The 100 Healthiest Foods

In the fast-paced world of nutrition research, it seems like a hot discovery hits the news every week. So we asked prominent scientists doing groundbreaking work on how edibles stave off illness to pin down the 100 most nutrient-packed foods.  To make our list, a food had to be very rich in at least one vitamin, mineral or other compound known to protect against cancer, heart disease or other diseases.  Be supermarket smart and use this list as your shopping list.  you body will be glad you did!

GLOSSARY OF HEALTHY-FOOD TERMS:

THE 100 HEALTHIEST FOODS

Fruit

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(1) Apples 1 medium apple:
81 calories, 0 g fat
An apple's 3 g of fiber help you meet your fiber goal of 20 g to 30 g daily.  High-fiber diets can lower heart disease risk.
(2) Apricots 3 apricots:
51 calories, 0 g fat
A good source of beta-carotene (which is converted to vitamin A by the body), providing the equivalent of 35% of the RDA for vitamin A
(3) Bananas 1 medium:
105 calories, 0 g fat
Bananas are a great source of potassium, which plays a key role in heart health and muscle function.  Plus each one has 2 g of fiber.
(4) Blackberries 1 cup:
74 calories, 0 g fat
This fruit boasts a whopping 10 g of fiber in a single cup.
(5) Blueberries 1 cup:
81 calories, 0 g fat
Blueberries help prevent and treat bladder infections by making it hard for bacteria to stick to urinary tract walls.
(6) Cantaloupe 1 cup, cubed:
84 calories, 1 g fat
An antioxidant double whammy, with 68 mg of vitamin C and enough beta-carotene to cover 65% of your daily vitamin A quota.
(7) Cherries 1 cup:
84 calories, 1 g fat
A good source of perillyl alcohol, which helps prevent cancer in animals.  Heart-protective anthocyanins give cherries their color.
(8) Cranberry
juice
1 cup:
144 calories, 0 g fat
Fights bladder infections the same way blueberries do.
(9) Grapefruits 1/2 fruit:
39 calories, 0 g fat
A good source of vitamin C and a compound called naringenin, which helps suppress tumors in animals.
(10) Purple grapes
and juice
1 cup seedless:
113 calories, 9 g fat
Offer three heart-guarding compounds:  flavonoids, anthocyanins and resveratrol.  (Green grapes are not rich in them)
(11) Kiwi
fruit
1 medium kiwi:
46 calories, 0 g fat
Just one little fruit packs a mean vitamin-C punch (74 mg) and an impressive 2.8 g fiber.
(12) Mangoes 1 mango:
135 calories, 1 g fat
A single mango has enough beta-carotene to cover your RDA for vitamin A while racking up 57 mg of vitamin C.
(13) Oranges 1 orange:
61 calories, 0 g fat
One orange provides an impressive 50 g to 70 g of vitamin C, 40 mcg of folic acid and 52 mg of calcium.
(14) Orange
juice
1 cup:
112 calories, 0 g fat
One of the richest sources of folic acid: A cup provides one-quarter of the 400 mcg RDA for folic acid and boasts 96 mg of vitamin C.
(15) Calcium-
enriched orange juice
1 cup (from concentrate):
112 calories, 0 g fat
drinking this beverage is a healthful way to make a 300-350 mg dent in your daily 1500 mg calcium requirement.
(16) Papayas 1 cup, cubed:
55 calories, 0 g fat
Loaded with vitamin C (86 mg per cup), a healthy dose of fiber (2.5 g) and a sprinkling of beta-carotene and calcium.
(17) Prunes 1/3 cup, stewed:
87 calories, 0 g fat
Prunes' famed laxative effect is no mystery: There are 5 g of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) in just 1/3 cup.
(18) Raspberries 1 cup:
60 calories, 0 g fat
Teeming with 8 g of fiber per cup, they also boast vitamin C, ellagic acid and anthocyanins.
(19) Red
grapefruit
1/2 fruit:
37 calories, 0 g fat
All the goodies of white grapefruit and more: They provide up to 100% of the RDA for vitamin A and are also high in lycopene.
(20) Strawberries 1 cup, sliced:
50 calories, 0 g fat
Strawberries have high levels of ellagic acid and anthocyanins, and are rich in vitamin C (95 mg per cup) and fiber (3.8 g per cup).

