There are probably a countless amount of foods you’ve heard condemned, but there’s probably an equal amount of foods you’ve heard praised by nutritionists everywhere. Which are truly the top ten healthiest foods?
To better tackle this question, we checked out World’s Healthiest Foods (WHF) list of—you guessed it—the world’s healthiest foods. The list features 100 foods that WHF viewed to be the most nutrient-dense. They organized them into categories, and we chose one food from each category to provide you the list of top ten healthiest foods!
Top Ten Healthiest Foods
1. Vegetables: Kale
In the category of vegetables, we chose kale. Kale has been given a perfect 1000 on the Whole Food’s Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (for context, spinach only clocked in at 739). It’s packed with nutrients (one cup contains over 100% of your daily value of vitamins A, C, and K!). Plus, kale can keep you optimistic, prevent cancer, and can even lower your risk of diabetes.
2. Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes
Okay, so we picked two vegetables. After all, you can’t get enough veggies! Sweet potatoes are next on our list of the top ten healthiest foods. Sweet potatoes contain a whopping 400% of your daily requirement of vitamin A. Plus, compared to white potatoes, they have more vitamin C and fiber with fewer calories and carbs. Delicious and nutritious.
3. Fruits: Lemons
You really think I’m just going to sit at my kitchen table and snack on a lemon?
No. We are in no way recommending that. Please don’t. Ever.
However, fresh lemon juice is something you can use while cooking, making salad dressing, or, of course, making lemonade. Not only can it add delicious flavor, but according to the USDA, one lemon can contain up to 74% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C, which can strengthen your immune system and act as an antioxidant to protect your body from free radicals from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and UV sunlight. So no, don’t eat a fresh lemon, but make yourself some fresh lemonade!
4. Seafood: Salmon
Most seafood is pretty great, but on our list of top ten healthiest foods, we choose salmon. According to the USDA, one serving of salmon contains 65% of your DV of vitamin B-6 and 106% of your DV of vitamin B-12. It’s also a great source of protein at a whopping 40 grams per serving.
The Omega-3 fatty acids present in salmon can help lower “bad” cholesterol. Plus, studies show that the fish oil from salmon can improve your memory.
Related: 6 Foods with Healthy Fats
5. Nuts & Seeds: Pumpkin Seeds
Next time you’re carving a pumpkin, don’t throw away the seeds! Cook ‘em up and eat ‘em, because pumpkin seeds are super healthy. The USDA lists one cup of pumpkin seeds as having almost half your DV of fiber, 42% of your DV of magnesium, and 12 grams of protein. Plus, they’re super high in antioxidants, which, as we mentioned earlier, are pretty important.
6. Eggs & Dairy: Yogurt
WHF doesn’t specify on their list, but for our list of top ten healthiest foods, we’re going to say nonfat Greek yogurt in particular. All yogurts can give you a solid amount of nutrients. However, Greek yogurt beats out its regular competition.
According to Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietician and author of The Flexitarian Diet, “For someone who wants the creamier texture, a little bit of protein edge, and a sugar decrease, going Greek is definitely not all hype.”
7. Grains: Quinoa
Man, we at Inspiyr just can’t get enough of quinoa, and neither can anyone else. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared 2012 as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” Not only is it gluten free, but it’s a great source of protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fiber (the last of which can keep you full so you won’t overeat) while being low-calorie and low-carb.
Related: Quinoa Nutrition Facts
8. Herbs & Spices: Cinnamon
Don’t overlook cinnamon in your spice cabinet, as it has some amazing benefits. Studies have shown that cinnamon is good for the brain in that it can protect you from Alzheimer’s and help improve your memory. Cinnamon can also lower blood sugar levels and even help control type 2 diabetes.
9. Beans & Legumes: Garbanzo Beans
Next up on our list of top ten healthiest foods is the lovely Garbanzo bean, also known as the chickpea. According to the USDA, half a cup of chickpeas will give you 68% of your DV of fiber, 28% of magnesium, 25% of vitamin B-6, 34% of iron, 25% of potassium and 38% of protein.
That’s a lot of nutrients. The best part: you can make hummus out of chickpeas. Who doesn’t like hummus?
10. Poultry & Meats: Turkey
‘Round Thanksgiving, don’t feel bad about eating that turkey. Turkey is a lean meat at only 153 calories per serving, but it also contains high amounts of tryptophan, protein, selenium (which can prevent cancer), vitamins B3 and B6, and other important nutrients your body needs!
Related: 8 Things Healthy People Do
There are plenty of healthy and nutritious foods out there, but which are the best? If you ask us, the top ten healthiest foods are kale, sweet potatoes, lemons, salmon, pumpkin seeds, Greek yogurt, quinoa, cinnamon, chickpeas, and turkey. Fill up your kitchen with these nutrient-dense foods, and your body will thank you.
Sammy Nickalls is the Content Manager at Inspiyr.com. She is an avid health nut and a lover of all things avocado.
Photo by whatniccieate