foods that sources and studies across the United States and Western Europe deem the most healthful.
Nuts, pulses, and grains
A healthful diet can help ensure that the body gets all the nutrients it needs.
Nuts, pulses, and grains are all highly nutritious. The following are some of the most healthful:
Almonds provide plenty of nutrients, includingTrusted Source:
- Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa) are some of the most healthful nuts available.
They are an excellent sourceTrusted Source of both protein and carbohydrates, and they also provide good amounts of vitamin B-1, vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc.
Brazil nuts also contain more selenium than many other foods. Selenium is a vital mineral for maintaining thyroid functionTrusted Source, and it is a great antioxidant for the human body.
These nuts come in a hard shell and are usually available ready to eat, making them a quick, nutritious snack.
Learn more about Brazil nuts here.
A lentil is a pulse that features prominently in many food cultures around the world, including those of Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.
Lentils provide good amountsTrusted Source of fiber, magnesium, and potassium.
They tend to require a long cooking time. However, manufacturers can sprout the seeds, making them a delicious, healthful, ready-to-eat snack.
Adding a container of sprouted lentils to a lunchbox or picnic basket, perhaps with some chili powder or pepper for flavoring, makes for a delicious and healthful snack.
Learn more about the health benefits of lentils here.
Interest in oatmeal has increased considerably during the past 20 years because of its health benefits.
In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed that foods with high levels of rolled oats or oat bran could include data on the label about their cardiovascular health benefits as part of a low fat diet. This led to a surge in oatmeal’s popularity.
Research has found that the cereal’s soluble fiber content helps lower cholesterol levelsTrusted Source and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.
Oats contain complex carbohydrates, as well as water-soluble fiber. These slow down digestion and help stabilize levels of blood glucose. Oatmeal is also a good sourceTrusted Source of folate and potassium.
People can make oatmeal from rolled or ground oats. Coarse or steel-cut oats contain more fiber than instant varieties.
- Wheat germ
Wheat germ is the part of wheat that grows into a plant. It is essentially the embryo of a seed. Germ, along with bran, is a byproduct of milling. Refining cereals often removes the germ and bran content.
Whole grain products, however, still contain the germ and bran. This makes them a more healthful choice.
Wheat germ is high in several vital nutrients, including:
essential fatty acids
Broccoli provides good amountsTrusted Source of fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds that reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
Broccoli also provides essential antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. In fact, a single half-cup serving of broccoli can provide around 85%Trusted Source of a person’s daily vitamin C value.
Another compound in broccoli, called sulforaphane, may have anticancer and anti-inflammatory qualities, according to one 2019 studyTrusted Source.
However, overcooking broccoli can destroy many of its key nutrients. For this reason, it is best to eat it raw or lightly steamed.
Learn more about the nutritional impact of broccoli here.
Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants, which combat free radicals. Free radicals are damaging substances that the body generates. They cause undesirable changes in the body and may contribute to chronic conditions, as well as the aging process.
However, some studiesTrusted Source have suggested that an antioxidant in apples might extend a person’s life span and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Learn more about apples here.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that offers a wide range of different nutrients. For example, this powerfully nutritious plant is an excellent sourceTrusted Source of vitamins C and K.
People can cook or steam kale. They can also blend it into smoothies or juices for a nutritional kick.