There are tons of reasons you need to pay close attention to the food you consume, from the nutritional benefits to the psychological benefits of consciously trying to live a healthy life. It’s indeed a worthy investment. If you are wondering which foods are healthiest, we’ve created a list of super healthy foods that will give you that superhuman feeling (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Most of these foods are healthy and tasty – yes, I said most because you’ll need to prepare your taste buds for the rest.
You are about to discover the foods with the healthiest fats and most vitamins. And more importantly, they are evidence-based.
Vegetables (Super healthy foods).
We’ll start with the category that has the most concentrated sources of nutrients, calorie for calorie. There is a wide variety of vegetables, and it is best if you eat different types every day. Breaking news, plants can help you lose weight.
Bell peppers come in different colour variants, including yellow, green, and red. They are sweet and crunchy, and more importantly, a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
When preparing your super bowl healthy food ideas for salads, you should throw in some watercress. The green veggie is an excellent source of folate. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that those with the highest folate levels lose about 8 to 8.5 times more weight while dieting than those with the lowest level of folate. Interestingly, another study in the British Journal of Cancer found that higher dietary folate intake reduces breast cancer risk.
Another veggie on our list is spinach. Remember Popeye’s favorite vegetable? Yep, that spinach. It’s a great source of protein, antioxidants, vitamins A and C, heart-healthy folate. A cup of spinach has nearly as much protein as a hard-boiled egg for half the calories.
Put your money where your mouth is and make a worthwhile nutritional investment. To do that, opt for steamed spinach rather than eating it raw. Cooking your spinach helps retain vitamins and makes it easy for your body to absorb the green calcium content in the veggie. Speaking of healthy super bowl ideas, omelets, protein shakes (which is excellent for weight loss), a handful of soups, veggie stir-fries, and pasta dishes should top your list.
As far as healthy veggies go, Kale is undoubtedly worthy of praise. The green vegetable is loaded with health-enhancing nutrients like folate (B vitamins), vitamin A, phosphorus. It contains twice the vitamin C as spinach, which is another superstar veggie on our list.
According to a journal published on JRSM Cardiovascular Disease, high daily consumption of green leafy veggies such as Kale effectively reduced cardiovascular disease incidence, which is one of the leading causes of death amongst women in the northern part of America.
Remember when I said that you’ll need to prepare your taste bud for some of the food on our list? Well, here you go. You shouldn’t let the taste discourage you from reaping its health benefits. Broccoli wards of breast, prostate, skin, and lung cancer.
Experts also believe that it contains a special type of phytonutrient called sulforaphane which increases the testosterone and helps to fight off body fat storage. The green veggie is also rich in vitamin C (by the way, a mere cup of it can help you hit your daily mark).
It contains a nutrient that can help you lower the levels of cortisol while you are in a stressful state. But does this veggie come with its downsides? Yes, it does. It can leave you with a gassy and bloated stomach if yours (stomach) is sensitive – sad news for guys who are looking to hit the beach or rock a tight-fitting outfit.
Here is another veggie that’s worth every ounce of praise. When steamed, mustard greens provide 92 per cent of your RDI for vitamin K, 96 per cent of your vitamin A, as well as 47 per cent of your vitamin C per cup. That’s not all, they also have a host of disease-fighting properties thanks to their high glucosinolate content. Your body converts glucosinolate (plant chemicals) into isothiocyanates, which have been proven to ward off cancer.
You should stop eating your potatoes warm because you’ll be missing out on the spud’s fat-fighting superpowers. Throw your potatoes in the fridge and eat them cold, they’ve got digestible starches to turn into resistant starches through a process called retrogradation. Just as the name suggests, resistant starch resists digestion, it aids fat oxidation and reduces abdominal fat. Alright, I get it, eating cold baked potatoes doesn’t sound like music to you ears, so why not use the cooled spuds to make a potato salad – that sounds great, right? I bet it does.
This list won’t be complete without the inclusion of carrots. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber, but that’s not all. Beta-carotene (which is the compound that gives carrots the orange hue you see on them) has been linked to a decreased risk for developing certain types of cancer.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer showed that carotene might ward off lung cancer. Scientists also believe that beta-carotene and alpha-carotene are carotenoids that our bodies convert to vitamin A, which is important for maintaining healthy cells, activating carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes, and immune functions.
Even though potatoes offer both fiber and potassium, sweet potatoes, on the other hand, rank high in the nutrition department, sweet potato contains 3 – 4 grams of satiety-boosting protein, 11 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, and 25 percent of daily belly-filling fiber.