Vegetables

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(21) Artichokes 1 medium:
60 calories, 0 g fat
In addition to their high fiber content (6 g), artichokes contain a flavonoid that has been shown to reduce skin cancer in animals.
(22) Arugula 1 cup:
5 calories, 0 g fat
A cruciferous (cabbage family) veggie, this tangy green contains cancer-preventative compounds such as isothiocyanates.
(23) Avocado 1/2 avocado:
170 calories, 13 g fat
Yes, they're high in fat, but fortunately half of it's the heart-healthy monounsaturated variety.  And they're a good source of vitamin E.
(24) Beets 1/2 cup, sliced:
37 calories, 0 g fat
Beta-cyanin, which gives beets their reddish-purple color, is a disease-fighting antioxidant.
(25) Bok choy 1 cup, cooked:
20 calories, 0 g fat
This staple of Chinese cuisine contains isothiocyanates, plus lots of calcium (158 mg per cup) and vitamin C (44 mg per cup).
(26) Broccoli 1 cup, cooked:
44 calories, 0 g fat
This super food is loaded with sulphoraphane.  Then there's the 72 mg of calcium, 78 mcg of folic acid and all the vitamin C.
(27) Broccoli
sprouts
1/2 cup:
10 calories, 0 g fat
As protective as broccoli is, these little sprouts may be even better.  They're sprouting up in health food stores and supermarkets.
(28) Brussels
sprouts
1/2 cup, cooked:
30 calories, 0 g fat
Along with good-for-you isothiocyanates and indoles, these vegetables give you an impressive 48 mg of vitamin C.
(29) Cabbage 1 cup raw, chopped:
22 calories, 0 g fat
The indoles in cabbage help make it a cancer fighter. For a healthy coleslaw, top shredded raw cabbage with low fat dressing.
(30) Cauliflower 1 cup, raw:
24 calories, 0 g fat
Another great source of indoles; plus it's high in fiber (2.5 g per cup) and vitamin C (72 mg per cup).
(31) Carrots 1 medium:
26 calories, 0 g fat
A stellar source of beta-carotene.  one carrot contains twice the RDA for vitamin A.  Cooked carrots are even healthier than raw.
(32) Celery 2 medium stalks:
13 calories, 0 g fat
Celery doesn't get much hype, but it's got the goods - namely phthalides, compounds that lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
(33) Garlic 1 clove:
5 calories, 0 g fat
Raw, cooked or granulated:  All forms contain cholesterol-fighting organosulfur compounds.
(34) Green
beans
1 cup, cooked:
43 calories, 0 g fat
Green beans carry a variety of antioxidant carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
(35) Green
pepper
1 medium:
32 calories, 0 g fat
One of the more vitamin C-rich vegetables - 66 mg per pepper - and it's got a little capsaicin, too (see peppers, below).
(36-39) Greens
(collard, kale, 
mustard, turnip)
1 cup, cooked:
29 to 49 calories,
0 to 1 g fat
These greens are packed with disease fighters:  lutein, zeaxanthin, and isothiocyanates and 93 to 226 mg of calcium per cup.
(40) Onions 1/2 cup, chopped:
30 calories, 0 g fat
They're important suppliers of the same heart-healthy organosulphur compounds that are found in garlic.
(41) Peas 1/2 cup, cooked:
67 calories, 0 g fat
A good source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin - both of which help protect against age-related eye disease.
(42)  Peppers
(hot)
1 pepper:
18 calories, 0 g fat
Their phytochemical claim to fame is capsaicin, which helps short-circuit the cancer process.
(43)  Potato
(white)
(1) 7 oz. potato:
220 calories, 0 g fat
Don't peel it, and you get a generous 5 g of fiber, 43% of the day's vitamin C requirement and a major dose of potassium.
(44) Pumpkin 1/2 cup, canned:
41 calories, 0 g fat
Gives you three times the RDA for vitamin A and 3/5 g of fiber.  Use canned pumpkin to make pumpkin bread, risotto and soup.
(45) Radishes 4 radishes:
4 calories, 0 g fat
The beginning of the bite is cool, but soon things get hot; chewing activates the veggies' indoles and isothiocyanates.
(46) Romaine
and other dark
lettuce
2 cups, shredded:
18 calories, 0 g fat
The darker the green, the more carotenoids.  These lettuces are also high in folic acid: There's 40% of the RDA in 2 cups of romaine.
(47) Peppers,
red, sweet
1 pepper:
32 calories, 0 g fat
An improved version of the already top-notch green pepper, with twice its vitamin C content and a day's supply of vitamin A.
(48) Seaweed 1 cup:
32 calories, 0 g fat
Seaweed is carotenoid and calcium-rich and has a delicate taste.
(49) Spinach 1 cup, cooked:
41 calories, 0 g fat
Offers enough beta-carotene to surpass the RDA for vitamin A, a ton of lutein and more than half the RDA for folic acid.
(50) Squash
(winter types,
butternut)
1 cup, cooked:
82 calories, 0 g fat
Not only does a cup equip you with three day's worth of vitamin A but it fulfills nearly 10% of your daily calcium needs.
(51) Tomatoes 1 tomato:
26 calories, 0 g fat
Technically considered a fruit, tomatoes are loaded with cancer-fighting lycopene and are great sources of vitamin C.
(52) Turnips 1 cup, cooked, cubed:
32 calories, 0 g fat
Neglected members of the cruciferous family, turnips provide both indoles and isothiocyanates and 3 g fiber.
(53) Watercress 2 cups:
8 calories, 0 g fat
One of its compounds detoxifies a major carcinogen in tobacco and as such may help prevent lung cancer.  Also contains carotenoids.
(54) Yams,
sweet potatoes
1/2 cup, mashed:
103 calories, 0 g fat
They win the carotenoid prize, with astonishing levels amounting to six times the RDA for vitamin A.

