By Kris Gunnars, BSc
It's easy to wonder which foods are healthiest.
A vast number of foods are both healthy and tasty. By filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, quality protein and other whole foods, you'll have meals that are colorful, versatile and good for you.
Here are 50 incredibly healthy foods. Most of them are surprisingly delicious.
1–6: Fruits and Berries
Fruits and berries are among the world's most popular health foods.
These sweet, nutritious foods are very easy to incorporate into your diet because they require little to no preparation.
Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and numerous antioxidants. They are very filling and make the perfect snack if you find yourself hungry between meals.
Avocados are different than most fruits because they are loaded with healthy fats instead of carbs. Not only are they creamy and tasty but also high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
Bananas are among the world's best sources of potassium. They're also high in vitamin B6 and fiber, as well as convenient and portable.
Blueberries are not only delicious but also among the most powerful sources of antioxidants in the world.
Oranges are well known for their vitamin C content. What's more, they're high in fiber and antioxidants.
Strawberries are highly nutritious and low in both carbs and calories.
They are loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and manganese and are arguably among the most delicious foods in existence.
Other Healthy Fruits
Other health fruits and berries include cherries, grapes, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, mango, melons, olives, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, and raspberries.
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.
Unprocessed, gently cooked meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.
8. Lean Beef
9. Chicken Breasts
Chicken breast is low in fat and calories but extremely high in protein. It's a great source of many nutrients. Again, feel free to eat fattier cuts of chicken if you're not eating that many carbs.
Lambs are usually grass-fed, and their meat tends to be high in omega-3 fatty acids.
11–16: Nuts and Seeds
These foods are crunchy, filling, and loaded with important nutrients that many people don't get enough of, including magnesium and vitamin E.
They also require almost no preparation, so they're easy to add to your routine.
12. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. A single ounce (28 grams) packs 11 grams of fiber and significant amounts of magnesium, manganese, calcium, and various other nutrients.
Coconuts are loaded with fiber and powerful fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
14. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are very tasty. They're much higher in monounsaturated fats and lower in omega-6 fatty acids than most other nuts.
Walnuts are highly nutritious and loaded with fiber and various vitamins and minerals.
However, take it easy on the peanut butter, as it's very high in calories and easy to overeat.
Calorie for calorie, vegetables are among the world's most concentrated sources of nutrients.
There's a wide variety available, and it's best to eat many different types every day.
Asparagus is a popular vegetable. It's low in both carbs and calories but loaded with vitamin K.
18. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers come in several colors, including red, yellow, and green. They're crunchy and sweet, as well as a great source of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that tastes great both raw and cooked. It's an excellent source of fiber and vitamins C and K and contains a decent amount of protein compared with other vegetables.
Carrots are a popular root vegetable. They are extremely crunchy and loaded with nutrients like fiber and vitamin K.
Carrots are also very high in carotene antioxidants, which have numerous benefits.
Cauliflower is a very versatile cruciferous vegetable. It can be used to make a multitude of healthy dishes — and also tastes good on its own.
Cucumbers are one of the world's most popular vegetables. They're very low in both carbs and calories, consisting mostly of water. However, they contain a number of nutrients in small amounts, including vitamin K.
Kale has become increasingly popular because it's incredibly high in fiber, vitamins C and K, and a number of other nutrients. It adds a satisfying crunch to salads and other dishes.
Onions have a very strong flavor and are very popular in many recipes. They contain a number of bioactive compounds believed to have health benefits.
Tomatoes are usually categorized as a vegetable, although they are technically a fruit. They are tasty and loaded with nutrients like potassium and vitamin C.
More Healthy Vegetables
Most vegetables are very healthy. Others worth mentioning include artichokes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, eggplant, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, squash, Swiss chard, turnips, and zucchini.
27–32: Fish and Seafood
Fish and other seafood tend to be very healthy and nutritious.
They're especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids and iodine, two nutrients in which most people are deficient.
Studies show that people who eat the highest amounts of seafood — especially fish — tend to live longer and have a lower risk of many illnesses, including heart disease, dementia, and depression ( 9Trusted Source, 10, 11).
Salmon is a type of oily fish that's incredibly popular due to its excellent taste and high amount of nutrients, including protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains some vitamin D.
Sardines are small, oily fish that are among the most nutritious foods you can eat. They boast sizable amounts of most nutrients that your body needs.
Shellfish ranks similarly to organ meats when it comes to nutrient density. Edible shellfishinclude clams, mollusks, and oysters.
Shrimp is a type of crustacean related to crabs and lobsters. It tends to be low in fat and calories but high in protein. It's also loaded with various other nutrients, including selenium and vitamin B12.
Trout is another type of delicious freshwater fish, similar to salmon.
