Nutrients found in raw foods

We often reach for fast food since it is cheap and conveniently accessible. Usually, we don't need to look far to see a snack bar—an indication of how important these places have become for many people. Being able to walk in, grab a breakfast and continue on the way to work or home seems to convince many that they are solving a pressing concern, even if not in the best possible way or in their best interest. But the food we choose to consume on a daily basis determines how healthy we will be. A contaminated food would contribute to a contaminated body and a healthy food would lead to a healthy body.

The price of bad food is most often paid later, in terms of health problems that appear separately or in combination long after we have forgotten what we ate the last time. They may not be noticeable at the point of decision, but they eventually become visible. Many illnesses are a result of food intake patterns. This blog post in itself is a result bound to someone's illness.

Do we know exactly the contents of what we eat? Given all the food varieties, this is impossible to know. Many foods that look great are kept fresh with substances that are toxic for our bodies. Accepting chemicals in any form together with our food makes us ill probably faster than anything else. Chemistry tells us that different reactions between these elements occur, so it is impossible to know in advance how the body system will be affected.

When we see a label "This food contains gluten", what does this actually tell us? In the small etiquette space there seems to be no place to explain to the consumer why or how gluten could be good or bad for them. It is much easier to tell them something they "don't need to know" simply to adhere to some regulations. The number of E-substances we accept with our food where no explanation is given about them is also telling.

Very often the food we eat doesn't energize us, but at the same time makes us feel full. Such food is poor in healthy nutrients, so we start to seek more of it to compensate for the needs of our body. This has made some people obese and more susceptible to certain diseases. But if we learn to recognize which foods are more nutrient-rich, we could eventually be more energized even while eating less.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes data reports on the nutrients found in various foods, which allows anyone to explore which types of foods are nutrient-rich and which aren't. Moreover, we can compare different foods (for instance red, green and yellow peppers) and see which type provides more healthy vitamins or minerals to our body. We could also explore what happens with the nutrients of various foods after they are frozen, cooked or even exposed to ultraviolet light. Or what happens when the same fish is farmed at two different places. This allows us to study and relate foods to each other and eventually learn how to make more healthy choices. The non-specialist probably wouldn't be able to tell whether 0.500mg niacin per 100g product is a small or large quantity, but this becomes easier to understand the more data we have. For instance, if the food richest in niacin has 1mg, then 0.500mg certainly isn't a small amount. But if the richest food has 300mg, then 0.500mg becomes a negligible amount, indicating a lack of an essential nutrient. In addition, it is interesting to observe the nutrients that foods of the same family exhibit to know which nutrients and which amounts similar foods could contain.

Sometimes it is said that no matter how we choose to edit an image we cannot possibly obtain one that is better than the original. The same idea applied in the context of food data analysis would mean that it would be more interesting to get information about foods in their most natural, raw form and then eventually infer what could happen once the food is processed further.

The goal of this is post is to find (according to USDA data about more than 1100 different raw foods evaluated in up to 33 different nutrient categories each) both which foods are richest in each nutrient and which foods are neither too rich, nor too poor in all nutrients as a whole (for instance, for a more balanced meal).

We'll start with the results obtained on the first nutrient—water. Here you can see the foods richest in water according to the data I used.

Water (g)
Cucumber, with peel96.73
Cucumber, peeled96.73
Waxgourd (chinese preserving melon)96.1
Taro shoots95.82
Lettuce, iceberg (includes crisphead types)95.64
Lettuce, red leaf95.64
Lettuce, butterhead (includes boston and bibb types)95.63
Gourd (white-flowered) (calabash)95.54
Celery95.43
Radishes, white icicle95.37

This shows that the next best thing to drinking clean water when being thirsty is likely eating a cucumber. Out of the 100g cucumber, 96.73g are water, which is impressive. But considering how much water cucumbers take in order to grow, this result is somewhat understandable. Since a large part of our body is said to consist of water as well, staying well-hydrated during the day is important for our well-being. On the contrary, being dehydrated has been linked with decreased levels in productivity and you probably don't want that.

