The Top 100 Health Foods to Have in your House

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There are a lot of foods out there that claim to be good for you. It is hard to separate marketing ploys from genuine health, so we have written the list of the top 100 health foods you should have in your house at any given time.

  1. WaterSo readily available yet so underused. The average American is chronically dehydrated, yet water is one of the best- AND EASIEST- tools for weight loss.  Not only does it replace high-calorie drinks like soda, juice and alcohol, but it’s also a great appetite suppressant!  Many times our brain fools us into thinking we are hungry, when really we are just thirsty.  So next time you have the urge to snack, drink a big glass of water and wait 10 min to see if you really were hungry, or just dehydrated.
  2. Oatmeal: We wrote all about the health benefits of oatmeal here.  It’s a great, versatile option to start off your day because oats are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear in addition to keeping blood sugar levels at bay. For an easy overnight oats recipe we made, click here.  (Note: Steel cut oats are better than instant oats because they are less processed). For those of you that have trouble sleeping at night, oatmeal contains melatonin which is a sleep regulating.
  3. Dark Chocolate: All chocolate comes from the cocoa bean.  It has more antioxidants than green tea or red wine. It also contains a stimulating chemical known as phenylethlamine, that  stimulates the sense of excitement and well being. The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study that found, women who enjoyed a piece of chocolate every day had a more active sex life than those who didn’t.  We recommend 60% or more cocoa dark chocolate. Cocoa hydrates your skin, making it firmer and more supple. We recommend 70% cocoa dark chocolate as it contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant. A couple of squares a day should be enough to improve luminosity. Also, if applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness!  To read more health benefits of dark chocolate, read our article here.
  4. Flax seeds:  Full of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a little sprinkling of flaxseed can go a long way for your heart. Top a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal with a smidgen of ground flaxseed for the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast.
  5. Green Tea:  According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking 4 cups of green tea a day had participants loose close to seven pounds, over an eight-week period, due to the EGCG compound found in green tea.
  6. Eggplant:  Hailing from the nightshade family of vegetables, eggplants are a spongy vegetable with a slightly bitter texture. In addition to the many vitamins contained in eggplants, the skin possesses nasunin, an antioxidant that aids in cell protection and regeneration. Eggplant also improves cardiovascular health and can reduce cholesterol.
  7. Citrus Fruits:  Citrus foods such as oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and limes are rich in vitamin C — a dietary component necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which helps build and repair blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone and is therefore helpful for people with osteoarthritis. Citrus fruits are also good sources of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, so start your day with a glass of orange juice, have half a grapefruit for a snack, and squeeze lime or lemon juice on foods when you’re cooking to take advantage of the healing power of citrus.
  8. Ginger: Ginger contains compounds that function in much the same way as anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen.  Ginger can easily be added to stir fry’s, tea, or eaten pickled with sushi.
  9. Cherries:  According to a recent study, tart cherries are a good source of anthocyanins, which may have a stronger anti-inflammatory effect than aspirin.  Though more research needs to be done, adding cherries to your dietary intake will not hurt.
  10. Pineapple:  Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and the enzyme bromelain, which has been linked to decreased pain and swelling in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  11. Orange-Colored Vegetables:  Carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, which both fight inflammation. Cooking seems to increase the availability of these compounds- so eat them in large quantities.
  12. Turmeric: This powerful Asian spice contains a natural anti-inflammatory compound, curcumin, which is often found in curry blends. It is said to have the same effect as over-the counter pain relievers (but without their side effects).
  13. Asparagus:  Due to the plant chemical asparagine, an alkaloid that affects the cells and helps break down the fat, your body more easily removes its waste, which makes it a great fat burner.
  14. Beans:  Also a great fat burner. Beans are high in protein and low in fat. Not only is this is a great choice for vegetarians, but because it is low on the GI scale, it is great for metabolizing and releasing fatty acids.
  15. Cage Free Eggs:  Another great source of protein and low in calories. Eggs will give you the energy to help you loose fat.
  16. Fish:  The best known source of fatty acids. Fish is high in DHA- Omega 3 fatty acid and in protein which helps build muscles while simultaneously helping burn fat.
  17. Hot Peppers:  Capsaicin- a compound that gives peppers their heat, is great for melting down the extra fat your body has stored.
  18. Grapefruit:  According to University of Western Ontario, grapefruit is great for burning excess fat rather than storing it. Grapefruit balances out blood sugar levels because of naringenin- a flavonoid in grapefruit and helps to prevent metabolic syndrome. According to University of California, participants were asked to drink a cup of grapefruit before each meal. Within three months, they  had lost 3 to 10 pounds.
