If you’re trying to eat healthy, it can be overwhelming every time you step into the grocery store. Which foods are really the most beneficial for you?
We’ve compiled this list of 40 foods that are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that will help you on your health journey.
1. Acai berries
Acai berries are best known for being the fruit that few people can properly pronounce.
Aside from that, however, acai berries are high in anthocyanins, an antioxidant which has the ability to lower cholesterol levels. They also contain plant sterols that help to improve blood circulation. Acai is also high in vitamin C, an immune booster.
Coconut is high in fiber, which helps to control cholesterol. It also contains iron, potassium, and cytokinins, which help to regulate cell growth.
Coconuts are rich in healthy fats, too! Their medium-chain triglycerides may help to fight cancer and prevent neurological disorders.
Pomegranates are incredibly nutritious and delicious. It’s just too bad that they’re so annoying to eat!
Punicalagins and punicic acid are powerful antioxidants found in pomegranates. They have amazing anti-inflammatory benefits, useful in fighting cancer and diabetes.
Avocado is rich in vitamin K, which plays a role in blood clotting; folate, which is known for its role in DNA synthesis and repair; and vitamin C.
Avocados even contain more potassium than bananas and are loaded with healthy fats, which have been linked to reduced inflammation. Just watch out for those slippery peels!
It’s interesting that walnuts look like brains, because they are beneficial for your brain!
Walnuts contain vitamin E, folate, melatonin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Both Vitamin E and melatonin actually play an antioxidant role, protecting the brain’s membranes from damage.
You’ve probably taken ginger (either as a tea or in the form of ginger ale) when you were feeling nauseous. But you might be surprised to know that easing nausea is not the only thing it’s good for!
Ginger contains compounds called gingerols, which are anti-inflammatory. This is why people with arthritis feel much better when they regularly consume this spice.
There’s a reason your parents always told you to eat your broccoli when you were a child. Broccoli is one of the most nutritious foods!
It’s rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and folate. It also contains sulforophane, a compound which may have anti-cancer properties.
Kale has been a trending topic for quite a few years. What’s all the fuss about?
Well, it’s high in fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants (such as carotenoids and flavonoids), calcium, and a bunch of vitamins. Basically, it’s the definition of a superfood.
9. Kidney beans
Kidney beans are filled with fiber, which lowers cholesterol. This makes them great for your heart health!
They are also high in protein, although they must be supplemented with whole grains to get the complete effect. Additionally, they contain molybdenum, which jump starts our enzymes.
If you need more vitamin C, lemons may be your best bet. One lemon provides about half of our daily vitamin C requirements!
Vitamin C is also both an immune booster and an antioxidant. If that’s not enough, lemon also contains other vitamins and nutrients, too.
11. Dark chocolate
It probably makes chocolate-lovers happy to know that dark chocolate is one of the most nutritious foods out there! Moderation is still key, but it’s nice to know that tasty things can be good for you too.
Chocolate contains manganese, magnesium, iron, fiber and a bunch of antioxidants. One such antioxidant, nitric oxide, may help to lower blood pressure.
Blueberries contain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, and vitamin K. These help maintain healthy bones.
Blueberries also contain fiber and vitamin B6, which are good for the heart. There are also many antioxidants in blueberries, including vitamin C and phytonutrients.
Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These compounds also help to increase the levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which may help to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
14. Dragon fruit
Dragon fruits sure look weird, but don’t let that stop you from eating this nutrient-packed food. They are filled with antioxidants (such as phytonutrients and vitamin C), good fats, protein, fiber, and B vitamins.
Grapefruits are filled with fiber, potassium, lycopene, and vitamin C. Lycopene is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in food, but it’s only found in pink and red grapefruit.
Bananas are perhaps best known for being a source of potassium, which helps to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in the body. But, it’s also a source of manganese, vitamin C, fiber and biotin (which is good for your hair, skin, and nails).
Honey is often referred to as liquid gold—probably because it’s a treasure trove of health benefits. Raw honey has antimicrobial properties, which is why it’s recommended when you’re sick.
It also contains those awesome flavonoids (antioxidants) that we’ve heard so much about.
18. Chili peppers
Capsaicin, an ingredient found in many hot peppers, is used for arthritic pain and may even help to kill cancer cells. Besides capsaicin, chili peppers contain antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, which might also help improve insulin regulation.
Pineapples taste amazing and make you feel like you’re in a tropical paradise with every bite.
Not only that, but they’re loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and antioxidants!
Try a mango a day to keep doctors away! Mangoes contain more than three quarters of the daily vitamin C recommendation, and a quarter of the daily vitamin A recommendation. They also have a bunch of antioxidants and other minerals that keep the body in check.
21. Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains high amounts of vitamins A and D. All of these make cod liver oil an effective natural remedy for rickets and arthritis.
22. Bitter melon
Though bitter melon is bitter, as its name suggests, it’s still worth eating. This bitter fruit contains substances such as polypeptide-p, that have anti-diabetic properties. It also contains iron, potassium, and vitamin B-6.
Papayas are a rich source of antioxidants, B vitamins, folate, and pantothenic acid (which is also called vitamin B5). Pantothenic acid helps to relieve conditions such as asthma and heart problems.
Don’t let the smell keep you away! Because of its high vitamin C levels, garlic is a great immune booster.
Garlic also contains high levels of potassium and boosts the production of hydrogen sulfide, which reduces cancer risk. Plus, it makes an effective vampire deterrent.
Asparagus is an excellent source of fiber, folate, vitamins, and chromium. Chromium enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. So, eat up!
It’s not just fruits and veggies that are filled with nutrients! Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, niacin (which is good for the heart), vitamin D, and the antioxidant taurine.
By now, you’re probably aware that eggs are an excellent source of protein. But, they also contain selenium (which is important for cognitive function and fertility), vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, and iron.
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast, either. Ever had an egg on a burger? Give it a try and get back to us.
Tomatoes resemble the heart more than any other fruit, which makes sense because they’re really good for your heart and blood pressure. And yeah, you read that right – tomatoes are indeed a fruit.
They’re also an excellent source vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum and vitamin K. Bonus!
You’re most likely aware that carrots are good for your eye health. Why? Well, they’re filled with beta-carotene, an antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A.
Carrots may not be able to make you see in the dark, but they’re still one of the most nutritious foods on earth. Try using carrots as a sweetener to up the health factor of your favorite baked goods!
Along with kale, quinoa has also been a trendy food in recent years. One of the reasons for this is that it’s gluten-free, yet high in fiber, iron, and protein.
It can be a little tricky to cook properly, but once you get the hang of it, quinoa is worth adding to your regular dinner rotation!
Oats are a whole grain that is also gluten-free. They’re rich in fiber, protein, manganese, and a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are anti-inflammatory and lower blood pressure.
Oats can be added to baked goods, eaten as oatmeal, or even form the basis of a savory dinner. Try eggs and savory spices on oatmeal sometime – it sounds weird, but it might just change your life!
32. Sweet potatoes
If you’ve never had baked sweet potato fries, you don’t know what you’re missing. They’re both tastier and healthier than your average fry!
Not only are they lower in calories than standard potatoes, Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium.
Onions have been used for centuries to treat inflammation and infections. They contain chromium, which regulates blood sugar, and antioxidants like vitamin C.
Onion tip: if cutting onions is causing you to, well, cut onions, you may be using a knife that’s too dull. Go ahead and try all the usual tricks like chewing gum or wearing one of those weird pairs of onion goggles, but if cutting onions is still making you cry, try sharpening your knife and see what happens.
If you need protein, lentils are the thing to consume. You can have lentils in soups and chili, over your rice or potatoes, or even as a taco filling. Lentils are a super healthy, super versatile alternative (or addition) to meat-based dishes.
That’s not all lentils are good for, though. These legumes are also a great source of calcium, fiber, folate, and iron.
You shouldn’t only wait until autumn to eat pumpkins! This superfood contains fiber, antioxidants (like beta-carotene and vitamin C), and potassium.
Pumpkins are great in soups and stews, and their seeds can be roasted and eaten plain or added to salads, smoothies, and oatmeal.
Who doesn’t love the smell of cinnamon? The best part about it is, cinnamon is great for more than just flavoring your apple pie and making your house smell amazing.
As if you needed another reason to eat this delicious spice, cinnamon is also filled with antioxidants and compounds beneficial for preventing neurodegenerative and heart disease.
37. Olive oil
It may be a good idea to cook with olive oil from now on. Olive oil contains healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Extra virgin olive oil is a way healthier choice than vegetable or canola oils.
Mixed with some balsamic vinegar, it also makes a great alternative to fatty, creamy salad dressings.
Cauliflower is another one of those veggies that your parents probably forced you to eat. Turns out they were right about this one too!
You should eat cauliflower because it contains vitamins, pantothenic acid, phytonutrients, and choline, which is good for learning and memory.
Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification benefits.
You can’t beet that! (Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)
Saffron has long had many therapeutic applications. This is because it contains a plethora of useful components, from carotenoids to potassium and vitamins.
This exotic spice is often found in curries and soups.