Most Nutritious Foods of the World

Our everyday food choices impact our health, which can lead to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes as well as other issues such as low bone density and muscle loss as we age. A nutritious diet helps to alleviate such problems.

A healthy diet can include a variety of foods that are packed with a lot of vitamins, minerals, fat, and proteins while minimizing added sugars, fats, and salts. Consuming foods rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases.

No single food — not even a superfood — can offer all the nutrition, health benefits, and energy we need to nourish ourselves. The 2015–2020 US Dietary Guidelines recommend healthy eating patterns, “combining healthy choices from across all food groups — while paying attention to calorie limits.”

Over the years, research has shown that healthy dietary patterns can reduce risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Dietary patterns such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet, which are mostly plant-based, have demonstrated significant health benefits and reduction of chronic disease.

Harvard Health Publishing

Lisa Young writes in US News that there isn’t a single food with miraculous health benefits. Instead of chasing after the latest “superfood” trend, “it’s best to focus on eating a variety of healthy foods and creating a ‘super diet‘.”

Based on information from BBC Health News, a study evaluated the nutritional value of over 1,000 foods, assigning each a score, indicating how likely a food will meet your daily nutritional requirements as part of a balanced diet.

Here is a list of recommended “superfoods” for healthy lifestyle.

Healthy FoodsMayoBBCHarvard HealthUS News
3BeansChea SeedsLeafy greensPistachios
4BlueberriesPumpkin SeedsNutsGreek yogurt
5BroccoliSwiss ChardOlive oilBok choy
6SalmonBeet GreensWhole grainsChickpeas
7SpinachDried ParsleyYogurtSalmon
8Sweet potatoesCelery FlakesCruciferous vegetablesOlive oil
9Vegetable juiceWatercressLegumesCarrots
10Wheat germsGreen PeasTomatoesBuckwheat

Here is a brief description of the “superfoods” listed in the Harvard Health:

  • Berries. “High in fiber, berries are naturally sweet, and their rich colors mean they are high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients.
  • Fish. “Fish can be a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
  • Leafy greens. “Dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals. They also add fiber into the diet.
  • Nuts. “Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans — nuts are a good source of plant protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Olive oil. “Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids, all which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Whole grains. “A good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, whole grains also contain several B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They have been shown to lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease and diabetes.
  • Yogurt. “A good source of calcium and protein, yogurt also contains live cultures called probiotics. These “good bacteria” can protect the body from other, more harmful bacteria.
  • Cruciferous vegetables. “These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, and turnips. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals including indoles, thiocyanates, and nitriles, which may prevent against some types of cancer.
  • Legumes. “This broad category includes kidney, black, red, and garbanzo beans, as well as soybeans and peas. Legumes are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and plant-based protein. Studies show they can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Tomatoes. “These are high in vitamin C and lycopene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The following resource links provide more detailed explanations of the foods listed on the above table.

Related Resource Links