  19. Omega-3 Rich Fish: To read all about the health benefits we found on Omega-3 fatty acids, click here.  Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Aim for two servings per week, which may reduce risk of a heart attack by 33%.
  20. Avocados:  Packed with monounsaturated fat, avocados can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while raising the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol in your body. Avocados can easily be added to salads, wrap, or enjoyed on it’s own.  For all the reasons avocados are a superfood , read our article here.
  21. Berries:  Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries—whichever is your favorite—are full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Berries also have a very high antioxidant content. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, berries weighed in with the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any food. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful. Not to mention, they are some of the fruits with the lowest levels of sugar.
  22. Olive Oil:  Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.
    Results from the Seven Countries Study, which looked at cardiovascular disease incidences across the globe, showed that while men in Crete had a predisposition for high cholesterol levels, relatively few died of heart disease because their diet focused on heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. Look for extra-virgin or virgin varieties—they’re the least processed—and use them instead of butter when cooking.  To read our list of healthiest cooking oils, click here.
  23. Beans and Legumes:  Fill up on fiber with lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans. They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber.
  24. Nuts:  Walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids and are full of mono- and polyunsaturated fat. Plus, nuts increase fiber in the diet and are a great source of healthy fat.
  25. Spinach:  Spinach can help keep heart healthy thanks to its stores of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber. Although increasing your intake of any veggies is sure to give your heart a boost.  In a wide-range study over 12 years, men who ate at least 2.5 servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by about 25%, compared with those who didn’t eat the veggies. Each additional serving reduced risk by another 17%.
  26. Soy: Is known to lower cholesterol, and since it is low in saturated fat, it’s still a great source of lean protein in a heart-healthy diet. Natural sources of soy are: edamame, tempeh, or organic silken tofu. Also soy milk is a great addition to a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal.  Just keep an eye out of added sodium in certain soy products. (Disclaimer: The scientific community is split on whether soy products are good or bad for health, with half of studies praising soy products and the other half disagreeing- we will let you decide for yourself how you feel about them.)
  27. Lima Beans: Are high in soluble fiber which slows digestion and prevents blood sugar from rising too quickly after you eat.  Just don’t eat them raw because they are toxic uncooked.
  28. Bitter Melon:  This vegetable looks like a cucumber with warts, and it’s an Indian folk remedy for diabetes. As the name implies, bitter melon has a taste that’s a long way from sweet but it can be cooked or added to other dishes. In one study, supplements of bitter melon juice improved the glucose tolerance of 73% of patients with Type 2 diabetes.
  29. Peanuts: eat a handful of peanuts or a Peanut butter because the fat, fiber and protein in these nuts can stave off blood sugar spikes. A study found that women who ate peanut butter (or an ounce of nuts) five or more times a week lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 30%.  Just be mindful of portion control because peanuts are high in calories.
  30. Cabbage: is low in calories and high in fiber, with a glycemic index rating of near zero, meaning that it converts to sugar very slowly in the body.
  31. Vinegar:  vinegar has long been used to cure a wide range of ailments. The acetic acid in vinegar (the compound that’s responsible for its tart taste and smell) helps stabilize blood sugar levels after eating.  So pick salad dressings that have a vinegar base for added benefits.
  32. Okra: is a low glycemic index food and it is low in calories. Okra contains a great deal of soluble fiber, which slows digestion of carbohydrates in the intestinal tract and can help stabilize blood sugar.
  33. Cinnamon:  We praised it’s benefits in an article here. Cinnamon a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and helps lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin’s ability to respond to glucose in the blood. Sprinkle it on oatmeal, have it in tea form, sprinkle it on fruit!
  34. Prickly Pear/ Nopal: is one of the lowest foods on the glycemic index. Several studies in Mexico have shown blood sugar lowering effects.
  35. Grapefruit:  Not only do grapefruits have plenty of vitamin C, they also contain naringenin, an antioxidant that appears to cut the risk of developing insulin resistance.
  36. Celery: contains androsterone, an odorless hormone released through male perspiration that turns women on.
  37. Pumpkin seeds:  high in zinc which is essential for healthy sperm production and preventing testosterone deficiency in men.
  38. Olives: According to the ancient Greek, green olives made a man more virile, and black olives increased desire in women.
  39. Raw Almonds (and nuts in general): provide essental fatty acids that are necessary for the production of sex hormones in the body.
  40. Hot Chilis: The capsaicin in hot chilis promotes the release of chemicals that raise heart rate and release endorphins- which lead to increased libido!
