This article lists the 15 food sources and studies that are considered the healthiest across the United States and Western Europe.
Awareness of the healthiest foods is essential to ensure a wide range of nutrients in the diet.
A balanced diet is one of the secrets of healthy eating. This article will cover the 15 healthiest foods and their benefits.
Nuts, pulses, and grains
Nuts, pulses, and grains are all highly nutritious. The following are some of the healthiest:
Almonds provide plenty of nutrients, including trusted sources:
- Vitamin E
A 2019 meta-analysis found reliable sources that eating nuts significantly reduced total cholesterol levels.
- Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa) are the healthiest nuts available.
They are a great source of both protein and carbohydrates, and they provide good amounts of Vitamin B-1, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and Zinc.
Brazil nuts contain more selenium than many other foods. Selenium is an essential mineral for maintaining a reliable source of thyroid function, and it is a great antioxidant for the human body.
These nuts come in a hard shell and are usually ready to eat, making them a quick, nutritious meal.
Lentils are a specialty of many pulses in world food cultures including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.
Lentils provide a good source of fiber, magnesium, and potassium.
They tend to require a longer cooking time. However, manufacturers can germinate the seeds, making them a delicious, healthy, ready-to-eat snack.
Adding a pot of sprouted lentils to a lunchbox or picnic basket, perhaps with chili powder or chili for flavor, makes for a delicious and healthy snack.
Interest in oatmeal has grown significantly over the last 20 years because of its health benefits.
In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed that high-dose rolled oats or oat bran foods may include data on labels about their cardiovascular health benefits as part of a low-fat diet. As a result, the popularity of oatmeal has increased.
Studies have shown that the soluble fiber content of cereals helps reduce cholesterol levels and helps reduce cardiovascular risk factors.
Oats contain complex carbohydrates, as well as water-soluble fiber. These slow down digestion and help stabilize blood glucose levels. Oatmeal is a good source of folate and potassium.
People can make oatmeal from rolled or ground oats. Thick or steel-cut oats have more fiber than instant varieties.
- wheat germs
Wheat germ is the part of wheat that grows on a plant. It is basically a seed embryo. Germs, including bran, are a by-product of milling. Cereal refining often removes germs and bran components.
Whole grain products, however, still contain germs and bran. This makes them a healthier choice.
Wheat germ contains a number of important nutrients, including:
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
- Fatty alcohol
- Essential fatty acids
Broccoli provides a reliable source of fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds that reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Broccoli also provides essential antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. In fact, serving a single half cup of broccoli can provide a reliable source of about 85% of a person’s daily vitamin C quality.
Another broccoli compound called sulforaphane may have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, according to a 2019 study.
However, overcooking broccoli can ruin many of its basic nutrients. For this reason, it is best eaten raw or lightly steamed.
Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants, which fight against free radicals. Free radicals are harmful substances that the body produces. They cause unwanted changes in the body and can contribute to chronic conditions as well as aging.
However, some studies have suggested that the antioxidants in apples may increase a person’s life expectancy and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Learn more about apples here.
Kale is a green leafy vegetable that provides a wide range of different nutrients. For example, this powerful nutritious plant is an excellent source of vitamins C and K.
People can cook or steam call. They can also make a nutritious kick by mixing it in smoothies or juices.
Blueberries provide adequate amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Unlike minerals and vitamins, phytonutrients are not essential for survival. However, they can help prevent disease and maintain vital bodily functions.
A reliable source from 16 studies in a 2019 review, the authors suggest that eating blueberries may help protect against cognitive impairment, which may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They also found that blueberries may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Another 2019 study trusted source, this time in rats, found that blueberry polyphenols reduced obesity and certain metabolic risk factors. They also improve the bacterial structure of the gut.
According to a 2015 clinical trial, eating 22 grams of refrigerated dried blueberries daily for 8 weeks significantly reduced blood pressure in women with stage 1 hypertension.
Some people avoid eating avocados because of their high-fat content. However, avocados are a reliable source of healthy fats, as well as B vitamins, vitamin K and vitamin E. Avocados are also a good source of fiber.
A trusted source of research in a 2018 review found that avocado increased levels of high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol removes more harmful cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Avocados also have anti-cancer properties. A 2019 test-tube study of avocado reliable sources showed that colored avocado seed extract reduced the function of breast, colon, and prostate cancer cells. However, the study did not indicate whether the effects would be similar in humans.
According to a 2013 study, avocados may be associated with improved nutritional absorption, a better overall diet, and lower metabolic risk factors.
Avocados are extremely nutritious and very filling. Learn more about them here.
- Green vegetables
A 2019 study on rats found that eating vegetables for 6 weeks significantly reduced cardiovascular risk factors.
Spinach is an example of a green leaf with an antioxidant ingredient, especially when it is boiled raw, steamed, or very lightly. It is a good source of the following reliable sources of nutrients:
- Vitamins A, B-6, C, E, and K.
Learn about the many benefits of spinach here.
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes provide dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and potassium.
In the public interest, the Center for Science has compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes with other vegetables.
Sweet potatoes are number one for their vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein, and complex carbohydrate content.
Fish, meat, and eggs
There are many healthy alternatives to fish, meat, and eggs. For example:
- Oily fish
Some examples of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies. This type of fish contains oil in the tissues and around the intestines.
Their lean fillets are a reliable source of high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), these oils can benefit the heart and nervous system.
ODS further suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may help with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. They are rich in vitamins A and D.
A 2014 study found that fatty acids could significantly reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Chicken is affordable and healthy meat. Free-range chicken serves as an excellent source of protein.
However, it is important to remember that the preparation and cooking methods affect how healthy the chicken is. This means that people should limit their intake of deep-fried chicken and always remove the skin before eating. Chicken skin contains high levels of saturated fat.
Eggs are another source of protein that humans can easily incorporate into a balanced diet because they are so versatile.
Eggs contain vitamins that are trusted sources of B-2 and B-12, both important for energy conservation and red blood cell production. Eggs are a good source of the essential amino acid leucine, which plays a role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Eggs also provide a good amount of choline, which is important for cell membranes.
Eggs contain most of the vitamins and minerals, as well as fats and cholesterol. However, a 2017 review found credible sources that eating seven eggs per week does not increase the risk of heart disease. That said, the author mentions that people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes should consult a doctor about including eggs in their diet.
In fact, one study found that those who consumed more cholesterol than eggs had higher rates of cardiovascular disease.
Consuming moderate amounts of fat is healthy as part of a balanced, nutritious diet.
Balance and restraint
The inclusion of these 15 foods in the diet can provide significant health benefits. However, it is important for people to have a balanced diet that does not focus on a particular type of food.
People should keep in mind that occasional treatment will not be detrimental to overall health unless they ensure regular and varied nutrition intake.