The 30 healthiest foods

There superpowered ingredients like these should be incorporating into our diets regularly.



Meaty and filling, as a stand-in for beef they can slash up to 400 calories from a meal. They may also protect against breast cancer by helping to regulate a woman’s estrogen levels.

Try this: Sauté sliced mushrooms and shallots until tender. Add a splash of white wine and cook until evaporated. Serve over roasted fish or chicken. Or try Grilled Steak, Mushroom, and Green Bean Salad.


Another high-fiber cholesterol fighter. On weeknights use the pearl or quick-cooking variety. More time? Give hulled barley, with its extra layer of bran, a go.

Try this: Add sautéed mushrooms and sherry vinegar to cooked barley. Or try Creamy Barley Salad With Apples.



Whole-Grain Pasta

Contains three times the amount of fiber per serving as the typical semolina variety. Skip pasta labeled “multigrain”: It may be made with a number of grains, but they aren’t necessarily whole ones.

Try this: Toss whole-grain pasta with pesto, chopped arugula, and grated lemon zest. Or try Whole-Wheat Spaghetti With Asparagus.


A surprisingly good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Those are the fats that lower the bad-for-you cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good-for-you kind (HDL).

Try this: For a healthy on-the-go snack, pack a handful of walnuts with some dried figs and a few anise seeds. (As the ingredients sit together, the anise releases flavor.) Or try Corn Salad With Feta and Walnuts.



Peanut and Almond Butters (All-Natural)

Heart-healthy monounsaturated fats abound in these protein-rich spreads. Opt for those with just two ingredients—nuts and salt.

Try this: Mix with soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar to make a quick Asian dipping sauce for chicken skewers. Or try Cold Noodle Salad With Peanut Butter Dressing.

Oatmeal (Steel-Cut or Old-Fashioned)

Holds cholesterol in check, helps fight against heart disease, and keeps you full until lunch, thanks to its soluble fiber.

Try this: For a savory breakfast, drizzle cooked oatmeal with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan.



Skim Milk

It offers nine essential nutrients: calcium, of course, but also B vitamins, which help neurological function, and vitamin D, a potential cancer fighter.

Try this: If you want a break from your regular morning coffee, warm a cup of skim milk with a dash of vanilla and ground cinnamon. Or try Low-Fat Fettuccine Alfredo.


It may cook like a grain, but quinoa is actually an herbaceous plant. It’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, and offers the same energy and satiety you would get from meat, sans the fat or cholesterol.

Try this: Stir fresh lemon juice and chopped fresh dill into cooked quinoa. Or try Spiced Cod With Broccoli-Quinoa Pilaf.






Packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which keep blood vessels healthy. The plant fibers help lower cholesterol.

Try this: Fold chopped almonds into cooked whole grains, along with raisins or dried currants. Or try Chickpea Pasta With Almonds and Parmesan.


A protein powerhouse, these are flush with folate, a nutrient that may prevent certain birth defects.

Try this: Toss cooked lentils with extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped celery, and fresh thyme. Serve over salad greens. Or try Spice-Baked Sea Bass and Red Lentils.




Packed with fiber, this superfruit was one of the top antioxidant-rich picks in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study.

Try this: Serve over vanilla frozen yogurt with a pinch of ground cardamom. Or try Frozen Blueberry Lemonade.


Made from wheat that has been steamed, dried, and cracked, this delivers more fiber than brown rice, plus you get a boost of potassium, B vitamins, and calcium.

Try this: Cook bulgur as you would oatmeal. Top it with honey and chopped nuts for breakfast or a hearty snack. Or try Minty Bulgur Salad With Salmon and Cucumbers.




The whites offer up protein with minimal calories (and zero fat or cholesterol). Egg yolks get a bad rap, but don’t skip them—they are awash with vitamin B12 and vitamin A, and they contain choline, a nutrient that’s particularly important for pregnant women.

Try this: Make a sandwich with whole-grain bread, sliced hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, red onion, and a drizzle of olive oil. Or try Steak and Eggs With Seared Tomatoes.


This protein-rich winner is an acquired taste for some, but totally worth it. Chockablock with vitamins D and B12, it is also an excellent source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Try this: Toss chopped sardines into a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh parsley.




You’ll get iron (for healthy hair), plus folate and at least a dozen flavonoids—compounds that are loaded with antioxidants.

Try this: Blend a handful of spinach into your favorite fruit smoothie. Or try Spinach-Stuffed Steak Roulades.

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The 30 healthiest foods

There superpowered ingredients like these should be incorporating into our diets regularly.

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