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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.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Will Sarni
It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.
The Past is No Longer a Guide to the Future
We get ever closer to "day zeros" — the point at when municipal water supplies are switched off — and tragedies such as Flint. These are not isolated stories. Instead they are becoming routine, and the public sector and civil society are scrambling to address them. We are seeing "day zeros" in South Africa, India, Australia and elsewhere, and we are now detecting lead contamination in drinking water in cities across the U.S.
"Day zero" is the result of water planning by looking in the rear-view mirror. The past is no longer a guide to the future; water demand has outstripped supplies because we are tied to business-as-usual planning practices and water prices, and this goes hand-in-hand with the inability of the public sector to factor the impacts of climate change into long-term water planning. Lead in drinking water is the result of lead pipe service lines that have not been replaced and in many cases only recently identified by utilities, governments and customers. An estimated 22 million people in the US are potentially using lead water service lines. This aging infrastructure won't repair or replace itself.
One of the most troubling aspects of the global water crisis is that those least able to afford access to water are also the ones who pay a disproportionately high percentage of their income for it. A report by WaterAid revealed that a standard water bill in developed countries is as little as 0.1 percent of the income of someone earning the minimum wage, while in a country like Madagascar a person reliant on a tanker truck for their water supply would spend as much as 45 percent of their daily income on water to get just the recommended daily minimum supply. In Mozambique, families relying on black-market vendors will spend up to 100 times as much on water as those reached by government-subsidized water supplies.
Finally, we need to understand that the discussion of a projected gap between supply and demand is misleading. There is no gap, only poor choices around allocation. The wealthy will have access to water, and the poor will pay more for water of questionable quality. From Flint residents using bottled water and paying high water utility rates, to the poor in South Africa waiting in line for their allocation of water — inequity is everywhere.
Water Inequity Requires Global Action — Now.
These troubling scenarios beg the obvious question: What to do? We do know that ongoing reports on the 'water crisis' are not going to catalyze action to address water scarcity, poor quality, access and affordability. Ensuring the human right to water feels distant at times.
We need to mobilize an ecosystem of stakeholders to be fully engaged in developing and scaling solutions. The public sector, private sector, NGOs, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and civil society must all be engaged in solving water scarcity and quality problems. Each stakeholder brings unique skills, scale and speed of impact (for example, entrepreneurs are fast but lack scale, while conversely the public sector is slow but has scale).
We also urgently need to change how we talk about water. We consistently talk about droughts happening across the globe — but what we are really dealing with is an overallocation of water due to business-as-usual practices and the impacts of climate change.
We need to democratize access to water data and actionable information. Imagine providing anyone with a smartphone the ability to know, on a real-time basis, the quality of their drinking water and actions to secure safe water. Putting this information in the hands of civil society instead or solely relying on centralized regulatory agencies and utilities will change public policies.
Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry.
Note: This post also appears on the World Economic Forum.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Circle of Blue.
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