Eating healthy is not about counting calories, but about including nutrient-dense foods in your diet.
The healthiest foods or also known as superfoods are leaders in vitamin and nutrient content .
Superfoods are not always exotic foods, some common vegetables and fruits and cereals are cheap and very rich in nutrients.
This article describes a list of the 15 healthiest foods.
What are healthy foods?
Healthy foods or superfoods, from the English super food, are natural food products that contain a large amount of antioxidants, microminerals and vitamins. Regular consumption of these foods is necessary to maintain the health and normal functioning of the body.
For example, most berries (both raw and dried) are high in antioxidant nutrients: polyphenols. These are the compounds that give the berry its intense dark red or blue color. According to studies, polyphenols help fight aging, obesity, and inflammation.
In addition, healthy foods that contain essential minerals (magnesium, iodine, iron and zinc) are necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. Its lack not only reduces the protective functions of the body, but also leads to a decrease in the production of hormones.
List of the 15 healthiest foods
To maintain a healthy metabolism, it is important to regularly consume a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
A list of healthy foods should include plants and fruits of various colors, each of which contains useful nutrients for the body.
Here is a list of the 15 healthiest foods.
Almonds are rich in nutrients such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper and vitamins E and A. Due to the content of monounsaturated fatty acids, these nuts are capable of reducing appetite , blood cholesterol levels and their consumption it is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. (1) Among other things, almonds are rich in plant proteins .
Sesame is an oil plant that contains the powerful antioxidant sesamin. This substance effectively reduces the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. In addition, sesame seeds contain a lot of fiber and various trace minerals, such as manganese, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, and iron.
3. Goji berries
All red berries including goji berries contain a wealth of natural antioxidants, vitamins, and nourishing trace minerals. 100 g of dried goji berries contain 500% of the daily value of vitamin A and 80-90% of the necessary amounts of vitamin C daily.
The dark blue color of blueberries is due to their high content of anthocyanins, a class of compounds with antioxidant effects. Anthocyanins help the body fight free radicals. In addition, other of the properties of blueberries is that they are low-carbohydrate fruits and very rich in vitamins.
Buckwheat is a pseudocereal that does not contain gluten and is very rich in minerals. Additionally, buckwheat is one of the few plant foods that provide plant protein with a complete amino acid profile.
Cocoa beans fall into the category of superfoods. This is why nutritionists recommend including dark chocolate in healthy eating plans. Cocoa is rich in essential amino acids , such as tryptophan, and nutrients such as magnesium, both of which are important for the synthesis of hormones in the body.
The Quinoa is another growing pseudocereals ie it is a seed flower with lots of essential nutrients. 100 g of dried quinoa contains 102% of the daily value of manganese, 49% of magnesium, 46% of phosphorus, 30% of copper, 25% of iron, 21% of zinc, 16% of potassium and 12% of selenium. These figures exceed those of many other cereals.
The Turmeric is a spice that has an active component – curcumin. This compound has antioxidant effects which helps reduce micro-inflammation in the body. Several studies show the positive effect of turmeric in relieving pain in osteochondrosis, as well as its ability to normalize blood sugar and cholesterol values . (2.3)
Acai is a dark berry native to Brazil. It has a unique flavor and stands out for its high content of natural antioxidants. Most of the time it is in the form of dried or frozen berry powder. Ideal for making smoothies and adding to ice creams.
10. Chia seeds
Chia seeds contain plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids, and a special type of plant fiber. Research suggests that regular consumption of chia seeds can help reduce micro-inflammation in the body, lower blood pressure, and lower bad cholesterol levels.
The spirulina is a food made from blue – green algae. Its health benefits are attributed to its ability to influence fat and carbohydrate metabolism in the body. In particular, when taken regularly, spirulina powder affects fat deposition processes in the liver and can lower blood cholesterol levels. It is also very high in vegetable proteins.
Several studies show that some benefits of ginger are to help fight inflammation in the body, reduce menstrual pain and muscle pain. Also, ginger tea can be used to treat colds. The benefits of this healthy food are explained by the content of gingerol, a molecule with mild antimicrobial and antiviral properties. (2)
Pomegranate seeds are rich in nutrients like vitamin C, as well as folate, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and manganese. They are especially beneficial for those with low blood hemoglobin levels and for balancing high sugar levels in diabetics.
Lentils are a group of plants in the legume family. They have a low glycemic index , so they are ideal as a source of complex carbohydrates . They are also healthy foods because they contain a lot of protein and fiber (approximately one third of the dry weight of cereals). Red lentils are shelled, cook faster, and are high in antioxidants.
There is a unique type of carbohydrate in oat fiber: beta-glucans. This family of polysaccharides has numerous health benefits. The consumption of 3 grams of beta-glucans per day is associated with reducing aging processes, improving the microflora and preventing serious diseases such as cancer. (3,4)
List of the 10 healthiest vegetables
Most vegetables are healthy due to their high content of fiber, minerals, phytonutrients, and the quality of their carbohydrates . One of the healthiest vegetables is broccoli, which is rich in folic acid, potassium, and calcium. Additionally, broccoli has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancer.
Among other things, broccoli contains a powerful antioxidant beta-carotene, sulforafan, as well as vitamin C and vitamin K. However, in order to preserve all the beneficial nutrients, it is recommended not to boil the broccoli in water, but to gently steam it.
List of the 10 healthiest vegetables:
- Cabbage, Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
- Onion and garlic
- Sweet potato
- Zucchini – pumpkin
The healthiest foods include green vegetables, nuts, berries, and various types of whole grains. All of these foods are rich in nutrients and their consumption is associated with several benefits for the body.
Although other examples could be considered within the list, in nutrition (nothing is black or white) making a regular variation of them is key to achieving a comprehensive healthy diet.