From cancer-fighting antioxidants to heart-healthy fats, here are the 10 healthiest foods in the world. Most of them are surprisingly delicious.
Despite their fat, or actually because of it, nutritious foods like avocados can help lower your cholesterol naturally. Researchers find that replacing just five percent of your calories from saturated fat (think butter or cheese) with monounsaturated fat — the kind in avocados — could slash the risk of heart attack by more than a third. Not only are they creamy and tasty but also high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed full of beta-carotene, which your body can convert to vitamin A and use to protect against diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as chronic conditions caused by inflammation in the body, like rheumatoid arthritis. The beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes can also help to manage and stabilize blood sugar levels.
The fat in salmon is like liquid gold when it comes to your blood vessels. Just two servings of salmon a week can reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 17 percent and your risk of having a heart attack by 27 percent. And the benefits appear to go beyond the heart.
Oranges are well known for their vitamin C content. They’re high in fiber and antioxidants. so eating lots of oranges could help keep your skin looking smooth and supple, too. In addition to their high vitamin C content, oranges also have other good stuff like folate, potassium, and vitamin B1.
In addition to protecting your eyes from age-related macular degeneration, thanks to its carotenoids, spinach has high concentrations of vitamin K, which can help maintain bone density and prevent fractures. It’s loaded with iron, folate, beta carotene, lutein, various antioxidant compounds, and has about double the fiber of most other leafy greens.
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They were previously demonized for being high in cholesterol but new studies show that they’re perfectly safe and healthy. Additionally, eggs are one of the best food sources of the B-complex vitamin choline, which is thought to reduce inflammation in the body and improve neurological development and function.
Yogurt is a great source of bone-building calcium, but its real strength lies in live beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, that keep down the growth of harmful bacteria in your gut. Too many “bad” bacteria can lead to gastrointestinal and other health problems. Eating more yogurt could help with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections, to name a few conditions.
Mushrooms are full of nutritional benefits and can make a great stand-in for meat in vegetarian dishes because of their complex, savory flavor and firm texture. Additionally, mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D (a nutrient many of us are deficient in) and one of the only types of widely available produce that contain significant amounts of selenium.
Quinoa is technically a seed, but it cooks and tastes like a grain. It’s ideal for salads—warm or cold—and can be used in soups, as a pilaf-like side dish, or formed into patties to make homemade veggie burgers. And because it’s a complete protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids), it’s an excellent ingredient to use in vegetarian dishes.
This ubiquitous green vegetable has a secret: Though oranges are a go-to for a healthy dose of vitamin C, a serving of broccoli has nearly a whole day’s required amount of the vitamin, about 80 percent. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, which the body needs for normal blood clotting and for developing strong, healthy bones and cells, as well as calcium and potassium.