A healthy food can be defined as any food that is considered especially beneficial, but does not contain significant amounts of unhealthy fats. This list of the most healthy foods provides all of the right nutrition to help you build strong muscles as well as healthy bones, and they’ll help you feel better in general.
Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and as it turns out, she was right. Many of the world’s best and most healthy foods come in vegetable form.
- Avocadoes – Deliciously creamy and great in a variety of recipes, avocadoes are packed with monounsaturated fat that your athletic body can easily burn for energy. Avocadoes also contain more than 20 health-boosting nutrients, which include but are not limited to folic acid, potassium, vitamin E, and B vitamins.
- Cucumbers – Despite the fact that cucumbers are more than 95% water, they contain many vitamins and minerals that your body needs. These include things like vitamins C, K, and B5, potassium, magnesium, fiber, manganese, and fiber. Cucumbers also contain substances called lignans that bind to estrogen-related bacteria in the digestive system and reduce your risk for certain types of cancers, including prostate cancer.
- Greens (any type) – Dark, leafy greens are some of the absolute best food sources out there. They contain vitamins and minerals that are difficult to get from other food sources, which include vitamin K1, which does wonders for vein and artery health. Some of the most vitamin and nutrient-dense greens out there include watercress, kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, escarole, mustard greens, and spinach.
When you’re craving something sweet, do your best to pass up a bowl of ice cream or a slice of chocolate cake for one of these nutrient and vitamin-rich fruits. Many of the fruits you know and love work wonders in the body.
- Bananas – Bananas are often called the world’s most perfect food, and it has a number of awesome benefits, too. They are loaded with potassium, which can help ward off muscle fatigue, and they also contain large amounts of vitamin B6. They help replenish your body’s electrolyte stores, regulate digestion, and help keep blood sugar low.
- Berries – Berries contain the highest concentrations of molecules known as phytochemicals, which can help protect your body from cancer, heart disease, and even seasonal allergies. What’s more, berries can boost your immunity, improve your overall lipid profile, and protect you from premature aging. They’re packed with antioxidants, too, which can help fight off free radicals and keep your bodily tissues healthy.
- Cherries – Cherries are also loaded with antioxidants, but aside from this, they offer outstanding performance and recovery benefits for athletes and bodybuilders. Those who consume tart cherry juice regularly had far less muscle pain after just one week. That’s because cherries reduce inflammation naturally.
- Tomatoes – Many people believe that tomatoes are a type of vegetable, but they’re scientifically classified as fruit – berries, to be exact. They’re packed with phytochemicals, lutein, vitamins C, A, E, and B, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and other healthy molecules. Tomatoes are a phenomenal source of lycopene, which is a very powerful carotenoid antioxidant that is particularly helpful for athletes.
Fruits and vegetables are indeed some of the most healthy foods out there. Believe it or not, there are some excellent sources of protein – particularly in fish and nuts – that also make the list.
- Almonds – Almonds are by far one of the best and most nutritious foods that any athlete can add to his or her diet. A single serving contains six grams of protein – more than any other tree nut – and they also provide plenty of niacin, vitamin E, calcium, and fiber.
- Eggs (whole) – A single egg offers up 7g of protein for just a little more than 150 calories, which is quite the tradeoff. Half the protein is in the yolk, so be sure to consume the whole egg for fear of cholesterol, which can help boost your testosterone levels naturally when consumed in moderation.
- Salmon – No list of the most healthy foods would be complete without a mention of the many health benefits provided by salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and selenium in the fish work together to help make insulin work better. The proteins found in salmon are easily digested and used in the body to build muscle, and it also contains nutrients like iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It’s one of the best natural sources of selenium, which is necessary for building muscle tissue.
- Spirulina – Spirulina is blue-green algae that’s found in sources of fresh water. It is one of the world’s best sources of GLA, or gamma-linoleic acid, which science has shown to be the most powerful all-natural anti-inflammatory agent in nature. What’s more, a single ounce of spirulina contains 16g of protein. It’s almost flavorless and is perfect when added to smoothies and other drinks.
Surprisingly Healthy Foods
There are a few other foods out there that can go a long way toward helping you reach your health and fitness goals. While they don’t fit the fruit, vegetable, or protein classifications in this list of most healthy foods, they still provide nutrients that any athletic body needs.
- Dark Chocolate – Everyone likes a little chocolate from time to time, so the next time you’re tempted to give into a craving, choose a dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao. It is rich in flavonoids, which are certain types of antioxidants shown to help improve blood flow, decrease blood pressure, and improve overall cardiovascular health.
- Red Wine – When consumed in moderation (one 5oz glass per day), red wine offers numerous health benefits. The antioxidants you get from red wine increase your HDL levels, which in turn protect against artery damage and may even help prevent heart disease.
This list of some of the most healthy foods in the world represents the absolute best of the best from each category of food that athletes consume on a daily basis. Though there are others, the delicious and readily-available foods found here will help you sculpt the body you’ve always wanted – and keep it healthy at the same time.