after eating it for equal calorie portions of food.  If you’re using exogenous insulin, foods with a lower food insulin index will lower your short-term insulin requirement.
  • Insulin load:  The food insulin index multiplied by the number of calories in a typical portion of that food.  For example, bok choy has an insulin index of 63% but an insulin load of 10 calories per serving.  Meanwhile, McDonald’s’ Big Breakfast with Pancakes has a lower insulin index of 54% but an insulin load of 377 calories.  Because we eat a lot more of it than the bok choy, we’ll need more insulin to cover it. 

Ready, Set, Explore: Enjoy Your Nutrient Discovery!

If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to click this link to explore the interactive Tableau chart.  I hope this helps you find foods you love eating and align with your unique goals and preferences!  


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