8 Healthiest Foods to Eat Every Day

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Many fad diets focus on which foods you should eliminate from your daily eating habits. Instead of removing “bad” foods, focus on including healthy foods that should be a part of any balanced diet. The healthiest foods are minimally processed, nutrient dense, contain no added sugar and are often a source of phytonutrients. The United States Department of Agriculture -- USDA -- states that consuming foods with phytonutrients is effective in reducing cancer and heart disease risk. Eating a variety of healthy foods high in fiber will allow you to ensure adequate nutrient intake and avoid overeating as well.

Spinach

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Extremely low in calories, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. One cup of boiled spinach contains only 41 calories, but it is a great source of over 13 vitamins and minerals -- including Vitamins A, C, E, and K, folate, and manganese. Spinach also contains flavonoids, which are plant compounds that may help prevent cancer.

Broccoli

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Like spinach, broccoli is high in fiber and low in calories. Full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients, broccoli is a versatile vegetable that adds large servings of Vitamins C and K to your diet. Eat broccoli raw or steamed. According to a recent study in the Journal of Zhejiang University, steaming broccoli is the best way to retain nutrients when cooking.

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes are a primary source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. When buying tomato products, avoid ketchup and pasta sauces with added sugar and corn syrup.

Blueberries

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Blueberries contain high amounts of antioxidants, compounds that counteract damaging free radicals in the body. Blueberries are also a good source of fiber and are lower in sugar than many other fruits. Other healthy berries include strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Quinoa

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Not commonly used in the United States, quinoa is a South American plant high in fiber and complete protein. As a source of whole grains, quinoa is higher in many nutrients -- including manganese and magnesium -- than similar grains like rice and oatmeal. Use as a breakfast substitute with fruit or as a side dish at dinner instead of pasta or rice.

Beans

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Part of the legume family, beans are one of the best vegetarian sources of complete protein. Beans are high in fiber and also full of iron and B vitamins, which play a key role in energy metabolism.

Nuts

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Higher in calories than other healthy foods, nuts are a key source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Some nuts like almonds also provide an additional fiber boost.

Flaxseeds

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Long used by athletes, flaxseeds are becoming more recognized as a healthy plant source of omega 3 fatty acids. A vegetarian alternative to fish oil, whole flaxseeds also provide protein and fiber.

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