  41. Watermelon: often referred to as “natural Viagra”, this fruit contains citrulline amino acid which is good for the cardiovascular system and helps relax the blood vessels that increase sex drive.
  42. Greek Yogurt:  It contains about twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and the protein you get from eating dairy helps skin become firmer, so it’s more resistant to lines.
  43. Kidney Beans:  Are known to zap zits!  They’re high in zinc, and studies indicate a correlation between blemishes and low zinc levels.
  44. Pomegranate:  They’re packed with polyphenol antioxidants which fight free radicals and regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it rosiness. Applied topically, they can reduce lines and moisturize.
  45. Sunflower Seeds:  Eat a handful daily because they are loaded with vitamin E, which keeps your skin supple by protecting its top layers from the sun. Apply topically to heels and lips to stay moisturized.
  46. Walnuts:  Walnuts contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which can improve skin’s elasticity. The nuts are also loaded with copper, a mineral that boosts collagen production. To read more health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, read our article here.
  47. Peppers (red, green, and yellow!): Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes. Also, studies found that carotenoids, the antioxidants in yellow and orange veggies, can decrease skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
  48. Nuts and Seeds: researchers from the University of Barcelona found that men and women eating almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts had higher levels of serotonin metabolites. In addition, just one ounce of mixed nuts a day may also help reduce obesity, blood pressure and blood sugar.
  49. DHA: is a particular form of omega-3 fatty acid that can be found in many foods. But including organic DHA-fortified eggs in the diet will also provide a good source of protein and tryptophan. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that when people eat eggs for breakfast, they feel more satisfied and therefore consume fewer calories throughout the day compared to a high-carbohydrate breakfast, such as a bagel.
  50. Mussels: loaded with some of the highest naturally occurring levels of brain-protecting vitamin B12 on the planet. That makes it an important food source, considering that a significant portion of the U.S. population is B12 deficient.  Maintaining healthy B12 levels preserves the myelin sheath that insulates your brain cells, helping your brain stay sharp as you grow older. Mussels also contain trace nutrients that are important to balancing your mood, including zinc, iodine, and selenium, things vital to keeping your thyroid, your body’s master mood regulator, on track.
  51. Almonds: A good source of magnesium, which helps the muscles in your body to slow down and relax.  As soon as your muscles relax, so does your brain- which means sleep!  Almonds also contain a protein which stabilizes blood sugar, leading to more restful sleep.
  52. Chamomile Tea: This tea has been used for centuries as a natural sleep-aid because of its widely known soothing effects on anxiety.
  53. Onions: For centuries, Eastern cultures have taught that onions improve brain function associated with memory and focus.  Today, science proves that the anthocyanin and quercetin compounds in onions prevent Alzheimer’s.
  54. Apples: The peel of the apple contains a powerful antioxidant called quercetin that enhances memory function. Apples are the convenient fruit for diabetics. They’re low-GI, available throughout the year and a great, easy snack to pack for work or school. Apples are high in pectin, a soluble fibre which helps to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels and bowel function, and also has an anti-inflammatory affect which may help diabetics to recover from infections faster. We wrote about the health benefits of apples here.
  55. Popcorn:  Pop your way to better memory! Popcorn contains vitamins B6, B12, and E- known to enhance focus and brain power.
  56. Tomatoes: Contain Lycopene which is known to prevent free-radical damage to cells- a known factor behind Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  57. Cabbage and Kale:  Because of it’s antiviral and antibacterial properties, cabbage cleanses the digestive tract. Also contain many anti-cancer and antioxidants that help the liver cleanse and break down excess hormones.
  58. Beets:  Contain a potent mixture of phytochemicals and minerals that make them liver cleansers, infection fighters, and blood purifiers. Beets boost the body’s cellular intake of oxygen, making beets excellent overall body cleansers.
  59. Cranberries:  Are filled to the brim with powerful antibiotic and antiviral substances to help cleanse the body of viruses and bacteria in the urinary tract.
  60. Lemons: Great at detoxifying the liver. Contain more than 20 cancer-fighting substances that fight the effects of pollution and cell damage.
  61. Seaweed: Seaweed binds to radioactive waste and heavy metals in the body, helping to eliminate them.
  62. Fresh Garlic:  Gets Rid of intestinal parasites, harmful bacteria, and viruses from the blood and intestines. Helps lower blood pressure by cleansing the arteries, and cleanses the respiratory tract by diminishing mucus buildup.
  63. Wheat Bran: High in fiber, not only can it help you fight fat, it turns out the nutrient can also help you feel more awake. Researchers at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who ate high-fiber wheat bran cereal suffered less emotional distress, experienced fewer cognitive difficulties, and were less fatigued than their counterparts who did not eat as much fiber. Participants had 10% more energy.
