Do you know your healthy foods?
We’re all on a quest for a healthy and happy lifestyle. Eating well, plays a big role in our journey. But do you really know your healthy foods? Over the years, we have become used to checking labels for the traffic light system. The green, amber and red labels telling us if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fats, saturated fats, sugars, and salts. This ‘at a glance’ system is a very convenient and quick guide, but how much is this helping us in choosing healthy foods?
The food compass guide
The Food Compass System (FCS) is a brand new nutrient profiling system from Tufts University, US. This new tool has been developed to make food comparisons easier for consumers, companies, restaurants and policy makers. All with the aim of helping us all make healthier food choices.
Developed over three years, the FCS incorporates cutting-edge science on how different characteristics of foods positively or negatively impact our health. Encouraging us towards healthier food choices.
Helpful vs harmful foods
The FCS study tested more than 8000 foods and beverage consumed in the US. Each food item was scored on 54 different characteristics including vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein. They then went further by looking at additives, methods of processing and the effect on the bones, mental health and the immune function to name a few. Looking at foods in a much more holistic level.
The scientists have used this extensive and comprehensive method to give each food a score; 1 (least healthy) to 100 (most healthy).
After compiling this information and ranking each food, the study concluded that foods with a score over 70 are the healthiest. Scores below 30 the unhealthiest, and foods with a score of 31 to 69 should be consumed moderately.
No surprises here
Not surprisingly, the lowest scoring category was snacks and sweets, scoring on average 16.4, way below the 30 points mark.
The highest scoring categories were vegetables averaging 72 points, fruits averaging 74 points and legumes, nuts and seeds averaging 79 points. Nearly all raw fruits received a score of 100.
Eat up your broccoli and your olives!!
We’ve always been told to eat up our greens, but what about our olives? Olives have come up trumps again with an impressive FC score of 95! But we’re not surprised. Olives are classified as fruits and are high in vitamin E and powerful antioxidants, they have been shown to be good for the heart and may protect against osteoporosis and cancer. Olive oil is also a star with a 95 score.
At Medfood our first passion has always been olives. We started off with a small line of olives and today, they are our biggest product line. Choose from our popular marinated olives, natural black or green olives or our stuffed olives. Over the years we have taken traditional olive marinades from the Mediterranean basin and have developed a large range of flavours that have become a staple on British tables.
Nuts, glorious nuts
Nuts and seeds were another high scoring hero, averaging 79 food compass points. Swap your sweet snacks with a handful of nuts and you’re winning. They’re tasty, convenient and can be enjoyed on all kinds of diets from Keto to vegan.
Although high in fat, nuts, particularly raw nuts have a huge list of benefits from healthy fats to minerals and vitamins. To find out more about the benefits of specific nuts, read our November Blog.
Here at Medfood we are very particular about nuts and roast and flavour all our nuts inhouse for premium quality, taste and aroma. For maximum benefit pick raw nuts for snacking or for adding to food and salads. They have a great natural flavour and you can really taste the sweetness and butteriness of the pure nut.
Fruits, even dry they are amazing
We all know about the benefits of fruits, but we often think that they lose their benefits when they are dry. We are wrong! Dried fruits scored really highly on the FCS scale with dried peaches (94), dried figs (87), prunes (85) and dates (76). In fact there are very few dried fruits that score below the 50 score.
At Medfood we highly recommend our naturally dried or organic range. Dried fruits are naturally sweet, contain lots of fibre, vitamins and minerals and if you have a sweet tooth, they are a healthy alternative to sweet snacks. Keep some in your bag, put them in a lunchbox or sprinkle on salads or on your cereal. We have a great range for you to choose from and dried fruits really are nature’s sweet shop.
The Food Compass Score in the UK
The FCS research has only just been published in the US so naturally it will take some time for it to be implemented in industry and work its way across the pond. However we can learn a lot from it already and the simple message is eat fresh, eat colours and enjoy what mother nature has provided for us.
If you would like to discuss your business needs with us, call our sales team on 020 8965 6528 or contact us for more information.
The Times – The best (and worst) foods you can eat – ranked by scientists. (15 Nov 2021).
Food Compass – A Novel Nutrient Profiling System that Assesses the Healthfulness of Foods. Tufts University. 2021.
The Tufts Daily – Are some foods as healthy as you think? New ‘compass’ scores food, guides consumer choices – 23 Nov 2021.