What Is Healthy Food? | The Healthiest Foods to Eat

Are your favorite foods actually healthy for you? Or have you ever thought of eating only what is really healthy?

You and I are daily confronted with a never-ending display of ads for healthy foods by different commercial food processing companies. Even the labels on the food packages are misleading, especially the labels on those items christened as “superfoods”.

If you are in middle age or just stepping into the retirement period, then you have to make correct choices on your daily healthy diet more important than ever. In fact, the right choices you make today are definitely going to keep you in good health tomorrow.

This article brings home to you the best tips to eat healthily and the list of healthiest foods you should have.

What Is Healthy Food?

Healthy foods are those that give you the energy and nutrients that you need to sustain your body. Above all, healthy foods should be free of unhealthy fats, excess calories, and toxic elements.

A balanced diet contains a daily required amount of key nutrients such as water, good fats, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

A healthy diet is indispensable for nutrition and good health. Good diets not only sustain our body but also protect us against many chronic diseases, especially common critical health issues like cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases.

Your balanced diet should consist of a large variety of foods but compulsorily less salt, sugar, saturated fats, and artificially created trans-fats. The daily diet should include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat milk products. Also, your daily meals should include around 40-50 grams of healthy protein from various good sources such as lean meats, seafood, eggs, poultry, soy products, legumes, seeds, and nuts.

As opposed to a good diet, poor eating habits include not eating daily required amounts of healthy foods, over-eating, or consuming foods that are high in fat, salt, or sugar, and low in fiber and essential nutrients. The commonly used unhealthy foods include highly processed foods such as snacks and fast foods which lack essential vitamins and minerals but are high in empty calories due to contents like refined flour, sodium, and sugar.

The Healthiest Foods to Eat

Are you wondering which foods are the healthiest?

Fortunately, you have numerous choices of foods both healthy and tasty. They are not only healthy but tasty, inexpensive, and easily available as well. You can have a versatile, colorful, and sumptuous meal by filling your plate with quality proteins, vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods.

Here is a list of the best and healthiest foods for you.

Healthiest Nuts and Seeds

Usually, nuts and seeds are high in fat and calories but they are rich in several essential vitamins and minerals, also they may also aid in weight loss. To your advantage, they require almost no preparation, so they are ready-eat foods you can carry wherever you go.

The healthiest nuts and seeds are almonds, chia seeds, coconuts, Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and Brazil nuts. Almost, all of these nuts and seeds are loaded with several vital vitamins and minerals; most importantly, some of them are rich sources of essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Omega-6.

Healthiest Fruits and Berries

Only about one-fourth of the population eats recommended amounts of fruit, berries, and nuts. Today, diet and food experts singularly emphasize fruits as a must-have component in your daily diet. These nutritious, sweet foods are very tasty, easy to incorporate into your diet, and require little to no preparation.

Some fruits and berries aren’t suitable for all as a few of them are high in sugar (fructose). The best and healthier fruits you should include in your diet plan are apples, avocados, bananas, blueberries, oranges, and strawberries. These are superior to other fruits for they are rich in several essential nutrients and arguably among the most delicious foods.

There are also several other healthy fruits and berries specific to a region or different seasons of the year. It’s also healthy to have other fruits and berries such as grapefruit, kiwi, cherries, mangoes, lemons, olives, melons, pineapple, pears, raspberries, and plums.

Healthiest Meats

Lean, unprocessed meats are best to be included in a healthy diet plan. The best source of protein is lean beef but it should be consumed in moderation.

Chicken breast is another healthy meal that is low in fat and calories but extremely high in protein. If you aren’t eating many calories, then you can moderately eat fattier cuts of chicken as well.

Lamb meat is also healthy as they tend to be high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Healthiest Vegetables

In general, almost all vegetables are healthy as they are the most concentrated source of nutrients in the world. Every part of the world has a wide variety of vegetables, most of them particular to that region.

Some vegetables are superior to others because of the many nutrients and rich fiber contained in them. Among the wide variety of vegetables available, the healthiest ones are asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, garlic, kale, onions, and tomatoes. Other common healthy vegetables worth mentioning are artichokes, cabbage, eggplant, celery, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, leeks, radishes, mushrooms, Swiss chard, squash, turnips, drumsticks, and zucchini.

Healthy Diet

Healthiest Fish and Seafood

There is a wide variety of fish and seafood which are very healthy and nutritious. They are superior to most types of meat as many seafood items are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and iodine, two important nutrients that most people don’t consume enough of.

The best seafood and fish that should be part of a healthy diet are salmon, sardines, shellfish (clams, oysters, and mollusks), shrimp, trout, and tuna.

Always choose low mercury varieties of fish, especially expecting mothers because eating fish with high mercury can harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system.

Healthiest Grains

Whole grains are important to your health because they provide the fuel for your body, fiber, and few micronutrients. However, they are packed with calories and do not consume a lot of grains, especially those who are on low-carb diets.

The best types of grains are those that contain more fiber, micronutrients, and comparatively fewer carbohydrates. The healthiest grains are brown rice, oats, and quinoa.

Healthiest Legumes

Legumes are an excellent plant-based source of protein, fiber, and iron. Legumes do contain a significant amount of anti-nutrients which can reduce nutrient absorption. Studies suggest that by soaking them for a couple of hours, it’s possible to reduce or eliminate the anti-nutrient contents in them.

The healthiest and most nutritious legumes are green beans, kidney beans, peanuts, and lentils. Vegans must compulsorily eat about 100 grams of various legumes to meet the daily protein requirements of their bodies.

Healthiest Dairy Products

Dairy products are an excellent source of several important nutrients. Some studies claim that people who include dairy products (those obtained from grass-fed cows) in their daily diet have a lower risk of type-2 diabetes and obesity.

The healthiest dairy foods are cheese, whole milk, and yogurt. A single slice of cheese can have the same amount of nutrients as an entire cup of milk. Yogurts also have all the health benefits of milk and the added benefits of gut-friendly probiotic bacteria.

Healthiest Fats and Oils

Health experts recommend unsaturated fats and oils as the healthiest to consume. The most nutritious and health-friendly oils are extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil; in fact, they are the best cooking oils that you can use.  Oils in general, must be consumed in minimal amounts as they contain saturated fats, consume about 4 to 6 teaspoons of oil per day.

Healthiest Tubers

Tubers are rich in natural carbohydrates and they contain a variety of beneficial nutrients as well. The healthiest tubers you can include in your diet are potatoes and sweet potatoes. The underestimated sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin A, and other healthy nutrients.

Other Healthy Foods

Eggs: They are the most nutritious foods on the planet. Once they were condemned for LDL cholesterol, but new studies suggest that they don’t increase LDL cholesterol in the body.

Apple cider vinegar: Consuming about two teaspoons of Apple cider vinegar with a meal can give several health benefits; especially helps to regulate post-meal blood sugar levels and helps in weight loss.

Honey: Consuming two tablespoons of honey (especially the Manuka Honey) can render many health benefits such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, and better wound healing.

Dark chocolate: It’s a powerful source of antioxidants and also is loaded with a good amount of magnesium, an important mineral scarcely found in other foods.