  64. Milk: Adults up to age 50 need 1,000 milligrams per day. Beginning at age 51, women need 1,200 milligrams every day, and when men hit 71, they need to hit that mark, too. The pop star of calcium sources is undoubtedly milk. A single 8-ounce cup of milk, whether skim, low-fat, or whole, has 300 milligrams of calcium.
  65. Sardines: These tiny fish, often found in cans, have surprisingly high levels of both vitamin D and calcium. Eating 3 ounces of canned sardines delivers a little more calcium than a cup of milk. They are great on salads!
  66. Salmon: Salmon is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but a 3-ounce piece of this pink fleshed fish contains more than 100% of your vitamin D. So eat up for your heart and your bones. Fish oil supplements have also been shown to reduce bone loss in women and may help prevent osteoporosis.
  67. Collard Greens: This southern cooking favorite is a leafy green that’s packed with calcium. One cup of cooked collards contains more than 25% of your daily calcium or about 200 milligrams.
  68. Cheese: This one should be enjoyed in moderation… Just because cheese is full of calcium doesn’t mean you need to eat it in excess (packing on the pounds won’t help your joints!). Just 1.5 ounces (think a set of dice) of cheddar cheese contains more than 30% of your daily value of calcium.
  69. Tuna: this fatty fish is a good source of vitamin D. Three ounces of canned tuna contains 154 IU, or about 39% of your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin.
  70. Tofu: Half a cup of calcium-enriched tofu contains over 400 milligrams of calcium. Soy milk is usually fortified with 300 milligrams of calcium per cup. Soy has other bone-building benefits, too. New research suggests plant-based chemicals called isoflavones strengthen bone.(Disclaimer: The scientific community is split on whether soy products are good or bad for health, with half of studies praising soy products and the other half disagreeing- we will let you decide for yourself how you feel about them.)
  71. Nuts: Peanuts and almonds contain potassium, which protects against the loss of calcium in urine. Nuts also contain protein and other nutrients that play a supportive role in building strong bones.
  72. Avocado Oil:  Buttery avocado oil is loaded with monounsaturated fat, the kind considered to be heart-healthy because of its powers to improve cholesterol numbers. This fruit oil also supplies lutein, an antioxidant that improves eye health, and studies have determined that the oil can boost salad’s potency by improving the absorption of fat-soluble antioxidants such as beta-carotene present in vegetables.
  73. Hemp Oil:  this earthy-tasting oil pressed from hemp seeds abounds in essential fatty acids such as omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, which studies show reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Hemp oil also delivers gamma linolenic acid, an omega 6 that emerging research says can improve skin health by reducing conditions like roughness and dryness.
  74. Coconut Oil:  Perhaps the most misunderstood – and also one of the healthiest – oils you can consume.  Coconut oil is rich in healthy saturated fats and antioxidants, and has been found to promote brain health, boost immunity, and strengthen thyroid function. It is an amazingly-versatile, nutrient-dense superfood that is the richest known source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which aid in the proper digestion and assimilation of fats, as well as boost energy levels.
  75. Red Palm Oil: Is a cousin to the popular tropical coconut oil, this brightly colored oil is laced with antioxidants, including vitamin E and carotenoids such as beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. In the body, beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A, which is used to promote eye, bone, and immune health. Higher intakes of alpha-carotene, on the other hand,are protective against mortality from heart disease.
  76. Grapeseed Oil: Is a byproduct of winemaking and has a clean, light flavor and is a good source of both vitamin E and oleic acid, a fat that may help slash stroke risk by up to 73%, according to a recent study in the journal Neurology. Further, scientists have found that oleic acid may curb hunger pangs by being converted into an appetite-quelling hormone.
  77. Sesame Oil: Popular in Asian cooking, sesame oil has a pungent flavor that makes it a favorite in many foods. And the great news is that it is also beneficial to health, having been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Sesame oil is also rich in iron, calcium, and magnesium, the latter of which is known for its incredible calming effect. Because it is rich in polyunsaturated fats, sesame oil helps contribute to cognitive sharpness, proper fat absorption, a lowered risk of heart disease, healthy skin, and strong teeth and bones.
  78. Flaxseed Oil
: Flaxseed oil, which comes from the seed of the flax plant, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat. In fact, it contains more inflammation-reducing omega-3s than fish oil and is one of the few vegetarian sources of the nutrient- this aids with joint pain and can alleviate exercise induced asthma.
