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50 Of The World's Most Nutritious Foods

9 minute read


Things would be so much simpler if there was one food that had every essential nutrient, mineral, and vitamin that our bodies needed. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

What we do get is an abundant choice of foods, each known to have specific health benefits. With the right combinations every day, you get what you need and you remain healthy.

You need to be careful not to exceed daily recommendations for nutrients, because too much of a good thing can actually be bad.

Below are 50 of the top nutritional foods out there. By mixing and matching any of these you can be assured of a balanced diet and good health.

1. Sweet Potato

These deliciously sweet tubers are full of beta-carotene, which is a precursor for vitamin A. Your body requires this vitamin for healthy skin, good eye health, and healthy immune system function.

| Related: The Wondrous Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes |

2. Ginger

Used for centuries as a treatment for colds, ginger also acts as a digestive stimulant. Ginger is full of antioxidants which help to clear your body of damaging free radicals too.

3. Brussels Sprouts

This vegetable is a type of cabbage and is full of vitamin C and calcium. Vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system and calcium is necessary for bone health and muscle contractions.

4. Broccoli

The green vegetable that every kid has to clean from their plate is full of nutritional value. Apart from a host of vitamins, broccoli is packed with fiber to support your digestive health and lower your risk of colon cancer.

5. Water Chestnuts

This aquatic vegetable is rich in vitamins B6 and C as well as phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. Potassium is essential for blood pressure because it helps to keep a healthy balance of the fluids in your body.

6. Prunes

Prunes can be eaten fresh or dried and deliver antioxidants as well as anthocyanins. These beneficial compounds provide anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.

7. Carrots

Carrots are another great source of beta-carotene which converts to the essential vitamin A.

| Related: Paleo Slow-Cooked Lamb With Root Vegetables |

8. Rhubarb

A popular choice in Britain, rhubarb is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals help reduce your risk of chronic disease due to their antioxidant properties.

9. Pomegranates

Full of anthocyanins, pomegranates deliver antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers to support your overall health.

10. Fish

An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids is the reason fish needs to be on your menu. These are essential fats that we cannot produce and they support heart health, brain health, and fight inflammation.

| Related: Should You Try a Pescatarian Diet? |

11. Oranges and Tangerines

These citrus fruits give you a good dose of vitamin C to help keep your immune system in top shape.

12. Kumquats

This unusual citrus fruit provides the usual vitamin C, as well as fiber to help digestion. They also optimize insulin and glucose balance, making them beneficial fruits for diabetics.

13. Black-Eyed Peas

Sometimes called cowpeas, these legumes contain more protein than many cereal grains.

14. Cherries

Available in sweet or sour versions, cherries are full of antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index than many other fruits.

15. Summer Squash

This seasonal favorite delivers folate, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B6, and C.

16. Green Beans

Also called string beans and French beans, these veggies are full of saponins, which have the ability to lower cholesterol levels.

17. Leeks

Leeks are a close relative to the onion and provide fiber and bulk to support healthy digestion.

18. Cayenne Pepper

This perfect addition spices up any meal and restores your circulatory system by opening capillaries and regulating blood sugar levels.

19. Grapefruit

This fruit is a good source of soluble fiber, which removes cholesterol during digestion, thus supporting cardiovascular health.

20. Chili Peppers

Although spicy, these peppers contain capsaicinoid and ascorbic acid, which are important antioxidants.

21. Arugula

A great addition to a salad and full of glucosinolates, which protect you against cancer and cardiovascular disease.

22. Chives

Chives are a good source of vitamins A and K as well as antioxidant properties.

23. Paprika

This spice is rich in ascorbic acid, which is a powerful antioxidant to eliminate free radicals from your body.

24. Tomatoes

This is a low-energy food that provides vitamins A, C, and E, as well as potassium and folate. Folate is essential for cell and tissue growth.

25. Lima Beans

Also known as butter beans, these are a great source of protein and carbohydrates while being low in fat.

26. Kiwifruit

Technically a berry, kiwifruit is a good source for potassium and magnesium.

27. Taro Leaves

Make a creative salad with these leaves and benefit from a healthy dose of protein.

28. Navy Beans

The fiber found in these beans has been linked to the reduction of colon cancer.

29. Plantain

The perfect snack, thanks to its high antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-diabetic properties.

| Related: The Benefits of Different Banana Colors |

30. Podded Peas

Good things come in small packages because you get carbohydrates, protein, minerals, fiber, and water-soluble vitamins.

31. Butter Lettuce

This is a low-calorie food perfect for diets, and a good source of vitamin K, which is important in blood clotting.

32. Walnuts

Bite-sized snacks packed with linolenic acid, an important omega-3 fatty acid.

33. Spinach

Fresh or frozen, spinach is packed with vitamin A, calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, zinc, and iron.

34. Parsley

When added to your meals, parsley benefits your immune system because of its high antioxidant content.

35. Dandelion Greens

The leaves are a good source of calcium as well as vitamins A and C.

36. Apricots

Although relatively high in sugar, this fruit also contains powerful antioxidants, such as beta-carotene.

37. Watercress

Watercress grows in flowing water and is often used to treat mineral deficiency.

38. Mustard Leaves

One of the oldest spices out there, mustard leaves contain sinigrin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.

39. Kale

A delicious base for any salad, kale is full of phosphorus, iron, calcium, and several important vitamins.

| Related: Recipe: Gluten-Free Zuppa Toscana |

40. Clams

Clams are a good way to get protein without fat, as this shellfish is very lean.

41. Basil

A sweet but slightly spicy herb that is an antifungal and antibacterial agent as well as good for your heart.

42. Scallops

This shellfish is high in protein, essential fatty acids, potassium, and low in fat.

43. Collards

Collards are a form of cabbage that are high in nutrients and low in calories.

44. Green Onion

Also known as spring onions, these are one of our richest sources of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and bone health.

45. Celery Flakes

Dried, flaked celery is an important source for vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

46. Pork Fat

It may not sound appetizing, but pork fat is full of B vitamins and is a healthier fat than lamb or beef fat. As an unsaturated fat, it can help reduce high cholesterol levels.

47. Pumpkin Seeds

This small snack is one of the best plant-based sources of iron and manganese.

48. Chia Seeds

For such a tiny seed, these are packed with fiber, protein, phenolic acid, and several important vitamins.

49. Red Cabbage

This is a wild ancestor to regular cabbage and is full of essential vitamins.

50. Almonds

This nut is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids which promote cardiovascular health and may even help control diabetes.

The Bottom Line

The key to good health is balance. The right exercises and the right lifestyle choices can keep you in great shape and promote longevity.

That said, the best place to start a healthy lifestyle is with your diet. Since you are what you eat, you should eat healthy and eat balanced.

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