Energy (kcal)
Fish oil, sardine902.0
Oil, coconut892.0
Oil, canola884.0
Oil, olive, salad or cooking884.0
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, leaf fat857.0
Beef, variety meats and by-products, suet854.0
Pork, fresh, backfat812.0
Caribou, bone marrow, (Alaska Native)786.0
Pork, cured, salt pork748.0
Nuts, macadamia nuts718.0

As you can see, what seems to deliver most energy to us are the various types of oils, which are quite high on the list. If we assume that we need 2500kcal/day, then 277g sardine oil or 280g coconut oil would be enough to cover the daily need, at least in theory. Products rich in fat give us more energy, but we should pay attention that this boost doesn't come for free—we can clog our blood vessels or get cardiovascular problems by consuming too much fat. Note that this doesn't mean eliminating it from our list completely.

Protein (g)
Soy meal, defatted49.2
Soy flour, full-fat37.81
Soybeans, mature seeds36.49
Lupins, mature seeds36.17
Seeds, hemp seed, hulled31.56
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried30.23
Winged beans, mature seeds29.65
Seeds, watermelon seed kernels, dried28.33
Pork, cured, ham, center slice, country-style, separable lean only27.8
Seal, bearded (Oogruk), meat, (Alaska Native)26.7

Protein is another essential nutrient and here soy-based products seem to occupy the first places in their ability to provide it. But some seeds and beans seem to be more protein-rich than meat, which has been traditionally thought to be one of the foods richest in proteins. This result might look slightly surprising.

Total lipid (fat) (g)
Fish oil, sardine100.0
Oil, canola100.0
Oil, olive, salad or cooking100.0
Oil, coconut99.06
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, leaf fat94.16
Beef, variety meats and by-products, suet94.0
Pork, fresh, backfat88.69
Caribou, bone marrow, (Alaska Native)84.4
Pork, cured, salt pork80.5
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, subcutaneous fat76.16

This shows that many oils are either 100% fat or very close to it. But beef and pork are rich in fat too.

Carbohydrate, by difference (g)
Spices, cinnamon, ground80.59
Cherries, tart, dried, sweetened80.45
Rice, white, long-grain, regular79.95
Rice, white, long-grain, regular, enriched79.95
Rice, white, medium-grain, enriched79.34
Rice, white, medium-grain, unenriched79.34
Rice, white, short-grain, unenriched79.15
Barley, pearled77.72
Goji berries, dried77.06
Rice, brown, long-grain76.25

To be fair, I don't know what carbohydrate by difference means—it is probably a computed value. What we can see is that rice almost exclusively occupies the top spots as one of the richest foods in carbohydrates. For instance, potatoes have 17.49g in this indicator which might seem surprising.

Fiber, total dietary (g)
Spices, cinnamon, ground53.1
Spices, rosemary, dried42.6
Spices, oregano, dried42.5
Spices, sage, ground40.3
Spices, basil, dried37.7
Spices, thyme, dried37.0
Seeds, chia seeds, dried34.4
Spices, cloves, ground33.9
Spices, cardamom28.0
Seeds, flaxseed27.3

Fiber helps to digest foods more easily. For instance, some yoghurts are advertised as healthy for containing "lots of fiber", but when you look at the ingredient table, it says something like slightly more than 2g fiber per 100g yoghurt. Someone even mentioned that even cucumber has 4g fiber, but it often isn't even advertised. Well, USDA is more cautious here, gives cucumber no more than 0.5-0.7g fiber. But this just underlines the importance of the spices listed here. Seeing this majestic list of spices, you might feel motivated to start introducing them more frequently in you food.

Sugars, total (g)
Cherries, tart, dried, sweetened67.15
Litchis, dried66.1
Chocolate, dark, 45-59% cacao solids47.9
Goji berries, dried45.61
Tamarinds38.8
Plums, dried (prunes), uncooked38.13
Chocolate, dark, 60-69% cacao solids36.71
Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids23.99
Sapote, mamey20.14
Jackfruit19.08

It can't be a surprise that anything sweetened contains sugar. As we know overconsuming sugar has been linked with hypertension and diabetes. Staying away from it as much as possible means that our cravings become less frequent and less pronounced.