  79. Almond Oil: Made by pressing the oil out of ground almond paste, almond oil has a mild nutty flavor and pale yellow hue. It’s plush in monounsaturated fat (like olive and avocado oil), vitamin E, and phytosterols, plant compounds shown to improve cholesterol numbers. Can also be used as a natural skin moisturizer!
  80. Walnut Oil
: Other than flaxseed oil, walnut oil is one of the few concentrated plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that omega-3s in walnuts and walnut oil help reduce cholesterol levels and the body’s biological response to stress. People who have extreme responses to stress are at higher risk for heart disease, so walnut oil can help curb heart disease long term.
  81. Jicama: a slightly sweet and crisp root vegetable high in potassium, which helps to reduce high blood pressure.
  82. Broccoli: packed with sulforaphane and other antioxidants that help to protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.
  83. Beets: Contain betaine and anthocyanins, which is proven to significantly reduce inflammation and protect cells from aging.
  84. Sweet Potatoes: contain beta-carotene which contains heart-healthy Vitamin A.  It is also very good for skin health.
  85. Bananas: It is a must-have food if you are suffering with diarrhea, because it helps to restore the amount of electrolytes and potassium that are lost during the passing of stools.
  86. Cantaloupe: This fruit is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and myoinositol, in addition to a large amount of digestive enzymes. It also contains powerful agents that help to fight against intestinal cancer. Besides, it helps relieve anxiety, insomnia and prevents hardening of the arteries.
  87. Cod liver oil: is loaded with vitamin A and vitamin D. The presence of these vitamins is crucial to keep the digestive tract healthy and also prevents in the development of various digestive problems in the GI tract. Make sure the oil you get is from a reputable health food store and does not come from farmed cod but wild instead.
  88. Kiwi: People with digestive dysfunction should consume kiwi fruit, as it is loaded with linolenic acid, actinidin, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and other fatty acids. All these elements together ease the functioning of digestion, as kiwi includes pepsin. Pepsin is substantially needed for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
  89. Mushrooms:  these fungi possess two big weapons you need this flu season: selenium, which helps white blood cells produce cytokines that clear sickness, and beta glucan, an antimicrobial type of fiber, which helps activate “superhero” cells that find and destroy infections.
  90. Strawberries:  The vitamin C found in strawberries is immune boosting and studies show it can reduce the intensity and duration of cold and flu. One cup of strawberries provides 160 percent of your daily needs.
  91. Peanut butter: This fulfilling and irresistible snack always satisfies your sweet tooth and tummy. Aim for all-natural peanut butter, which usually contains peanuts, salt, and maybe one other ingredient. Even though it is heavy in fat, peanut butter has some other essential nutrients as well, like a fair amount of protein and some vitamins and minerals. You can never go wrong having a toast with peanut butter as a quick breakfast; or you can also just grab a spoon full of peanut butter before a morning jog or a post-workout.
  92. Low-fat cheese: Everybody loves cheese. We all snack on it and add it to all our meals. Mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, Swiss, cottage, Monterey Jack, provolone – all very enjoyable cheeses, but aim for reduced-fat or low-fat versions. The best ways to have your cheese would be sliced, string or shredded cheese so as to promote portion awareness and serving size, and so you do not eat more than you should.
  93. Chia Seeds: these little seeds are full fiber and omega-3, keeping you feeling full and hydrated.
  94. Honey: This is a food that many people know and even many use but many don’t know that it can be used to relax the body and the mind. Honey is known to contain high in tryptophan, which helps to reduce anxiety and relax the nerve. In addition to this, honey is also known to be rich in potassium which has a soothing relieve on the brain and also the body. Potassium helps to fight off stress hormones in the body and acids to relax the nervous system.
  95. Coffee: Full of antioxidants, coffee is good for the heart and burning fat.
  96. Papaya: full of digestive enzymes, this tropical fruit is also an anti-inflammatory food.
  97. Coconut: Contains Lauric acid which has antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal functions. May help protect against alcohol damalge to the liver  by normalizing body lipids and improving the body’s immune system’s anti-inflammatory response.  Use coconut oil when cooking!
  98. Prunes:  The soluble fiber in prunes help normalize blood sugar levels. It does this by slowing the rate digested food leaves the stomach, thereby delaying the absorption of glucose.
  99. Guavas:  This tropical fruit has a low GI of 20 and high in fibre – the perfect combination to keep your blood sugar levels steady and your energy sustained. Guavas also contain about four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange.
  100. Apricots:  With a GI of only 31, it is low in sugar and has nutrients that can help protect the heart and eyes, as well as provide the disease-fighting effects of fiber.

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