Let’s face it: knowing exactly what foods to eat and which ones to avoid can be a tricky business. It seems like every day there’s a new piece of dietary science that has just come out to seemingly contradict an old one. No matter how you slice it, eating an all around healthy diet can be a challenge. For the sake of information and convenience, we’ve collected a list of the 30 healthiest foods for you to eat. So let’s get started.
Do you cook with mushrooms very often? If so, keep doing that! As it turns out, mushrooms are a great health food. Though the specific nutrients of each one vary, each comes packed with Vitamin D, riboflavin, B Vitamins and plenty of other helpful nutrients. It doesn’t hurt that they add a ton of flavor to any dish they’re in as well…
Though this one shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who eats a lot of leafy greens, spinach is high on that list! Each scoop of spinach comes packed with Vitamins A and C, plenty of antioxidants which fight free radicals in the bloodstream and a whole host of other health benefits. Though you can eat it on its own in a salad, you can also sauté some leaves for use in a pasta.
Though walnuts are a fattier entry to this list, they’re actually packed with good omega-3s, antioxidants, protein and fiber. If you’re looking for a energy-filled snack that won’t completely weigh you down in the middle of the day, reaching for a handful of these nuts instead of a bag of chips just might be the way to go.
4. Brazil Nuts
While you’ve probably had most of the foods on this list pretty regularly, this one is a little bit more uncommon. Still, Brazil nuts are a very healthy food item in their own right, each containing Vitamin B-1, zinc, Vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. Beyond that, however, they also contain more selenium, an important mineral for thyroid health, than any other food.
Do you eat many lentils in your cooking? If not, you should definitely start—because lentils are as healthy as they are delicious. Although the specific nutrients available can vary depending on the type of lentil and the method of preparation, each includes magnesium, proteins, fiber and other trace minerals. If you’re looking for a lean meal or snack you can eat throughout the week, these are definitely a good option.
Many of us who are used to eating rice or other whole grains have probably worked quinoa into our recipes as well. For those who haven’t, it is absolutely packed with vitamins ant minerals including magnesium, iron, potassium, B Vitamins, calcium, phosphorous and Vitamin E. Just like rice or other grains, it’s also extremely versatile and can be seasoned to taste any number of different ways.
7. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple of most of our cooking routines—and for good reason. Although it also offers its own unique flavor as compared to butter, it also provides a host of its own health benefits. Olive oil has many different antioxidants, healthy monounsaturated fats, anti-inflammatory properties and protection against heart disease. Still, it’s best to eat extra-virgin olive oil without heating it, or at least without heating it too much.
If you’re going to eat fish, it’s pretty tough to pick a more nutritious and delicious kind than salmon. Besides being packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, B Vitamins, potassium, selenium and many other nutrients as well. If you can, do your best to get some wild-caught salmon as well to avoid any additional toxins from farmed fish.
9. Sweet Potatoes
If you’re ever trying to mix things up when it comes to your starchy vegetables, switching out your regular potatoes for sweet potatoes may be a good choice. One particular benefit is that they have beta-carotene, an antioxidant that can be converted into Vitamin A. Beyond that, they also come complete with fiber, iron, calcium, B Vitamins and other nutrients as well.
You probably remember eating plenty of oranges before soccer games as a kid or as a healthy snack now and then. Still, oranges are a lot healthier than some of us may know. Beyond being packed with Vitamin C, they also have folate, potassium and Vitamin B1, all of which are beneficial to our immune system. After all, why else would we eat so much Vitamin C when we have a cold?
Avocados are experiencing a surge of popularity at the moment, particularly among millennials (as numerous humorous headlines have recently pointed out). Still, avocados have plenty of health benefits that make them worth eating pretty regularly. Although each one definitely comes with plenty of healthy fat, they also have all kinds of folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamins B5 and B6 and all sorts of other trace minerals. That they taste delicious is just an added bonus.
12. Kidney Beans
In general, beans are a reliable source of protein and fibrous carbs that can sustain you throughout the day. Still, kidney beans have some particular health benefits. Some of their nutrients include phosphorous, iron, potassium and protein. As an added bonus, they’re low in fat and can give you some energy without making you feel too weighed down.
This one should come as no real surprise. In recent years, kale has been widely touted as a superfood and for some good reasons. As with many other leafy greens, kale has plenty of Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Still, it also boasts manganese, copper, potassium and fiber as well. Work some of these leaves into your next salad!
14. Greek Yogurt
While it has gotten more popular in recent years, there are still plenty of people who don’t know just how delicious and nutritious Greek yogurt can be. In fact, the yogurt comes packed with probiotic bacteria, calcium and protein while staying relatively low on fat. Count in some additional B-12 and potassium and it’s not hard to see why this food makes our list.