Now, we'll concentrate on minerals.

Calcium, Ca (mg)
Spices, basil, dried2240.0
Spices, thyme, dried1890.0
Spices, dill weed, dried1784.0
Spices, sage, ground1652.0
Spices, oregano, dried1597.0
Spices, dill seed1516.0
Spices, rosemary, dried1280.0
Spices, parsley, dried1140.0
Spices, tarragon, dried1139.0
Spices, cinnamon, ground1002.0

Large part of our bones are said to be made of calcium; lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis. According to USDA these foods are all rich in calcium, and surprisingly, these are again the spices.

Iron, Fe (mg)
Spices, thyme, dried123.6
Spices, basil, dried89.8
Spices, cumin seed66.36
Spices, turmeric, ground55.0
Spices, dill weed, dried48.78
Beef, variety meats and by-products, spleen44.55
Spices, bay leaf43.0
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, spleen41.89
Spices, oregano, dried36.8
Spices, tarragon, dried32.3

Lack of iron may cause anemia or fatigue. Dried thyme provides by far the most iron among the foods I analyzed.

Magnesium, Mg (mg)
Spices, basil, dried711.0
Seeds, hemp seed, hulled700.0
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried592.0
Seeds, watermelon seed kernels, dried515.0
Spices, dill weed, dried451.0
Soy flour, full-fat429.0
Spices, sage, ground428.0
Spices, parsley, dried400.0
Seeds, flaxseed392.0
Mothbeans, mature seeds381.0

Flaxseed seems to contain lots of magnesium, but even that is almost twice less than the amount basil provides.

Then follow phosphorus and potassium-rich foods.

Phosphorus, P (mg)
Seeds, hemp seed, hulled1650.0
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, dried1233.0
Seeds, chia seeds, dried860.0
Wheat germ, crude842.0
Spices, mustard seed, ground828.0
Seeds, watermelon seed kernels, dried755.0
Seeds, sesame butter, tahini, from raw and stone ground kernels752.0
Oat bran734.0
Nuts, brazilnuts, dried, unblanched725.0
Soybeans, mature seeds704.0
Potassium, K (mg)
Beef, chuck for stew, separable lean and fat, choice3773.0
Spices, dill weed, dried3308.0
Spices, tarragon, dried3020.0
Spices, parsley, dried2683.0
Spices, basil, dried2630.0
Pepper, banana2556.0
Soy flour, full-fat2515.0
Soy meal, defatted2490.0
Spices, turmeric, ground2080.0
Spices, pepper, red or cayenne2014.0

With sodium we have to be careful. Too much of it is rarely good. Some types of himalayan salt have ≈380mg on this indicator. Soy sauce seems to rely on a lot of sodium, so if we choose to use it, its probably better to reduce its amount considering how strong it is.

Sodium, Na (mg)
Soy sauce made from soy (tamari)5586.0
Soy sauce made from soy and wheat (shoyu)5493.0
Egg, whole, frozen, salted, pasteurized3663.0
Egg, yolk, frozen, salted, pasteurized3487.0
Pork, cured, ham, center slice, country-style, separable lean only2695.0
Pork, cured, salt pork2684.0
Beef, cured, corned beef, brisket1217.0
Pork, cured, breakfast strips, raw or unheated987.0
Beef, cured, breakfast strips, raw or unheated955.0
Seaweed, wakame872.0
Zinc, Zn (mg)
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild39.3
Mollusks, oyster, eastern, farmed37.92
Mollusks, oyster, Pacific16.62
Wheat germ, crude12.29
Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver12.02
Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt10.3
Seeds, watermelon seed kernels, dried10.24
Seeds, hemp seed, hulled9.9
Hyacinth beans, mature seeds9.3
Beef, chuck eye steak, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select8.54

Foods rich in zinc seem to fall into the oysters category.

Now we'll explore the various vitamins.