Tuna is very popular in Western countries and tends to be low in fat and calories while high in protein. It's perfect for people who need to add more protein to their diets but keep calories low.
However, you should make sure to buy low-mercury varieties.
Although grains have gotten a bad rap in recent years, some types are very healthy.
Just keep in mind that they're relatively high in carbs, so they're not recommended for a low-carb diet.
33. Brown Rice
Rice is one of the most popular cereal grains and is currently a staple food for more than half of the world's population. Brown rice is fairly nutritious, with a decent amount of fiber, vitamin B1, and magnesium.
Oats are incredibly healthy. They are loaded with nutrients and powerful fibers called beta glucans, which provide numerous benefits.
Quinoa has become incredibly popular among health-conscious individuals in recent years. It's a tasty grain that's high in nutrients, such as fiber and magnesium. It is also an excellent source of plant-based protein.
Many people eat a lot of highly processed white bread.
For those trying to adopt a healthier diet, it can be extremely challenging to find healthy breads. Even so, options are available.
36. Ezekiel Bread
Ezekiel bread may be the healthiest bread you can buy. It's made from organic, sprouted whole grains, as well as several legumes.
37. Homemade Low-Carb Breads
Overall, the best choice for bread may be that which you can make yourself. Here's a list of 15 recipes for gluten-free, low-carb breads.
Legumes are another food group that has been unfairly demonized.
While it's true that legumes contain antinutrients, which can interfere with digestion and absorption of nutrients, they can be eliminated by soaking and proper preparation (12).
Therefore, legumes are a great plant-based source of protein.
38. Green Beans
Green beans, also called string beans, are unripe varieties of the common bean. They are very popular in Western countries.
39. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are loaded with fiber and various vitamins and minerals. Make sure to cook them properly, as they're toxic when raw.
Lentils are another popular legume. They're high in fiber and among the best sources of plant-based protein.
For those who can tolerate them, dairy products are a healthy source of various important nutrients.
If the dairy comes from grass-fed cows, it may be even more nutritious — as it's higher in some bioactive fatty acids like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vitamin K2.
Cheese is incredibly nutritious, as a single slice may offer about the same amount of nutrients as an entire cup (240 ml) of milk. For many, it's also one of the most delicious foods you can eat.
42. Whole Milk
Whole milk is very high in vitamins, minerals, quality animal protein, and healthy fats. What's more, it's one of the best dietary sources of calcium.
Yogurt is made from milk that's fermented by adding live bacteria to it. It has many of the same health effects as milk, but yogurt with live cultures has the added benefit of friendly probiotic bacteria.
44–46: Fats and Oils
Many fats and oils are now marketed as health foods, including several sources of saturated fat that were previously demonized.
44. Butter From Grass-Fed Cows
Butter from grass-fed cows is high in many important nutrients, including vitamin K2.
45. Coconut Oil
46. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest vegetable oils you can find. It contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and is very high in antioxidants with powerful health benefits.
Tubers are the storage organs of some plants. They tend to contain a number of beneficial nutrients.
Potatoes are loaded with potassium and contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need, including vitamin C.
They'll also keep you full for long periods. One study analyzed 38 foods and found that boiled potatoes were by far the most filling (17Trusted Source).
48. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are among the most delicious starchy foods you can eat. They're loaded with antioxidants and all sorts of healthy nutrients.
49. Apple Cider Vinegar
It's great to use as a salad dressing or to add flavor to meals.
50. Dark Chocolate
The Bottom Line
Whether you want to overhaul your diet or simply change up your meals, it's easy to add a number of these foods to your routine.
Many of the foods above not only make a great snack but are also packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Some of them may even aid weight loss.
If you don't normally challenge your palate, don't be afraid of trying something new.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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Kevin T. Smiley
When hurricanes and other extreme storms unleash downpours like Tropical Storm Beta has been doing in the South, the floodwater doesn't always stay within the government's flood risk zones.
New research suggests that nearly twice as many properties are at risk from a 100-year flood today than the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood maps indicate.
