Nutrition: 15 Healthiest Foods on Earth

Nutrition: 15 Healthiest Foods on Earth

Some foods pack more nutritional punch than others, and these 10 offer the most health benefits pound for pound of all food on the planet. They not only show up on our massive list of superfoods, but they also make it onto plenty of top 10 lists across the internet, and several have long been known to provide plenty of nutrients and and goodies for the body. There are a few that you might not be familiar with, so consider this an introduction, and then you can get to know them better in the future.

1. Quinoa

Known by vegetarians for several years now, quinoa has been catching on more in the mainstream as a tasty and filling way to complement a meal, or be the foundation of a meal. Even those that follow a no wheat diet can turn to quinoa, although it doesn’t quite appeal to those that have written off grains altogether. If you’re not familiar with how to cook it you can get up to speed quickly, and it’s now readily available at most supermarkets, where once it was a bit rare.

Benefits

You’re getting a quality protein that contains all the essential amino acids, which is hard for a plant-source of protein to do. You’re also getting smart carbs that don’t register very highly on the Glycemic Index, so your body can process them without converting them to fat later. On top of that it contains lots of fiber, so you can eat this when following a weight loss plan, and it also keeps you under the limit for calories if you’re watching those.

2. Broccoli

The quintessential healthy food, broccoli has often been referenced as a good side item to add to any meal to health things up.. Steam it up to lock in the flavor, make it easier to eat, and retain as many nutrients as possible. There are only a few buying options when it comes to broccoli, you can get it fresh from the produce aisle or find it in the frozen vegetables section. Either way, opting for organic is a great idea on this one.

Benefits

The fiber in broccoli will help keep things in order, digestively speaking, and it is a good non-dairy source of calcium. The vitamin C that one serving contains is all that you need for the day, and this will help your body stave off illnesses. The vitamin K it has doesn’t get much press but is important if you want to keep your bones healthy. It’s great for your eyes and your heart, and can even help to keep cancer away.

3. Almonds

Almonds provide a go anywhere snacking option that will help you to feel full between meals, and give you the energy you need to start the day. Just make sure that when you choose your almonds you’re not getting the kind that have a lot of salt or oil added like those that are dry roasted. Go for raw almonds, and don’t overeat them because since they’re crunchy and snacky it’s easy to keep munching on them.

Benefits

Almonds are often mentioned by fitness instructors as a way to help feed your muscles, but they also have plenty of other benefits that makes them worthy of making it onto your daily menu. They help prevent heart disease, and can reduce the amount of bad cholesterol produced in the body. They are a source of healthy fat, and can help your brain function better. If you weren’t on board already, they also help to strengthen bones and teeth.

4. Beets

Beets are unique because they contain things that are good for you that are only found in beets. What you’re looking for here is the beetroot, and not necessarily the pickled beets you’ll find in jars and on Greek salads. If you’re intimidated by the thought of preparing and cooking beetroot, there are plenty of recipes online that can show you how it’s done. It’s worth the time and effort to start incorporating more beets into your diet.

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Benefits

The vitamins and minerals in beets will help put the pep back in your step, sexually speaking. You’ll also feel a general sense of having more energy. They are great for nourishing the brain as well, and can assist in lowering your blood pressure. Because of the broad amount of vitamins and minerals they contain, you can add them to smoothies to instantly up your nutrient count without adding to the calories or refined sugar intake.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes made it to the big time when they were featured on Oprah as a superfood that was flying under the radar. What’s nice about them is that they easy to cook, with lots of wiggle room for error. They also fill you up, are brimming with vitamins, and contain fiber which is essential for the proper functioning of your digestive system. They are a nice addition to any meal, and can provide instant balance since they fall somewhere between a starch and a vegetable.

Benefits

There are a wide range of benefits for sweet potatoes, but some of the highlights are that they can help to prevent a heart attack, keep your skin looking young, help you to feel relaxed, keep your immune system working well, gives you more energy, and contains antioxidants that can help reduce the amount of breakdown in your body due to free radicals. This is why they consistently make lists of superfoods and healthiest vegetables.

6. Tomatoes

It’s well known that tomatoes are good for the body, and the more research that is done on them the more they seem to rank high on the health-o-meter. There isn’t one specific reason to eat them, because they help with so many different things. They’re also a very versatile food, you can add them fresh to a salad, cook them up into a sauce, or drop them in the blender if you’re making a fruit or vegetable smoothie. Just be careful that you don’t consider eating ketchup or pizza a way to eat more tomatoes.

Benefits

The reason tomatoes get so much attention is that they help with the baddest of the baddies when it comes to health. They can help prevent cancer, and they can fight off heart disease when eaten on a regular basis. The lycopene is believed to be what’s helping to avoid cancer, and an ensemble of vitamins and minerals is responsible for helping your cardiovascular system.

7. Kale

A lot of times kale gets lumped together with spinach, but it deserves its own ranking on the list of world’s healthiest foods. While not as ubiquitous as spinach, kale is gaining ground because it is just as healthy, and even more so in some areas. You can use it the same way as spinach, as a healthy side dish. You can also add it to smoothies to make them green and to pack them with vitamins. Some people prefer the taste of kale to spinach, so an extra bonus there.

Benefits

The reason kale is becoming popular is because it helps you fill up without a lot of calories to speak of. It doesn’t have any fat, has plenty of fiber as well as iron and vitamin K. Because of its antioxidant content you’ll get anti-inflammatory benefits which helps to reduce the symptoms of inflammation, while also helping to avoid the rise of certain diseases. It also helps to restore and maintain an alkaline state.