Tomatoes are categorized as a vegetable, although, technically speaking, they are can be termed as fruit. They are loaded with vitamin C and Potassium. Vitamin C helps to counteract stress hormones that trigger fat storage around the midsection.
Fruits (Super healthy foods).
Next on our list of super healthy foods, fruits, as well as berries, are among the world’s most popular super healthy foods out there. These are sweet, nutritious foods that you can incorporate in your diet because they require little to no preparation. Some of these fruits include:
Talk about a humble fruit – botanically, it’s a berry! Perhaps, one of the least staples you’d want to get to a supermarket. But that shouldn’t take anything away from its proven abilities. Bananas are among the world’s best sources of potassium.
That’s not all; they are also high in fiber and vitamin B6 and are convenient and portable. Did you know the two common examples of ‘botanical’ berries? They are grapes and banana…shocking.
Lemons aren’t only famous for their sweet smells and how pretty they look. The fruit can also help encourage weight loss. To lose weight, you need more than exercises – backing up your daily workout routines with the right diet will yield the required result in no time. Lemon is one of the fruits known to contain a day’s worth of vitamin C.
Like lemons, oranges have enough vitamin C – just one of the tasty provides 130 percent of the vitamin C that you need daily. But something sets orange apart from other citrus fruits, and that is the apparent ability to lower women’s stroke risk.
The research was done and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2012 shows that eating higher amounts of flavanone.
This flavonoid lowers one’s chances of having an ischemic stroke. The study also found that women who ate a high amount of flavanone had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least amount.
Apples contain lots of antioxidants, which help to combat free radicals. What are free radicals? These are damaging substances that the body generates. They are responsible for the undesirable change in the human body and tend to contribute to chronic conditions and the ageing process.
But some studies suggest that an antioxidant in apples might extend a person’s life span and reduce the risk of different chronic diseases. That’s not all, coupled with loads of antioxidants present in the fruit; they are also high in fiber, and vitamin C.
Though somewhat hated for being high in calories, avocadoes should not be villainized for having many calories. Avocadoes still deserve a place in your diet, with 4.6 grams of the belly-filling fiber. The green fruit can keep you full and satisfied. A study in Nutritional Journal showed that folks who added avocadoes to their meal reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward.
Also, avocadoes are filled with metabolism-enhancing monounsaturated fats that help to reduce hunger. Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats found in avocadoes, olive oil, and some types of nuts. It also contains unsaturated fats, which help to prevent the storage of belly fat, an example of unhealthy fat. According to a review that was published in Phytotherapy Research, these green fruits help combat metabolic syndrome.
Black Sapote is one of the rare fruits on this list. Maybe I used the word ‘rare’ here loosely, but this is not one fruit you’ll quickly find on Lagos or anywhere else in Nigeria. It is native to Guatemala and Mexico. This chocolate pudding fruit is cultivated in Florida, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Philippines, and Hawaii. But, if you have loved ones who live in those parts of the word, you can ask them to help you ship this exotic fruit.
Furthermore, it is deceptively costly and creamy, and yes, it tastes … You guessed right, chocolate. No wonder it’s on my fruits bucket list. 100 – gram serving of has 191 mg of vitamin C and 130 calories, or double that of an orange (someone’s jaw just dropped). A study was published in Food Research International depicting black sapote as a great source of catechins and carotenoids, which helps to spur the release of fat from fat cells. That’s not all; this fruit pudding helps the liver convert fat into energy.
African Star Apple (aka Agbalumo).
The agbalumo season is almost here, and if you need a reason to have this fruit in your list of ‘must-try,’ then having a spot on my list should be enough reason. Known as Udara in Igbo, and agbalumo in Yoruba, it helps you prevent mouth gum disease, tackle toothache, and fight sore throats. If you are conscious of your calories, star apple might be the right fruit for weight loss. A serving of agbalumo contains 67 calories, making it a good option for people with weight loss. It is also rich in vitamin C, contains natural anti-oxidant, and ideal for expecting mothers.
Just like African Star Apple, you can easily find this type of fruit in grocery stores. Grapes are another fruit that’s often overlooked because of their high sugar content; however, don’t let that stop you from snacking on a handful of these fruits now and then.
That’s because both grapes and grape juice are rich sources of resveratrol, a well-studied phytochemical for anti-cancer effects. Resveratrol was found to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells through apoptosis. By exerting anti-estrogenic effects, the invasion was observed after resveratrol supplementation and reductions in breast cancer cell migration.