Flooding Outside the Zones<p>About <a href="https://furmancenter.org/files/Floodplain_PopulationBrief_12DEC2017.pdf" target="_blank">15 million</a> Americans live in FEMA's current 100-year flood zones. The designation warns them that their properties face a 1% risk of flooding in any given year. They must obtain flood insurance if they want a federally ensured loan – insurance that helps them recover from flooding.</p><p>In Greater Houston, however, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01840.x" target="_blank">47% of claims</a> made to FEMA across three decades before Hurricane Harvey were outside of the 100-year flood zones. Harris County, recognizing that FEMA flood maps don't capture the full risk, now <a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/floodinsurance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends that every household</a> in Houston and the rest of the county have flood insurance.</p><p>New risk models point to a similar conclusion: Flood risk in these areas outstrips expectations in the current FEMA flood maps.</p><p>One of those models, from the <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/2020-national-flood-risk-assessment-highlights/" target="_blank">First Street Foundation</a>, estimates that the number of properties at risk in a 100-year storm is 1.7 times higher than the FEMA maps suggest. Other <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaac65" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">researchers</a> find an even higher margin, with 2.6 to 3.1 times more people exposed to serious flooding in a 100-year storm than FEMA estimates.</p>
What FEMA’s Flood Maps Miss<p>Understanding why areas outside the 100-year flood zones are flooding more often than the FEMA maps suggest involves larger social and environmental issues. Three reasons stand out.</p><p>First, some places rely on relatively old FEMA maps that don't account for recent urbanization.</p><p>Urbanization matters because impervious surfaces – think pavement and buildings – are not effective sponges like natural landscapes can be. Moreover, the process for updating floodplain maps is locally variable and can take years to complete. Famously, New York City was updating its maps when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 but hadn't finished, meaning flood maps in effect <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nyc-flood/" target="_blank">were from 1983</a>. FEMA is required to assess whether updates are needed every five years, but the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/cis/nation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">majority of maps</a> <a href="https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2017/OIG-17-110-Sep17.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are older</a>.</p><p>Second, binary thinking can lead people to an underaccounting of risk, and that can mean communities fail to take steps that could protect a neighborhood from flooding. The logic goes: if I'm not in the 100-year floodplain, then I'm not at risk. Risk perception <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab195a" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research</a> backs this up. FEMA-delineated flood zones are the major factor shaping flood mitigation behaviors.</p><p>Third, the era of climate change scuttles conventional assumptions.</p><p>As the planet warms, extreme storms are becoming <a href="https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/" target="_blank">more common and severe</a>. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at a high rate, computer models suggest that the chances of a severe storm dropping 20 inches of rain on Texas in any given year will increase from about 1% at the end of the last century to 18% at the end of this one, a chance of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716222114" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">once every 5.5 years</a>. So far, <a href="https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/195.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">FEMA hasn't taken into account the impact climate change is having</a> on extreme weather and sea level rise.</p>
Racial Disparities in Flooding Outside the Zones<p>So, who is at risk?</p><p>Years of research and evidence from storms have highlighted social inequalities in areas with a high risk of flooding. But most local governments have less understanding of the social and demographic composition of communities that experience flood impacts outside of flood zones.</p><p>In analyzing the damage from Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, I found that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aba0fe" target="_blank">Black and Hispanic residents disproportionately experienced flooding</a> in areas beyond FEMA's 100-year flood zones.</p><p>With the majority of flooding from Hurricane Harvey occurring outside of 100-year flood zones, this meant that the overall impact of Harvey was racially unequal too.</p><p>Research into where flooding occurs in Baltimore, Chicago and Phoenix points to some of the potential causes. <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/25381/chapter/4#16" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In Baltimore and Chicago</a>, for example, aging storm and sewer infrastructure, poor construction and insufficient efforts to mitigate flooding are part of the flooding problem in some predominantly Black neighborhoods.</p>
What Can Be Done About It<p>Better accounting for those three reasons could substantively improve risk assessments and help cities prioritize infrastructure improvements and flood mitigation projects in these at-risk neighborhoods.</p><p>For example, First Street Foundation's risk maps account for <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/flood-model-methodology_overview/" target="_blank">climate change</a> and present <a href="https://floodfactor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ratings</a> on a scale from 1 to 10. FEMA, which works with communities to update flood maps, is <a href="https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1521054297905-ca85d066dddb84c975b165db653c9049/TMAC_2017_Annual_Report_Final508(v8)_03-12-2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">exploring rating systems</a>. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently <a href="https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2019/03/new-report-calls-for-different-approaches-to-predict-and-understand-urban-flooding" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">called for a new generation of flood maps</a> that takes climate change into account.</p><p>Including recent urbanization in those assessments will matter too, especially in fast-growing cities like Houston, where <a href="https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1boBRyDvMFW6W" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">386 new square miles</a> of impervious surfaces were created in the last 20 years. That's greater than the land area of New York City. New construction in one area can also <a href="https://scalawagmagazine.org/2018/01/city-in-a-swamp-as-houston-booms-its-flood-problems-are-only-getting-worse/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">impact older neighborhoods downhill</a> during a flood, as some Houston communities discovered in Hurricane Harvey.</p><p>Improving risk assessments is needed not just to better prepare communities for major flood events, but also to prevent racial inequalities – in housing and beyond – from <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/688786177/how-federal-disaster-money-favors-the-rich" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">growing</a> after the unequal impacts of disasters.</p>
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