8. Raspberries

Berries in general are a good source of antioxidants, but raspberries stand out for their impressive concentrations. This makes it a good idea to keep a pack of frozen organic raspberries that you can easily add to your smoothies for a fruity flavor and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Of course, you can always get them fresh, but it can be somewhat hard to find decent fresh organic raspberries, and to eat them before they go bad.

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Benefits

If you’re watching your weight, you can count on raspberries as a low fat, high fiber way to give you flavor without sacrificing your diet. But aside from any weight loss support they may provide, you’re going to get plenty of positive benefits from the antioxidants, which helps fight free radical damage, and keeps your body running smoothly in general. If you have arthritis there’s a particular reason to increase your consumption of raspberries, as they’ve shown to help with the inflammation causing your symptoms.

9. Black Beans

Black beans are the only bean to make it onto our list of the healthiest foods in the world. They’ve been used in Mexican and Spanish recipes for hundreds of years, and only now is it being discovered how healthy they really are. They are now a popular side dish option at most restaurants, so it’s easy enough to swap out fattening or unhealthy menu items with this super food.

Benefits

It’s commonly understood that fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but surprisingly enough black beans contain them as well. Beans, in general, are good to add to your diet, as they are a carbohydrate that is digested more slowly, so you feel fuller longer and helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. This is crucial for those that have been told they run the risk of getting diabetes, and it also helps weight loss efforts which brings a host of additional benefits. They also contain fiber which helps to regulate your digestive system.

10. Cantaloupe

Some think that cantaloupe is a negative calorie food, but whether it is or it isn’t it’s still a great addition to your regular diet. Picking a cantaloupe is easy enough, you simply give it a sniff and see if it smells like ripe cantaloupe or not, you’ll know. There’s also a relatively large window for when you use it, so you can buy it without worrying about it going bad soon. Just make sure that when you first cut it open you finish it off quickly.

Benefits

The main benefit to eating cantaloupe is all the vitamins it contains, most notably vitamins A and C. These provide powerful antioxidants that your body uses right away to help itself survive in the world we live in and all the stresses that come with it. There are also benefits to your heart and lungs, and it helps you to feel more relaxed. You should also get natural energy from it, which makes it a smarter choice than drinking an energy drink or using a caffeinated pick-me-up.

11. Artichokes

Artichokes don’t typically find their way onto many American plates, unless you count spinach artichoke dip as restaurant appetizer. But in order to keep it healthy you’ll have to eat them in their whole form. Try adding them to salads for some Mediterranean flair. They can typically be found in the deli section with things like potato salads and cole slaws. You can opt for canned or jarred varieties, but check the label to see if there is excessive sodium added to the marinade.

Benefits

Not to put too fine a point on it, but your insides simply love artichokes. It helps with all sorts of digestive issues, and the fiber it contains keep things moving for you. They also have a healthy dose of vitamin C, not enough to get you through the day, been when added to an already health-conscious diet you’ll find that it’s easier to meet all of your needs.

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12. Watermelon

Who would have thought that this summertime treat is also one of the healthier foods you can have? Watermelons are a great way to hydrate while getting in some much needed vitamins and minerals.

Benefits

Although most people enjoy eating watermelon, and have a rough idea that it’s good for them since it’s a fruit, they aren’t sure exactly what it’s doing behind the scenes, or how great it is. First, it rivals tomatoes with its levels of lycopene, a very helpful in battling two big killers: heart disease and cancer. Aside from that it’s also a good source of other vitamins that are known to help cut down on free radical damage.

13. Grapefruit

Grapefruit came into true prominence as a health food when it was included in the diet for recovering heart surgery patients. But it really does have a lot going for it, nutritionally speaking, and is worth a place in your kitchen, either as a breakfast item, or a between meals snack. The nice thing about buying them is they’re usually readily available in the produce section along with the other citrus fruits. You can also pick up some oranges, for while they didn’t make this list, they’re still a bonafide superfood.

Benefits

The high levels of vitamin C and carotenoids are what gives grapefruit its bang for the buck. The reason it’s can be such a healthy start to your day is because it’s giving your body a one up on all the free radicals that might be present, or that might be introduced as you go about your day. If you make this part of your daily routine, you can work to prevent things like cancer and other degenerative diseases because you helped your body stay fighting strong day by day.

14. Asparagus

Asparagus should make it onto your plate on a pretty regular basis. It makes a great addition to a meal, like a side to salmon or other lean meats. The best way to prepare it seems to be to steam it, which locks in the flavor, makes it easy to chew up, as well as keeps the nutrients intact. Opt for organic if you can, and find it fresh in the produce section, or frozen in the frozen vegetable aisle.

Benefits

Asparagus is a good detoxifying vegetable, and has a diuretic effect, helping to purge the body of excess water, and flush toxins. Because of all of the vitamins and minerals it packs, it provides anti-aging benefits when eaten on a regular basis. The antioxidants will help lessen free radical damage, which can help you avoid all sorts of diseases and conditions if left unchecked. It can also help you stay sharp, by providing nourishment to the brain.

15. Kelp

You might feel like a whale when you eat kelp, but you won’t grow to the size of one. In fact, since it’s pretty hard to come by in stores, most people turn to a kelp supplement to get the benefits from it. This makes it more easy to consume, since it’s not easy to buy, store, and prepare it. Whichever way you decide to add it to your diet, you’ll want to make sure that you

Benefits

Depending on who you ask there are varying benefits to kelp. Be sure that you’re getting your information from a source that isn’t trying to sell you a kelp supplement. The calcium in kelp appears to be what gets the spotlight, outdoing one of the most commonly thought of food items when it comes to calcium: milk. It also features an assortment of vitamins and minerals, and since it comes from the ocean, it’s a different makeup than land-based vegetables, with different varieties of phytonutrients.

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