10 Foods to Eat for Healthy Living


You'll want to add these healthy foods to your meals, enjoy them on a regular basis as part of a varied and balanced diet.

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Our diet consists of micro and macro nutrients, which include vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. From a dietary perspective, the key to healthy living is variety and balance. With that in mind, we're sharing our top 10 foods to eat for healthy living—they offer unique tastes and a variety of nutrients and antioxidants to help you keep healthy from the inside and out.

From fruits—like blueberries, a fiber-rich food that supports heart and digestive health while also keeping you full—to nuts—including pistachios, which are one of the highest protein snack nuts and are a complete protein—you'll find a variety of snack-worthy options in the slides ahead. Even chickpeas, those versatile legumes that we all enjoy in soups, salads, stews, and pastas can be enjoyed as a healthy snack.

If you're looking to boost your health at mealtimes, start with with carbohydrates, one of three macronutrients in our diet. Potatoes might seem like an unlikely choice as a healthy food, but these nutrient-dense vegetables contain many essential nutrients and high-quality carbohydrates that work together to fuel the body and brain. Quinoa is another great option to work into lunches and dinners, as this superfood makes it easy for vegans and vegetarians to meet their body's protein needs. Healthy omegas from fish support our brain, eye, skin, heart, joint, and immune health. And don't forget about onions when you're looking to add flavor to your dishes! They also provide an anti-inflammatory boost.

Healthy choices don't just apply to main courses: The herbs and spices you use when preparing a dish can aid in your overall well-being, too. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich, parsley should never be underestimated—it's really so much more than a garnish. And you know what they say: Variety is the spice of life, and spices like cinnamon and turmeric add so much flavor to your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners without adding extra calories.

Be sure to add these 10 healthy foods to your diet, keep them in your pantry or refrigerator and incorporate them into meals on a regular basis.

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Adding blueberries to any meal has positive benefits. In fact, a recent study shows that one cup of blueberries may help counteract the potentially negative heart health effects of a high fat, high calorie meal—reducing insulin, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels in the 24 hours after the meal. Blueberries contain phytonutrients called polyphenols. This group includes anthocyanins, the plant compounds that give blueberries their beautiful blue color. Studies also show that fruits high in anthocyanins, like blueberries, are associated with a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Blueberries are a good source of fiber (3.6 grams per serving), which helps support heart health and digestive health, helping you feel full and stay regular.

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One serving of pistachios contains six grams of protein and three grams of fiber—this means they're one of the highest protein snack nuts. But their benefits go much further than that: Pistachios boast more than 30 different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including folate, iron, and copper. Plus, pistachios are also a complete plant protein and provide all nine essential amino acids. As part of a healthy diet, the American Diabetes Association calls nuts a "diabetes superfood" as they are heart-healthy snack. The green and red-purple colors come from antioxidants, which are vital to our overall health. Antioxidants fight free radicals that can do damage to the body's cells. Among nuts, pistachios have the highest content of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are very important antioxidants for eye health.

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What comes to mind when you think of vegetables? If you're only thinking leafy greens, it's time to think again! Potatoes are nutrient-dense vegetables and contain many essential nutrients and high-quality carbohydrates that work together to fuel the body and brain. At 110 calories per serving, potatoes deliver eight important nutrients—including potassium, fiber, protein, vitamins C and E, calcium, iron and magnesium—without any cholesterol, fat, or sodium. In fact, potatoes have more potassium than bananas and more vitamin C than tomatoes! And because nine out of 10 Americans don't eat enough vegetables every day, including potatoes in your diet may be an easy and delicious way to close the gap.

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five red onions
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A member of the allium family (which also includes garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives), onions owe their pungent odor to their sulfur-containing compounds. These compounds offer cardiovascular protection by acting as anti-clotting agents in the blood, as well as lowering blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Onions are also an excellent source of quercetin, a flavonoid that is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Quercetin also has anti-cancer benefits; in one study, people with a diet rich in onions and garlic showed a 20-fold lower cancer risk than those who do not consume the potent bulb. Plus, onions impart huge flavor and very few calories on your meals: Add chopped onions to salads and sauces or caramelize them and use in chilis, soups, burgers, or with eggs.

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fresh harvested artichokes
Johnny Miller

One of the most interesting and delicious vegetables, the artichoke is technically a flower bud that has not yet bloomed. This beautiful bud contains the heart—the meaty core of the artichoke which is topped by a fuzzy center, or choke. The choke is surrounded by rows of petals which protect the heart.

The artichoke is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables. High in fiber, artichokes can aid digestion as well as contribute positively to lowering cholesterol. In fact, one serving of artichokes provides greater antioxidant benefits per serving than other foods we consider as high in antioxidants, such as red wine or dark chocolate.

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John Kernick

The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish per week, but studies show that more than 70 percent of Americans do not meet that goal. Fish are an incredibly healthy addition to any diet: On top of being a great source of protein—a four-ounce serving has roughly 30 grams of muscle-building protein—your favorite fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are key for fighting chronic disease and inflammation as well as boosting immune, cognitive, and heart health. What's more, fish tends to be high in minerals like zinc, iron, selenium, and iodine.

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cooked quinoa in pot
Bryan Gardner

Quinoa is a high-protein seed (that we treat like a grain). It's packed with fiber, iron, magnesium, and riboflavin, and it also contains the antioxidants quercetin and kaempferol, which act as anti-inflammatory agents in the body. If you need more protein, you'll be pleased to know this is a great vegetarian option. A one cup serving of quinoa boasts eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber, which helps to keep you feeling fuller longer. Compared to white or brown rice, the fiber in quinoa also helps stabilize your blood sugar which is key to keep your mood and energy stable. Because of its slow-burning carbohydrates, it's superior to other refined grains.

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Arx0nt/Getty Images

Part of the legume family, chickpeas are a nutritional powerhouse. Also known as garbanzo beans, they are rich in fiber and protein—one cup of chickpeas contains 14.5 grams of protein and 12.5 grams of dietary fiber. They are also a complete protein, making them an excellent source of non-animal protein that is a total win for vegetarians and vegans. They are also brimming with vitamins and minerals including choline, which help nourish your brain and nervous system.

Incorporating chickpeas into your diet has benefits for your blood sugar, too. They are low on the glycemic index, so they won't make your blood sugar spike. This is very valuable for individuals who are prediabetic or diabetic.

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mix of spices in bowls
Peter Ardito

Using spices when cooking is a great way to add flavor without upping the calorie count. Spicing up a plain-but-healthy meal is good for your taste buds and your health. Cinnamon has heart-healthy benefits such as reducing high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which is why this spice is sometimes considered a superfood; studies support that consuming it can help reduce inflammation in the body which contributes to illness and even chronic pain.

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parsley varieties on blue cloth
Armando Rafael

Don't underestimate the power of parsley! Often used as a garnish, this herb does so much more than make your dish look colorful. It is the superstar of tabouli, a popular and traditional salad enjoyed across the Middle Eastern, and it has been shown to reduce symptoms of inflammation as it is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, A, and E. Additionally, parsley is also rich in vitamin K, which can help protect against bone fractures (it helps make the protein for bones and blood clotting).

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