According to surveys and sources across the United States and Western Europe, there are 14 foods considered to be the most healthy. The most important thing to remember, is that a balanced diet is the true secret to healthful eating.
First on the list is almonds. Almonds are rich in nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin E, iron, calcium, fiber, and riboflavin. They may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and they have more fiber than any other tree nut.
Brazil nuts are some of the most healthful nuts on the planet. They are rich in protein and carbohydrates. They are also excellent sources of vitamin B-1, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. They contain one of the highest amounts of selenium of any food, which is a vital mineral for maintaining thyroid function.
Oats are rich in complex carbohydrates, as well as water-soluble fiber, which slow digestion down and stabilize levels of blood-glucose. Oatmeal is rich in B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium.
Wheat germ is the part of wheat that germinates to grow into a plant - the embryo of the seed. Germ, along with bran, is a by-product of milling; when cereals are refined, the germ and bran are often milled out.
Wheat germ is high in several vital nutrients, such as vitamin E, folic acid (folate), thiamin, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, as well as fatty alcohols and essential fatty acids. Wheat germ is also a good source of fiber.
Broccoli is rich in fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds that reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Broccoli also contains vitamin C, as well as beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant.
A single 100-gram serving of broccoli can provide you with over 150 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which in large doses can potentially shorten the duration of the common cold.
Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants, which combat free radicals and they are considered a "miracle fruit." Free radicals are damaging substances generated in the body that cause undesirable changes. They are involved in the aging process and some diseases.
Kale is a very underrated leafy green. Vitamin C is a nutrient of kale, and, according to the United States Department of Medicine (USDA), it contains a substantial amount of vitamin K, 817 micrograms or 778 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Blueberries are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Unlike minerals and vitamins, phytonutrients are not essential for keeping us alive. However, they may help prevent disease and keep the body working properly.
According to a study carried out at Harvard Medical School, older adults who eat plenty of blueberries (and strawberries) are less likely to suffer from cognitive decline, compared with other people of their age who do not.
Many people avoid avocados because of their high fat content; they believe that avoiding all fats leads to better health and easier-to-control body weight - this is a myth. Avocados are rich in healthy fats, as well as B vitamins, vitamin K, and vitamin E and have a very high fiber content. Studies have shown that regular avocado consumption lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Studies have shown that a high intake of dark-leafy vegetables, such as spinach or cabbage, may significantly lower a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Spinach, for example, is very rich in antioxidants, especially when uncooked, steamed, or very lightly boiled. It is a good source of vitamins A, B-6, C, E, and K, as well as selenium, niacin, zinc, phosphorus, copper, folic acid, potassium, calcium, manganese, betaine, and iron.
Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, beta-carotene (vitamin A), potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. The sweet potato ranked number one, when vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein, and complex carbohydrates were considered.
Examples of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies.
Their lean fillets contain up to 30 percent oil, specifically, omega-3 fatty acids. These oils are known to provide benefits for the heart, as well as the nervous system.
Oily fish provide benefits for patients with inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. They are also rich in vitamins A and D.
Chicken is a cheap and healthy meat. Free-range chicken provides an excellent source of protein.
As a white meat, chicken can be consumed much more freely than other red meats such as beef, which can have a more damaging long-term impact on overall health.
It is important to remember that the preparation and cooking of chicken has an impact on how healthy it is. This means deep-fried chicken should be limited or avoided. It's also important to remove the skin, as this part of the chicken contains high levels of fat.
Eggs are another source of protein that can easily be incorporated into a balanced diet. Being very versatile, they can be added to many meals - not just breakfast.
They contain other vitamins, including vitamin B-2, also known as riboflavin, and vitamin B-12, both of which are important for energy and red blood cells. It is also a good source of the essential amino acid leucine, which is important for stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
The yolk of the egg contains the majority of the vitamins and minerals. It also contains the fat and cholesterol, however, research has shown that eggs do not increase the risk for heart disease. Consuming fat in moderate amounts is perfectly healthful.
Overall it is important for health to have a balanced diet and one that does not focus on one specific type of food.
It's also important to remember that a treat once in a while can be a part of a balanced diet, and one that is very healthful overall.