Tea, Herbs
and Spices

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(55) Chives 1 tbsp:
1 calorie, 0 g fat
A member of  the same family as garlic, chives contain cholesterol-lowering organosulfides.
(56) Cinnamon 1/2 tsp:
3 calories, 0 g fat
Recent research found that 1/4 tsp to 1 tsp of cinnamon daily improves insulin function and, in turn, blood-sugar control.
(57) Ginger (5) 1 inch slices:
8 calories, 0 g fat
Helps quell nausea and may reduce joint inflammation in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
(58) Horseradish 1 tsp prepared
horseradish:
2 calories, 0 g fat
Whether it's fresh, jarred or in the sharp green wasabi served with sushi, horseradish is infused with anticancer isothiocyanates.
(59) Mint 2 tbsp:
5 calories, 0 g fat
Spearmint, the type normally found in the fresh herb section of your grocery, is rich in covone, an antioxidant and anticarcinogen.
(60) Mustard 1/2 tsp mustard seed:
8 calories, 0 g fat
Both prepared yellow mustard and mustard seed contain health-protective isothiocyanates.
(61) Parsley 2 tbsp, chopped:
3 calories, 0 g fat
Parsley is a great source of several carotenoids: beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Try it in tabbouleh.
(62) Rosemary 1/2 tsp dried or 
1 tsp fresh
h:1 calorie, 0 g fat
Test-tube studies found that carnosol, a compound in rosemary, thwarts the action of carcinogens.
(63) Sage 1/2 tsp ground:
1 calorie, 0 g fat
Contains a variety of monoterpenes, substances that prevent the spread and progression of tumors.
(64) Tea,
black or green
1 cup:
2 calories, 0 g fat
Tea (regular and decaf) and its antioxidant catechins are linked to reduced heart-disease risk. Tea may also help inhibit cancer.
(65) Turmeric
(used in curry
spice)
1/2 tsp:
4 calories, 0 g fat
This spice gets its yellow color from compounds called curcumins, which have reduced the size of tumors in animals 50%.

