Fish and seafood

Fish and other seafood can be healthy and nutritious. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids and iodine.

Research suggestsTrusted Source that eating oily fish can boost a person’s heart and brain health.


Salmon is a type of oily fish that is tasty and high in nutrients, including protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains some vitamin D.


Sardines are small, oily, and highly nutritious fish. They provide many nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D.

29. Shellfish

Shellfish are nutrient dense and make a tasty light meal. Edible shellfish include clams, mollusks, and oysters. Be sure to get them from a reputable source to ensure they are fresh and toxin-free.


Shrimp is a type of crustacean related to crabs and lobsters. It tends to be low in fat and calories but high in protein. It also provides selenium and vitamin B12.Trout

Trout is another type of delicious freshwater fish, similar to salmon.

32. Tuna

Tuna tends to be low in fat and calories and high in protein. It’s perfect for people who need to add more protein to their diets but keep calories low.

Be sure to buy low mercury varieties that are responsibly sourced.

33–35: Grains

Whole grains play an important role in your diet because they are healthy carbs and provide a variety of micronutrients, fiber and, fuel for your body.

They may also help with weight management.

33. Brown rice

Rice is a staple food for much of the world’s population. Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, with decent amounts of fiber, vitamin B1, and magnesium.

34. Oats

Oats provide nutrients and powerful fibers called beta glucans. Glucans provide numerous benefits, including helping lower cholesterol and feed beneficial bacteria in the gut.

35. Quinoa

Quinoa is a tasty grain that’s high in nutrients such as fiber and magnesium. It is also an excellent source of plant-based protein.

36–37: Breads

Whole grain breads can be high in fiber and other nutrients, and are a better choice than highly processed white bread.

When buying bread, compare product labels and look for those with the most dietary fiber and the least added sugar.

If you make your own bread, you’ll know exactly what goes into it. A bread making machine can help if you’re not sure about baking.

36. Ezekiel bread

Ezekiel bread is made from organic sprouted whole grains and legumes.

37. Homemade low-carb and gluten-free breads

If you’re looking for low-carb or gluten-free breads, you might want to consider making your own. Here’s a list of 15 recipes for gluten-free, low carb breads.

38–41: Legumes

Legumes are a great plant-based source of protein, iron, and fiber.

Legumes can sometimes interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption, but soaking and properly preparing them can reduce this risk.

38. Green beans

Green beans, also called string beans, are an unripe variety of the common bean. Use them whole as a side dish or add them cold to salads.

39. Kidney beans

Kidney beans contain fiber and various vitamins and minerals. Make sure to cook them properly, because they’re toxic when raw.

40. Lentils

Lentils are another popular legume. They’re high in fiber and a good source of plant-based protein.

41. Peanuts

Peanuts are, in fact, legumes, not true nuts. They are tasty and high in nutrients and antioxidants. One studyTrusted Source has concluded that peanuts can aid in weight loss and may help manage blood pressure.

However, if you’re monitoring your calorie intake, you may want to be mindful of your consumption of peanut butter, which is very high in calories and easy to eat in large amounts.

42–44: Dairy

For those who can tolerate them, dairy products are a healthy source of various important nutrients.

42. Cheese

single slice of cheese may offer about the same amount of nutrients as an entire cup (240 ml) of milk. It’s also a tasty addition to many dishes and can replace meat as a protein food. However, it can be high in fat.

There are many types of cheese, with different flavors and textures. Opt for less processed varieties of cheese.

43. Dairy milk

Dairy milk contains vitamins, minerals, protein, and calcium.

2022 reviewTrusted Source concluded that people who consume dairy products are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than those who don’t. However, full-fat dairy may increase the risk of CVD and some cancers.

44. Yogurt

Yogurt is made from milk that is fermented through the addition of live bacteria. It has many of the same health effects as milk, but yogurt with live cultures has the added benefit of friendly probiotic bacteria.

45–46: Fats and oils

Dietary patterns that include unsaturated fats and oils are considered very healthy.

45. Extra-virgin olive oil

Extra-virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest vegetable oils. It contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and is high in antioxidants that have powerful health benefits.

46. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it contains MCTs and may have similar health effects to olive oil.

However, coconut oil has been shown to increase LDLTrusted Source (bad) cholesterol to a greater degree than other plant-based liquid oils, so it’s best to use it in moderation.

47–48: Tubers

Tubers are the storage organs of some plants. As foods, they are called root vegetables.

47. Potatoes

Potatoes provide potassium and contain a little of almost every nutrient you need, including vitamin C. With their jackets, they are also a good source of fiber.

Potatoes contain moreTrusted Source water and are less energy-dense than pasta and rice, and can leave you feeling full, so that you don’t need to eat more. As a result, they may help with weight loss.

48. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin A, and other essential nutrients. Eat them baked, mashed, or added to other dishes.

49. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar may help regulate postmeal blood sugar levels when consumed with a meal, though more evidence is needed on its effectiveness.

It’s great to use as a salad dressing or to add flavor to meals.

50. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants known as flavonoids that may help manageTrusted Source cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, the amount of chocolate that is usually healthy to eat is not enough to provide significant benefits.

The American Heart AssociationTrusted Source recommends eating chocolate but in moderation and for enjoyment rather than its health benefits.

Frequently asked questions

What are the 20 most healthy foods?

Research from 2021 developed a scoring system of food based on 54 attributes covering these nine domains: nutrient ratios, vitamins, minerals, food ingredients, additives, processing, specific lipids, fiber and protein, and phytochemicals. Based on the mean values of this scoring system, the healthiest food categories are:

  1. legumes
  2. vegetables
  3. fruit
  4. fish and seafood
  5. sauce condiment
  6. dairy
  7. mixed dishes
  8. beverages
  9. grains
  10. meat, poultry, eggs
  11. fats and oils
  12. savory snacks and sweet desserts

Of course, whether a particular food is healthier than another ultimately depends on the exact food and any specific ingredients it may contain. It’s a good idea to consult a dietician to determine exactly what foods are best for you.