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid (mg)
Acerola (west indian cherry)1677.6
Acerola juice1600.0
Peppers, hot chilli, green242.5
Guavas, common228.3
Peppers, sweet, yellow183.5
Litchis, dried183.0
Currants, european black181.0
Kiwifruit, ZESPRI sungold161.3
Thyme, fresh160.1
Cloudberries, (Alaska native)158.0

Acerola juice seems to be richest in vitamin C, but what is most impressive is that green hot chilli pepper, the next best on the list has almost 7 times less(!) measured vitamin C content. Still, Acerola juice is likely not affordable for most people for long-term intake. Also, adjusting the organism to such immune-stimulating food and then stopping it may not be accepted well.

Thiamin (mg)
Wheat germ, crude1.882
Seeds, flaxseed1.644
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried1.48
Seeds, sesame butter, tahini, from raw and stone ground kernels1.283
Seeds, hemp seed, hulled1.275
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, liver1.21
Nuts, macadamia nuts1.195
Oat bran1.17
Hyacinth beans, mature seeds1.13
Winged beans, mature seeds1.03

Some sites claim that thiamin is also called vitamin B1. Here, we may think that most foods have very small doses of it. But 1.882mg is a lot more than the norm, which while I worked on the dataset, was somewhere around 0.350mg.

Riboflavin (mg)
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, liver4.21
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, liver3.005
Beef, variety meats and by-products, kidneys2.84
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver2.755
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver2.63
Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver2.44
Spices, parsley, dried2.383
Beef, New Zealand, imported, variety meats and by-products, liver2.347
Turkey, liver, all classes2.247
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, kidneys2.24

Riboflavin is equivalent to vitamin B2. Here dominate the livers of various animals, but it is almost shocking how consistently they appear. Again, the more data we have, the easier it is to observe such patterns.

Niacin (mg)
Fish, tuna, fresh, yellowfin18.475
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver16.11
Peanuts, spanish15.925
Fish, tuna, fresh, skipjack15.4
Beef, New Zealand, imported, variety meats and by-products, liver15.4
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, liver15.301
Fish, anchovy, european14.024
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, liver13.7
Peanut butter, reduced sodium13.69
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver13.175

Niacin or vitamin B3 occurs at slightly higher doses than thiamin and riboflavin, at least in my own observations. But its variability is also higher. That peanuts can be rich in niacine is slightly surprising (also notice peanut butter at the end).

Vitamin B-6 (mg)
Spices, sage, ground2.69
Spices, pepper, red or cayenne2.45
Spices, tarragon, dried2.41
Spices, bay leaf1.74
Spices, rosemary, dried1.74
Spices, dill weed, dried1.71
Nuts, pistachio nuts1.7
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried1.345
Spices, basil, dried1.34
Wheat germ, crude1.3

I like to see sunflower seeds as they are very nutrient rich and quite affordable for most people. Usually a handful of seeds reduces hunger for a while and seeds and nuts of all kinds are quite portable and convenient to carry.

Folate, DFE (µg)
Goose, liver738.0
Duck, domesticated, liver738.0
Turkey, liver, all classes677.0
Yardlong beans, mature seeds658.0
Mothbeans, mature seeds649.0
Cowpeas, catjang, mature seeds639.0
Cowpeas, common (blackeyes, crowder, southern), mature seeds633.0
Mung beans, mature seeds625.0
Beans, adzuki, mature seeds622.0
Beans, cranberry (roman), mature seeds604.0

Folate is said to be especially important for pregnant women. Wikipedia says that our body can't synthesize it from other ingredients—we need to rely on our diet for it. Folate is said to support cell division. Some livers and beans are especially rich in it.

Vitamin B-12 (µg)
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver90.05
Beef, New Zealand, imported, variety meats and by-products, liver84.5
Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver59.85
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver59.3
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, liver59.0
Duck, domesticated, liver54.0
Goose, liver54.0
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, kidneys52.41
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, kidney50.27
Veal, variety meats and by-products, kidneys28.2

Highest doses of vitamin B12 are contained in the livers and kidneys of some animals that people tend to eat.