Beans & Soy

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(66) Beans
(kidney, black,
navy)
1 cup, cooked:
220 to 270 calories,
0 g fat
A super rich fiber source, ranging from 6 g to 16 g per cup, depending on the variety.  Also high in iron.
(67) Soy milk 1 cup:
81 calories, 4 g fat
A cup has 20 mg to 25 mg of health-promoting isoflavones.
(68) Soy
protein isolate
powder
1 oz:
95 calories, 1 g fat
studies show that it takes 25 g of soy protein daily (the amount in just 1 1/4 oz to 3 oz of the powder, depending on the brand) to get a 10% drop in cholesterol.  Try blending it in a smoothie.
(69) Tofu 1/2 cup:
97 calories, 6 g fat
A rich source of isoflavones.  Studies indicate that 90 mg of isoflavones daily improves bone density; 1/2 cup of tofu has 30 g.
(70) Textured
vegetable
protein
1/2 cup, rehydrated:
60 calories, 0 g fat
This is the stuff that mimics meat in vegetarian chili.  TVP is one of the richest sources of isoflavones, at 40 mg per 1/2 cup.

Dairy

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(71) Cheese
(full fat)
1 oz:
70 to 110 calories,
6 g to 9 g fat
One ounce packs 210 mg of calcium and a dose of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).  It's high in saturated fat; eat with low fat foods.
(72) Skim
milk
1 cup:
90 calories, 0 g fat
Our calcium lifeline at 300 mg per cup, and one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D, which is vital to calcium metabolism.
(73) Yogurt
(plain low fat
or nonfat)
1 cup low fat:
150 calories, 3.5 g fat
Those friendly bacteria (called probiotics) in yogurt help boost immunity and prevent yeast infections.

Meat

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(74) Beef 3 oz, cooked:
150 to 280 calories,
5 g to 20 g fat
Beef is a good source of both CLA and iron, but since it's also high in saturated fat, have it no more than three times a week.
(75) Chicken,
without skin
3 oz, cooked:
162 calories, 6 g fat
Remove the skin and you've got an excellent, low fat source of protein.  And 3 oz provides 38% of the RDA for the B vitamin niacin.
(76) Lamb 3 oz, cooked, trimmed
of fat:
175 calories, 8 g fat
Lamb, like beef, is also a good source of CLA.  Ditto beef's saturated fat warning and weekly consumption recommendation.
(77) Lean
pork
3 oz, cooked, trimmed
of fat:
140 calories, 4 g fat
Fat-trimmed pork tenderloin has one-third less fat than even lean beef.  And it boasts 71% of the RDA for thiamine.

Seafood

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(78) Fatty fish
(salmon, mackerel)
3 oz, cooked:
155 to 225 calories,
5 g to 15 g fat
The richest source of the heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, considered the most potent.
(79) Other
fish
3 oz, cooked:
about 100 calories,
1 g fat
Omega-3's comprise the little bit of fat found in fish, plus fish are a good source of selenium, which is essential for immunity.
(80) Lobster 3 oz, cooked:
122 calories, 2 g fat
Try lemon juice instead of butter and you've got a virtually fat-free way to meet your daily selenium and copper requirements.
(81) Mussels 3 oz, cooked:
146 calories, 4 g fat
Mussels have two to three times as much iron as a burger, and completely cover you for selenium.
(82) Oysters,
Eastern
6 medium, steamed
(1 1/2 oz):
58 calories, 2 g fat
Just six oysters give you nearly five times the RDA for zinc, which is critical for immune function.

