Everyone wants to get and stay healthy these days, and many are learning that the only way to do that is to make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need from a well balanced diet.

Nourishing the body properly has the potential to prevent diseases, or treat them when they do occur. That means knowing the nutritional value of the foods we eat.

At one time, a foods nutritional value was determined by its oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC for short. This score was posted on the U.S Department of Agriculture website in table form, but it was recently removed.

It seems that there was a problem concerning the specific role antioxidants play in the health of the human body.

Even though the theory remains about bioactive compounds helping to prevent and heal disease, according to the USDA there is still some question as to exactly how metabolic pathways associated with this process work. It is possible that some other factors, like non-antioxidant mechanisms that remain undefined may be responsible?

Since the ORAC table is no longer available, The ANDI score has taken up where it left off. ANDI is the acronym given to Aggregate Nutrient Density Index which gives a score to the nutrient density of foods according to a scale that runs from 1 to 1,000. This score is based on the nutrient content of food.

Doctor Joel Fuhrman, a specialist in nutrition based treatments of chronic diseases and obesity, developed the ANDI scoring system which is based on health equation represented like this:

Health = Nutrients/Calories. It is also shortened to look like this H = N/C.

An extensive range of micronutrients go into calculating the ANDI score. Those micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidant capacities and phytochemicals. It is thought that knowing the ANDI score of foods is critical for predicting how healthy one will be later in life.

By understanding the micronutrient density of calories in the diet, it is possible to create a healthier body, and that is good news to everyone. At the same time, it is good news for those who are experiencing health problems. Foods that score high on ANDI may help in the healing process.

There are a few categories of foods that are considered to rank high on this current scoring system.

Those food groups are: Nuts and Seeds, Fruits, Green Vegetables, Non-Green Vegetables, and Beans.

Knowing what to eat goes a long way in getting and staying healthy.

Here is a quick rundown on some high scorers:

• Sunflower seeds have an ANDI score of 78

• Strawberries have an ANDI score of 212

• Collard and mustard greens, watercress and kale have an ANDI score of 1,000

• Radishes have an ANDI score of 554

• Lentils have an ANDI score of 104