What are the top healthful foods?

Here we provide details of the top 15 foods considered to be the most healthy, according to surveys and sources across the United States and Western Europe.

There are numerous diets that promote weight loss, sometimes in an unhealthy way. Fad crash dieting, for instance, is potentially dangerous.

At the same time, in America, we eat an estimated 100 acres of pizza each day. Understanding which foods are healthful and trying to include them in our diet could benefit the nation.

The most important thing to remember, is that a balanced diet is the true secret to healthful eating.

Nuts, pulses, and grains

Nuts, pulses, and grains can be highly nutritious. Here are some of the best:

Almonds

First on our list is almonds. Almonds are rich in nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin E, iron, calcium, fiber, and riboflavin. A scientific review published in Nutrition Reviews found that almonds as a food may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

The authors wrote:

“The message that almonds, in and of themselves, are a heart-healthy snack should be emphasized to consumers. Moreover, when almonds are incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet, the benefits are even greater.”

Almonds have more fiber than any other tree nut.

Brazil nut

Selection of nuts and seeds.

Nuts, pulses, and grains are in important part of a healthy diet.

Brazil nuts, (Bertholletia excels) are some of the most healthful nuts on the planet. In Brazil, they are called ‘castanhas-do-pará’ – which translates as “chestnuts from Pará.” Pará is a state in northern Brazil.

They are rich in protein and carbohydrates. They are also excellent sources of vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc.

Not only that, but they contain one of the highest amounts of selenium of any food; selenium is a vital mineral for maintaining thyroid function.

The nuts come in a hard shell and are often served prepared ready to eat, making them an excellent and nutritious, healthful snack.

Lentils

Lentils are a pulse that is used in many cuisines throughout the world; notably, South East Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.

Lentils require a long cooking time, but the seeds can be sprouted which makes them ready to eat – and a delicious, healthy snack. Adding a container of sprouted lentils to a lunchbox or picnic basket, perhaps with some chili powder or pepper for flavoring, makes for a delicious and healthy snack.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is meal made from rolled or ground oats. Interest in oatmeal has increased considerably over the last 20 years because of its health benefits.

Research found that the cereal’s soluble fiber content helps lower cholesterol levels. When these findings were published in the 1980s, an “oat bran craze” spread across the U.S. and Western Europe.

In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed that foods with high levels of rolled oats or oat bran could include data on their labels about their cardiovascular heart benefits if accompanied with a low-fat diet. This was followed by another surge in oatmeal popularity.

Oats are rich in complex carbohydrates, as well as water-soluble fiber, which slow digestion down and stabilize levels of blood-glucose. Oatmeal is rich in B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Coarse or steel-cut oats contain more fiber than instant varieties.

Wheat germ

Wheat germ is the part of wheat that germinates to grow into a plant – the embryo of the seed. Germ, along with bran, is a by-product of milling; when cereals are refined, the germ and bran are often milled out.

Wheat germ is high in several vital nutrients, such as vitamin E, folic acid (folate), thiamin, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, as well as fatty alcohols and essential fatty acids. Wheat germ is also a good source of fiber.

There is an excellent selection online with thousands of customer reviews if you want to buy almonds, Brazil nuts, lentils, oatmeal, and wheat germ.

Greens, fruits, and berries

Greens, fruits, and berries are easy to add to an existing diet:

Broccoli

A selection of fruits, leafy greens, and vegetables.

Fruits, leafy greens, and vegetables contain vital nutrients and fiber.

Broccoli is rich in fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds that reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Broccoli also contains vitamin C, as well as beta-carotene, an antioxidant.

A single 100-gram serving of broccoli can provide you with over 150 percentof the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which in large doses can potentially shorten the duration of the common cold.

Another ingredient, sulforphane, is also said to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory qualities.

However, overcooking broccoli can destroy many of its nutrients. Eating it raw, or lightly steamed is best.

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