Nuts, Seeds, Oils

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(83) Almonds 1/2 oz (11 nuts):
83 calories, 7 g fat
A recent study showed that a daily 3 1/2 oz serving of almonds can lower LDL cholesterol 14%.
(84) Brazil
nuts
1/2 oz (4 to 4 nuts):
93 calories, 9 g fat
Just three to four nuts deliver an astronomical 420 mcg of selenium, eight times the recommended daily amount.
(85) Peanut
butter
2 tbsp:
200 calories, 16 g fat
Eating five ounces of nuts weekly reduces heart-disease risk. Buy peanut butter without partially hydrogenated oils.
(86) Sunflower
seeds
1/4 cup:
205 calories, 18 g fat
One of the richest sources of vitamin E (besides oils), with an impressive 6 IUs in just 1/4 cup.
(87) Tahini 1 tbsp:
89 calories, 8 g fat
Amazingly, 1 tbsp of the stuff has got 64 mg of calcium, 1.3 mg of iron and nearly one mg of zinc.  And it's a good source of  protein.
(88) Walnuts 1 oz (14 halves):
182 calories, 17 g fat
Walnuts are exceptionally rich in an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which helps protect against heart disease.
(89) Canola
oil
1 tbsp:
124 calories, 14 g fat
The only cooking oil that's rich in the two healthiest fats: monounsaturated and omega-3's.  It's a good all-purpose oil.
(90) Flaxseed
oil
1 tbsp:
124 calories, 14 g fat
It's rich in the vegetarian form of omega-3 fatty acids.  Mix with balsamic vinegar for a tasty salad dressing.
(91) Olive
oil
1 tbsp:
120 calories, 14 g fat
Besides its extremely high monounsaturated fat content, olive oil also contains a heart-healthy compound called squalene.

Grains

Fat/Calorie Breakdown

Body Benefits

(92) Barley 1/2 cup, cooked:
97 calories, 0 g fat
Barley is a great source of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan (also found in oats, below), which helps lower blood cholesterol.
(93) Bran
cereal
Varies by brand. 1/2 cup:
80 calories, 1 g fat
The easiest way to make inroads into that 20 to 30 g fiber recommendation.  These cereals range from 2 g to 9 g of fiber per serving.
(94) Flaxseed 1 tbsp seeds:
60 calories, 4 g fat
One of the richest sources of health-protective lignans and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
(95) Oats and
oat bran
1 cup:
88 calories, 2 g fat
Studies show that a cup of cooked oat bran or 1 1/2 cups oatmeal daily lowers cholesterol 5%.
(96) Rye
crackers
(1) 4 1/2 x 2 1/2" cracker (.5 oz):
37 calories, 0 g fat
Rye crackers are one of the few foods containing rye bran.  The bran has lignans and 2.5 g of fiber per 1/2 oz of crackers.
(97) Wheat
germ
1/4 cup wheat germ:
103 calories, 4 g fat
Wheat germ is rich in fiber, provides your daily selenium dose and is one of the few foods rich in vitamin E (7U of E per 1/4 cup).
(98) Whole
grains such as
bulgar
1 cup, cooked:
150 to 220 calories,
0 g to 2 g fat
Besides the lignans and vitamins, these grains supply complex carbs that mete out a slow, even supply of energy all day long.
(99) 100%
whole wheat
bread
2 slices: 
138 calories, 2 g fat
Each slice of 100% whole wheat bread has 1.5 g of fiber, plus other nutrients. Forget regular "wheat" bread.
(100) Whole
wheat pasta
1 cup, cooked:
174 calories, 1 g fat
It's got all the nutrients of whole wheat bread, and it's a great source of selenium as well.

by Janis Jibrin, R.D.
American Health