Blueberries provide a healthy amount of fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. And unlike vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients are not relatively important. On the one hand, phytonutrients are not essential for human survival; on the other hand, they may help prevent diseases and maintain vital bodily functions.
In 2019, a review of 16 studies showed that consuming blueberries help fight against cognitive decline – this will help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The same study also found that blueberries might help prevent cardiovascular disease.
While grapes and bananas are ‘botanical’ berries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, etc. are not ‘true berries’ reason why they are classified as ‘false berries.’ Not to take the shine off the fruit in question, strawberries are highly nutritious and are also low in calories and carbs. They are loaded with fiber, manganese, and vitamin C and are arguably among the most delicious foods on our list and are also among the sweetest foods in the world.
Dairy (Super healthy foods).
If you can tolerate them, dairy products are a good source of essential nutrients. Studies show that full-fat dairy is the best, and people who consume this type of dairy product have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Interestingly, if the dairy comes from grass-fed cows, it would be more nutritious.
Did you know that a single slice of cheese may offer about the same amount of nutrients as an entire cup (240 ml) of milk? Well, now, you know. Being healthy is one thing: tasting good is a different story entirely. And that’s the exciting thins about cheese, it’s not only healthy, but it also feels good.
I wasn’t always a fan of yogurt, but this narrative changed when I started going to the gym and working on my muscles, turns out I was ignorant. Yogurt contains a healthy amount of calcium, which is an essential bone-building mineral. It has many of the same health benefits as milk, but yogurt with live culture has the added benefit of aiding probiotic bacteria.
This category wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about whole milk. It is very high in minerals, vitamins, quality anima protein, as well as healthy fats. Furthermore, it is one of the best dietary sources of calcium, just like yogurt, its distant cousin.
Meats (Super healthy foods).
In this category, we have unprocessed and mildly cooked meats. These are some of the nutritious foods you can eat, and interestingly, you can get these meats off a few blocks from your place – this tells you how accessible they are.
Chicken breasts are famous amongst bodybuilders due to its protein content. It’s a great source of many other nutrients. If you are not eating that many carbs, you can try out fattier cuts of chicken. Yes, it’s safe.
Once again, we’ve placed another meat, which is high in protein. Lean beef is loaded with highly bioavailable iron. Meanwhile, if you are not on a low-carb diet, you can choose the fatty cuts too.
Keep in mind that they are quite high in carbs, though they’ve been villainized for causing overgrowths of harmful bacteria in the guts, and may cause tooth decay. But hold on, while these are facts, you still can’t overemphasize on some of the pros that come with eating it. For instance, grains are essential sources of B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, folate, and niacin). So, some of the healthy grains out there in our list of super healthy foods include:
First, in this category is oats (in no particular order); they are incredibly healthy. Reiteratively, they are loaded with lots of fibers called beta-glucans known to provide tons of benefits.
Rice itself is unarguably the most popular food in this part of the world, but that’s on us. Looking at the health side of things, brown rice is relatively nutritious, with a fair amount of vitamin B1, fiber, and magnesium.
The last food group will be shining our spotlight on has been unfairly demonized (I use the phrase ‘unfairly demonized’ here loosely) because the skepticism is based on facts. For instance, legumes contain antinutrients that are known to interfere with the digestion as well as absorption of nutrients – to eliminate this, soak for some time and prepare appropriately. If you are looking for a great plant-based source of protein, legumes top that list. Some great examples include:
Yea, that same beans. Next to rice, yam, what readily comes to mind is the kidney beans – they are popular in Nigeria. It can be made into different delicacies, but the one we all love most is the ‘Ewa agoyin.’ You know the beans sold by Iya Risi, your next-door neighbor – yea, that one (we call it ewa agoyin). But generally speaking, kidney beans are loaded with various vitamins and minerals as we as fibers. To be on the safer side, make sure to soak for a while and cook them properly.
Shocked? Don’t be. Peanuts aren’t nuts; they are legumes. They are incredibly tasty and pack a whole lot of nutrients and antioxidants. Several studies have shown that peanut can help you lose weight.
Lentils are another popular legume; they deserve a spot on our list thanks to the high fiber content. Lentils are also among the best sources of plant-based protein.
They are also called string beans and are the unripe varieties of the conventional seed. They are popular in Nigeria thanks to chefs who use it as one of the significant ingredients in fried rice.
There you have it; those are some of the super healthy foods that should be in your bucket list. Share your comment in the comment section below.