Vitamin A exists in two forms

Vitamin A, RAE (µg)
Beef, New Zealand, imported, variety meats and by-products, liver28319.0
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, liver15434.0
Duck, domesticated, liver11984.0
Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver11707.0
Goose, liver9309.0
Turkey, liver, all classes8058.0
Lamb, variety meats and by-products, liver7391.0
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, liver6502.0
Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver4968.0
Chicken, capons, giblets4374.0

Vitamin A is essential for good eye-sight and light perception. Since we retain better information perceived visually, you can imagine that the burden on our visual system is disproportionate. This is even more valid if we have to stay current in various technologies, reading books, articles and blog posts every day. It is slightly disappointing to see only animal-based foods here. Form the non-animal products here, grape leaves, carrots and sweet potato, unprepared seem to be most beneficial according to USDA.

Vitamin A, IU (IU)
Beef, New Zealand, imported, variety meats and by-products, liver94398.0
Walrus, liver, (Alaska native)81200.0
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, liver51447.0
Spices, pepper, red or cayenne41610.0
Duck, domesticated, liver39907.0
Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver39056.0
Goose, liver30998.0
Caribou, liver, (Alaska native)28800.0
Grape leaves27521.0
Turkey, liver, all classes26901.0

In this table grape leaves even become visible. Other non-animal foods in the IU category are goji berries, carrots, broccoli leaves and sweet potato, unprepared, in that order.

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) (mg)
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried35.17
Spices, pepper, red or cayenne29.83
Nuts, almonds25.63
Mustard greens, raw20.1
Spices, oregano, dried18.26
Oil, canola17.46
Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts15.03
Oil, olive, salad or cooking14.35
Spices, basil, dried10.7
Nuts, pine nuts, dried9.33

Again, a table like this should have already convinced you about taking small amounts of sunflower seeds on a daily basis. From this data, we see that they contain 1.4 times more vitamin E than almonds and 2.33 times more than hazelnuts, both of which are much more expensive (at least here).

Vitamin D (D2 + D3) (µg)
Mushrooms, brown, italian, or crimini, exposed to ultraviolet light31.9
Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light28.4
Mushrooms, maitake28.1
Fish, halibut, Greenland27.4
Mushroom, white, exposed to ultraviolet light26.2
Fish, karp24.7
Fish, eel, mixed species23.3
Fish, mackerel, Atlantic16.1
Fish, trout, rainbow, farmed15.9
Fish, salmon, sockeye14.1

Vitamins D2 and D3 are the vitamins of the mushrooms and somes fishes. Interestingly, now we can see why mushrooms might be exposed to ultraviolet light, since except maitake, regular (unexposed) ones don't appear in the table. And maitake itself is probably rare enough to be found easily.

Vitamin D (IU)
Mushrooms, brown, italian, or crimini, exposed to ultraviolet light1276.0
Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light1135.0
Mushrooms, maitake1123.0
Fish, halibut, Greenland1097.0
Mushroom, white, exposed to ultraviolet light1046.0
Fish, karp988.0
Fish, eel, mixed species932.0
Fish, mackerel, Atlantic643.0
Fish, trout, rainbow, farmed635.0
Fish, salmon, sockeye563.0

The IU category shows almost no difference, except for the magnitude of the numbers.

Vitamin K (phylloquinone) (g)
Spices, thyme, dried1714.5
Spices, sage, ground1714.5
Spices, basil, dried1714.5
Parsley, fresh1640.0
Spices, parsley, dried1359.5
Amaranth leaves1140.0
Chard, swiss830.0
Dandelion greens778.4
Kale704.8
Spices, oregano, dried621.7

It is great to see plant-based food being richest in vitamin K here. Surprisingly, the first place is divided by three spices, which almost suspiciously show the same amount. Oregano is followed by garden cress, spinach, collards, beet greens, coriander, sweet potato leaves, chicory greens.

Now we come to the lipids/fats category which for some might be a deciding factor about whether to take some food or not.