15. Sun Dried Tomatoes
This ingredient is a little bit unusual compared to the others. Still, sun-dried tomatoes remain an indispensable part of anyone’s kitchen pantry for many reasons. In addition to the protein, healthy fat and fiber they contain, they also come packed with lycopene, a compound which can reduce the risks of all kinds of cancers.
Are you noticing a trend in these ingredients? That’s right, cabbage is another cruciferous veggie that comes fully complete with Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate and other trace minerals. Beyond that, it also has fiber, antioxidants and can fight inflammation as well.
Plenty of different nuts make appearances on this list as well and this is one of the highlights. In case you didn’t know, almonds are one of the healthier ones on that list. It includes Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If you want to include these in an easy way, spread some almond butter on your toast.
Although these aren’t as commonly used (except maybe in a fruit salad here or there), kiwis are no slouch in the nutritional department. Each one comes with plenty of Vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber and folate. To top it all off, it also can aid in healthy digestion! Maybe we should be eating these more than just in our fruit salads…
Once again, you really can’t get enough of the crunchy, green vegetables and broccoli is no exception. Maybe the most surprising thing about broccoli is that a standard serving has about 80% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C! Beyond that, though, it also delivers Vitamin K, folate, potassium, fiber, phosphorous and plenty of other health-promoting minerals.
Of course, we know that not everybody likes sardines. Still, these salty little fish have plenty of positive impact on your health if you can work them into your diet. Like many other kinds of seafood, these things come packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well as calcium, B-12, niacin, iron, magnesium and zinc. They’re also a great source of protein!
Though it might not be the most exciting breakfast food out there, there’s no denying that oatmeal is good for you. In addition to having pretty impressive levels of manganese and phosphorous, oatmeal also has plenty of antioxidant and fiber. Finally, they’re also known to have positive effects on your cholesterol levels and can help you have clear, healthy skin.
This one is a little more uncommon but it may be familiar to anyone who loves Japanese food. For those who don’t know, edamame are baby soybeans that you can snack on with salt. Aside from being a light snack, they’re also surprisingly healthy. Each serving packs plenty of protein, folate, Vitamin K, thiamine, iron and manganese. If you’re looking for something that can provide a little bit of salty crunch without the fat, edamame might be the right choice.
Artichokes are another one that we should work into our diet more often. As it turns out, these flowery-shaped vegetables have almost twice as much fiber as kale does. Beyond that, artichokes have way more protein than the average vegetable, plenty of antioxidants and prebiotics for gut health. Though you can eat them anyway you like, we always recommend a spinach and artichoke dip.
Though they’re a staple of Mexican food, we should all be making an effort to use peppers more regularly no matter what cuisine we eat the most. Besides boosting our metabolism, peppers also come with plenty of Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, folate, antioxidants and Vitamin A. Did we mention that they add some spice and deliciousness to any dish as well?
As a general rule, any brightly colored vegetable is bound to be good for you—and carrots are no exception. The beta-carotene in carrots has been said to lower the risk of cancer, while other nutrient like Vitamins A and K, the former of which is said to help improve eyesight. Other minerals include fiber, biotin, potassium and Vitamin B-6. No matter how you slice it, carrots are bound to give you a boost.
Who doesn’t love a good pickle? Though they may be an acquired taste, pickles make a great low-calorie snack with a host of other benefits as well. Each serving has plenty of fiber, antioxidants and probiotics. As more general health effects, they may help regulate your blood sugar levels and boost your digestion process as well.
Some of us may be a little afraid of the typical potato for it’s high-carb content. Still, these reliable little veggies still have some solid health benefits when prepared correctly. Potatoes have more potassium than a banana, no fat and low sodium. There’s plenty of fiber, magnesium and antioxidants, all with some Vitamin B-6 to boot! As long as you eat them in moderation and don’t smother them with butter, they can be a great part of any diet.
Let’s face it: adding onions to any dish can add a whole lot of flavor. As it turns out, they also have a whole host of additional health benefits. In addition to being great for your cardiovascular health, they also come with plenty of fiber, folic acid, potassium and antioxidants. They also can lead to better bone density, lower cholesterol and healthier digestion. Need we say more?
As with most green veggies, you can’t really go wrong with asparagus. Beyond the obvious benefits of being a natural diuretic, asparagus also has Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate and calcium. It’s also low in calories and packs plenty of antioxidants, making it healthy all the way around. Try nibbling on some asparagus spears as a snack!
Last but not least, beets are a particularly healthy food that very few people actually take advantage of. For those who don’t know, beets have an impressive amount of fiber along with Vitamin C and manganese. Looking at its broader benefits, eating them may also help lower blood pressure, prevent cancer and fight inflammation. No matter how you prepare these, you can go wrong if you’re eating beets.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. Still, many of the foods we already eat have a ton of health benefits we may not even know about. If you’re eating a diet that is packed full of colorful fruits and veggies and low on overly-processed and fatty foods, you’re probably well on your way already. What do you think of this list? Let us know in the comments!
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