Are you trying to eat healthily? Good whole food can be packed with nutrients that will keep you healthy, and feeling and looking young. Here are the top 10 healthy foods* you should have in your diet.
Top 10 Healthy Foods
Wild salmon is an important source of Omega-3, and that’s why it tops our top 10 healthy foods. Omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acid. The other main polyunsaturated fatty acid in our diet is omega-6. We need to keep our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio as close to equal as possible for optimum health. Unfortunately, omega-6 is a lot easier to get than omega-3. Most foods contain a staggeringly high omega-6 ratio. That is why the average person has an omega-6 to 3 ratio as high as 30:1. Because of this poor ratio, we need to either take an omega-3 supplement or start eating foods like wild salmon that have a very high omega-3 ratio. Farm raised salmon still has more omega-3 than 6, but wild salmon has far less omega-6, making it the healthier option. Salmon is also an important source of magnesium, and potassium, which are two important minerals that work together.
Almonds are packed with antioxidants, earning it a spot in the top 10 healthy foods. They’re also a good source of calcium and vitamin E. Almond nuts and almond milk are great ways to get many essential nutrients. Most of the antioxidants are found in the brown skin that coats the nut. That means blanched almonds (almonds without the skin) are missing out on important nutrients.
Kale has been popular in Europe for centuries, but it’s been fairly recent since this incredible vegetable gained fame in North America. Kale is a great source of many vitamins and minerals. It’s a good source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, and it saturated in vitamin K1. It also has most other nutrients in small amounts. It truly is a wonder food, and that’s we it is one of our top 10 healthy foods.
Garlic is a perfect substitution for salt. Garlic contains a soothing component called allicin, which is responsible for garlic’s smell and health benefits. Garlic is tied to combating sickness including the common cold. Garlic also has benefits for your heart. It lowers your LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduces blood pressure. Garlic has also been shown to reduce your risk of cancer. The antibacterial properties block cancer causing substances, repairs DNA, and reduces cell death. Garlic is also an aphrodisiac. It boosts your sex drive and can even increase your fertility. This strong smelling plant is a tasty way to load your food with healthy flavour.
There is some controversy around garlic. Some diets, like The Bulletproof Diet, by Dave Asprey, suggest staying clear of garlic. The reasoning is because they claim garlic has neurological effects. The science is still out on if this is true, but the science has been in for centuries to all of the wonderful healing abilities of this important food. We will trust history on this one, and keep garlic on our list of top 10 healthy foods.
Liver is important, but can also be dangerous. Liver is fantastic to have in small doses but it shouldn’t be a staple in your diet. Liver has extremely high levels of vitamin A (retinol), B2, B3, B12, and iron. It also has good levels of vitamin B6, B9, and selenium. These are all good things. The trouble with liver is its high levels of copper. Copper is an important mineral to have in our diet, but we should only have it in small amounts. A 100g serving of beef liver has as high as 14.3mg of copper. We should be getting 1-2mg of copper a day with 10mg per day being the upper limit, set by Health Canada. Anything more than 10mg we run the risk of copper toxicity. Despite the high copper levels, liver is still an incredible source of many important nutrients, earning it a spot on our top 10 healthy foods.
Whole eggs are one of the most nutritious foods out there and had to be a part of our top 10 healthy foods. It makes sense considering eggs are the building blocks to create a living creature. Eggs are made up of the perfect blend of protein, which will help you lose weight and build strong muscles.
Eggs contain a large variety of nutrients and vitamins. We’ve listed them below, along with the percentage of your RDA, based on 100g (2 eggs).
- Vitamin A (19%)
- Thiamine (6%)
- Riboflavin (42%)
- Pantothenic acid (28%)
- Vitamin B6 (9%)
- Folate (11%)
- Vitamin B12 (46%)
- Choline (60%)
- Vitamin D (15%)
- Vitamin E (7%)
- Protein (26%)
- Calcium (5%)
- Iron (9%)
- Magnesium (3%)
- Phosphorus (25%)
- Sodium (8%)
- Zinc (11%)
Not all nutrients are present in large doses, but they’re still there and doing your body a lot of good.
Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. If you are looking at the nutrition label you will see a lot of zeroes. You’re probably wondering how something with no significant source of any vitamins or nutrients can be so good for you. To start off sometimes zeroes are a good thing. There are no calories or carbohydrates meaning you can drink it without worrying about gaining weight. But the true benefits of this tea come from what is left off the nutrition label.
Green tea is full of flavonoids and catechins that work wonders in your body and have a significant impact on your health. While technically being more of a drink than a food, green tea still is an awesome addition to your diet. Therefore we’ve included it in our top 10 healthy foods.
Canned chickpeas have 172μg of folate (vitamin B9) per 100g. Most of the B9 is lost in the canning process so buy dried chickpeas and cook them yourself. Raw chickpeas have 557μg per 100g. That is more than your RDA, which makes this an optimum source of this important vitamin. They are also a good source of protein, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Chickpeas have a lot of nutrients most people don’t get in their diet. Therefore we added it to our top 10 healthy foods.
Seaweed may seem like a weird food to have on a top 10 healthy foods, but this sea plant is packed with a major toxin cleanser. One of the best natural sources for iodine is from the Atlantic Ocean. While seafood will contain low levels of this mineral, the best source is going to come from seaweed plants like kelp. One problem with kelp is that the amount of iodine varies greatly. 1g of kelp can contain anywhere from 16 – 2,984 μg. Therefore kelp is a rather unreliable source of this important mineral, but it can give you more than enough, and definitely more than other foods. If you are eating kelp on a regular basis you should be okay but without regularly checking your levels you won’t know for sure. Kelp is also a good source of folate, and most minerals.
Bell peppers are such an easy way to add nutrients to your diet. You can get a good source of vitamin C, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, folate, and vitamin B6 from a tasty yellow bell pepper. Bell peppers are also our last food on our top 10 healthy foods. It might surprise you how much vitamin C is found in bell peppers (yellow and red having double the amount of a green bell pepper). A raw yellow bell pepper has 183mg of vitamin C for every 100g. They’re also free from the sugars, which makes it all the better for you. Peppers are mostly water and are a great way to stay hydrated. They work as a great snack or can be added to many recipes. Not only do they add vitamins to your meal, they also add a burst of colour.
In the words of the Greek philosopher, Hippocrates, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
*This isn’t a definitive list of the top 10 healthy foods, but it is a good guide to some of the best foods to have in your diet.