Fatty acids, total saturated (g)
Oil, coconut82.475
Beef, variety meats and by-products, suet52.3
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, leaf fat45.23
Lamb, Australian, imported, fresh, separable fat35.352
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, frozen, composite of trimmed retail cuts, separable fat35.29
Veal, composite of trimmed retail cuts, separable fat32.92
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, subcutaneous fat32.369
Pork, fresh, backfat32.21
Beef, New Zealand, imported, subcutaneous fat31.514
Nuts, coconut cream (liquid expressed from grated meat)30.753

Saturated fats are probably ones you want to reduce. Coconut appears on this list twice, so any by-products from it may have more than average of saturated fat.

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated (g)
Oil, olive, salad or cooking72.961
Oil, canola63.276
Nuts, macadamia nuts58.877
Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts45.652
Pork, fresh, backfat41.95
Pork, cured, salt pork37.94
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, leaf fat37.22
Fish oil, sardine33.841
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, jowl32.89
Nuts, almonds31.551

Unsaturated fats are said to be less dangerous for our health than saturated ones. Here we see macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and almonds, olive and canola oils.

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated (g)
Nuts, walnuts, english47.174
Seeds, hemp seed, hulled38.1
Nuts, pine nuts, dried34.071
Fish oil, sardine31.867
Seeds, flaxseed28.73
Oil, canola28.142
Seeds, watermelon seed kernels, dried28.094
Nuts, brazilnuts, dried, unblanched24.399
Seeds, chia seeds, dried23.665
Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried23.137

Polyunsaturated fats are probably more complex ones in terms of their structure. Walnuts show the highest result on this measure, labeled by some as a "brain" food. We have heard that sardines and flaxseed are incredibly rich in Omega-3, which is a type of polyunsaturated fat. According to Wikipedia, Omega-3 is important for metabolism and may reduce inflammation. Walnuts are said to contain less Omega-3, but to be very rich in Omega-6, which partially explains why their result is so high.

Fatty acids, total trans (g)
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, Intermuscular fat4.095
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, subcutaneous fat4.049
Lamb, Australian, imported, fresh, external fat3.564
Lamb, Australian, imported, fresh, seam fat3.235
Veal, Australian, separable fat3.212
Beef, Australian, imported, grass-fed, seam fat3.209
Beef, Australian, imported, grass-fed, external fat2.763
Beef, New Zealand, imported, subcutaneous fat2.712
Veal, external fat only2.243
Beef, New Zealand, imported, intermuscular fat2.133

Trans fats are not good for us, we need to avoid these if we can.

Cholesterol (mg)
Beef, variety meats and by-products, brain3010.0
Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, brain2195.0
Lamb, New Zealand, imported, brains2100.0
Veal, variety meats and by-products, brain1590.0
Lamb, variety meats and by-products1352.0
Egg yolk, fresh1085.0
Egg, yolk, frozen, pasteurized991.0
Egg, turkey, whole, fresh933.0
Egg, yolk, frozen, sugared, pasteurized917.0
Egg, yolk, frozen, salted, pasteurized912.0

There is good and bad cholesterol and I will leave you to read about this by yourself. According to this last table, fresh egg yolk is quite high in cholesterol.

As a second part, we will seek to compute "most balanced" foods in our data. Ideally, these foods will be rich in many different nutrients, although they may not exhibit the highest measurements in any of the criteria. We will seek them by first normalizing each value in each criteria against the maximal value in that criteria among all existing foods. Then we compute the median of all values in all criteria for this food (to reduce the effect of outliers on the results). Finally we sort these median values in decreasing order and seek the foods that correspond to the highest values, independently of how small these values could be. No food is perfect in each nutrient category, so we can expect to work with small numbers. This is how we obtain the following top 20 list, from most to least balanced:

The list is not perfect, since the criteria are a mix of good and bad ones (we didn't say we wanted to eliminate trans fats completely) and we didn't apply importance weights. For the moment this seems a good compromise of getting a useful result in acceptable time.

Although not perfect, I hope that this article has motivated you to analyze food data in your own way and eventually to come to your own conclusions or insights about what you choose to eat next. Thinking in terms of the nutrients we could obtain from our food is different than thinking about which food to pick from the first known food bar.

If you are interested, you can also compare the nutrients of some raw foods to understand how they relate to each other.