If you are cruising through your local Whole Foods you may notice that many of the produce items have a numerical “ANDI” score and are tagged with the “Health Starts Here” signs. For a long time I didn’t pay attention to this until one day I took another look and realized that ANDI actually meant something and wasn’t Whole Foods just trying to tout their whole foodiness.
Turns out that ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index”; these scores indicate how nutrient dense a food is on a scale from 1 to 1000. The scores are calculated by evaluating a range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Based on this scale, leafy greens (kale, mustard/turnip/collard greens) set the bar at a perfect 1000 (the highest score) and everything else falls somewhere below that.
For example, Brussels Sprouts bring in a a strong 672, Red Peppers – 366, Strawberries come in at 212, Almonds are 38.
This is not to say these other foods are not as nutritious, this is just one rating system based on the amount of nutrients per calorie. Some healthy foods receive a lower score because they are higher in calories, not because they are low in nutrient value. Although this scale does provide some good insight into nutrient density, it is important to remember that we should be eating a variety of (healthy) foods.
One cannot live on kale alone.
If you are interested in learning more or seeing more ANDI scores you can check them out here.
Is this something you would pay attention to while shopping? Would an ANDI score influence your purchases or do you stick to a grocery list?