10 Nutritious Foods For A Healthy Diet
There are many top 10 lists of healthy foods on the internet. It has a unique twist, and the author paid ten of the best nutritionists and dietitians on Upwork to list the ten healthiest foods. I also asked them to justify their choices with good reasons and scientific sources.
Eating a few new foods that were good for my health was a fun experiment. I hope this article teaches you as much as it taught me to write it. So, without further ado, these are the top 10 nutritious foods, as chosen by qualified nutritionists and dietitians.
I thought berries or leafy greens would come out on top, but legumes were a big surprise. All ten experts who made lists of healthy foods put it on their lists.
There were many reasons why legumes were at the top of the list. Most nutritionists say legumes are a great source of plant protein and are full of soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps control hunger. They also have very little saturated fat and are great prebiotics for a healthy gut and better immunity. Heart disease prevention was also talked about twice. One nutritionist even said that legumes could help make farming more environmentally friendly.
Even though they didn’t win first place like most people thought they would, berries came in a close second. Only one expert left them off their list.
Almost every nutritionist discussed how berries’ antioxidants help keep healthy cells from being damaged by free radicals. Phytonutrients and flavonoids were mentioned more than once to protect against diseases that worsen over time. Both brain health (preventing dementia and improving cognitive function) and anti-inflammatory properties were mentioned twice. Four other benefits were mentioned once each: heart health and blood pressure, slower aging, less bad cholesterol, and fewer urinary tract infections.
We have a tie for second place with another natural wonder with unique health benefits and tastes good. Along with legumes and berries, nuts are the three most nutritious foods.
The best thing about nuts is that they are high in healthy unsaturated fats and have a lot of plant protein. Half the nutritionists also noted that nuts have a good omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids balance. Because of these things, nuts can help lower cholesterol, which is good for the heart’s health.
But one nutritionist said that the body only absorbs a small amount of omega-3 from nuts, so they shouldn’t be the only source. Even though nuts are high in calories, two nutritionists said they help people feel full and control their weight. They can lower the risk of rash and cancer.
Dark Leafy Greens
One of my pre-game favorites to win was leafy greens, so I was surprised they didn’t make it to the podium. But coming in fourth after beans, berries, and nuts isn’t anything to be embarrassed about.
Most nutritionists liked that it had antioxidant properties, was good for the heart, helped keep blood pressure in a healthy range, and helped red blood cells. Some people also liked that leafy greens are high in nutrients and have a wide range of micronutrients. The nutritionists also talked about the benefits of low calories and glycemic index and the fact that these things have been shown to lower the risk of degenerative diseases.
We have one more surprise to round out the top five (to me, at least). I love yogurt, but I didn’t think seven out of ten nutritionists would say that fermented foods are good for you.
The gut-brain axis has brought much attention to the fact that fermented foods are good for gut health. This is where fermented foods shine. They are also good for healthy bones and a strong immune system, which can help keep you from getting sick. It also helps that they are delicious and can be used in many ways.
Eggs are making a big comeback after being wrongly linked to high cholesterol and heart disease for decades. The fact that they are sixth on this list is proof of this comeback.
Nutritionists said that the first benefit was that it had a complete protein profile. Even though eggs come from animals, the eggs from a laying hen have about ten times more protein than the meat from a broiler chicken. This makes them a much better choice. Eggs are also good for your bones, cell membranes, and brain health. They are high in antioxidants and have few calories and saturated fats.
It’s hard to believe that something as boring as oats is tied for sixth place on this list. But as we’ll see, a lot is happening behind that boring front.
Nutritionists say that oats’ ability to stabilize blood sugar and make you feel full is the best thing about them. Because of this, they can help you lose weight and lower your risk of getting diabetes. Oats also have a lot of fiber, which is good for your gut, and they lower cholesterol, which is good for your heart. Pure oats are also labeled gluten-free, but they could get gluten during processing.
As a big fan of seeds, I was sad they were only in eighth place. Seeds and nuts have much in common, but seeds often have more protein, fiber, and less fat than nuts. If it were up to me, they’d definitely be higher on the list.
Nutritionists put seeds on their top 10 lists because they are a good source of protein. Some of them, like chia and hemp, have essential amino acids. Reason #2 was that it had healthy omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. The nutritionists also said that seeds have antioxidant properties, help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, curb appetite so you can control your weight, boost your immune system, and help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
Along with eggs, fish is another good source of protein from an animal. Most people think that fatty fish, which is high in omega-3, is the best and should be on this list.
Nutritionists said the best things about these fish were the high-quality proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the benefits of omega 3 are a healthier heart, better concentration, and cognitive skills, a healthier nervous system, and less pain from arthritis. Two nutritionists also pointed out that these fish have a lot of vitamin D, which is helpful in places with dark winters (vitamin D is mainly produced in the skin by exposure to sunlight). Fatty fish has healthy fats that help your body take vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Another well-known subfamily of vegetables is the first of four, all tied for tenth place. Some of the dark leafy greens that came in fourth place are also cruciferous, so technically, this section is about cruciferous vegetables that aren’t dark leafy greens.
Cruciferous vegetables have a lot of nutrients that help your immune system, bone health, eye care, cell communication, and blood sugar control. They also protect against diseases that worsen over time and help people age better mentally.