All foods are valuable but some stand out for their incredible qualities. Enrich your diet with the world selection of champion foods.
Among the incredible diversity of products that the Earth offers, it is still possible to find nutritional treasures for the organism.
We have made a selection of healthy foods from all over the world, with an inevitably subjective criterion, which each reader can adapt or complete according to their preferences.
1. OLIVE OIL
The olive tree is the tree of Mediterranean cultures and its oil is one of its main contributions to the pantry of the best food on the planet.
The number of positive effects of olive oil impresses. It lowers bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, fights premature aging, regulates hypertension and is anti-carcinogenic…
As for its nutrients, in addition to monounsaturated fatty acids, the healthiest for the heart and circulatory system, it contains abundant antioxidant vitamin E.
The highest quality olive oil is extra virgin, obtained from low temperature pressure.
The best way to take advantage of its properties is to consume it raw, in salad or with bread, for example, but it is also the most suitable type of oil for frying.
The avocado appeared in the subtropical areas of Central America, where pre-Columbian peoples pioneered the selection and cultivation of edible varieties.
It was a basic ingredient in Aztec and Mayan meals, cultures that considered it a food with innumerable properties, including its supposed aphrodisiac power, which was a cause for concern among the ancient missionaries of the Indies (the Aztec word ahuacatl means “testicle“).
The avocado does not look like a fruit: it is not sweet, has a significant proportion of fatty acids (23% of the most recommended type, monounsaturated like olive oil) and provides vitamin E, in addition to vitamin C, vitamin B6, provitamin A and even proteins (2%).
Seaweed has been common ingredients in Eastern cuisines, especially in Japanese cuisine, since time immemorial. However, among us their consumption has not yet penetrated, although they have been collected for some years on the northern coasts of the peninsula.
They are worth trying, starting with agar-agar, the marine and vegetable alternative to animal gelatin, a soluble fiber extracted from algae of the genus Gelidium.
Classic algae enrich any recipe with considerable amounts of minerals (especially iodine, calcium and iron) and many trace elements, such as zinc, silicon, chromium or copper.
In addition, algae help reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood and keep weight under control.
Its organic acids such as alginic or fucanos drag and expel toxic agents that could accumulate in the body.
Kombu seaweed combines well with legumes and wakame, with an acceptable taste for those who are not used to seaweed, with rice, vegetables and soups. Dulse can be eaten raw and in soups, and sea spaghetti is the most nutritious.
Oats have been consumed for millennia in northern Europe.
Its abundance of proteins (13.5%), B vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids make it worthy of an important place in the diet.
It emphasizes its energetic power, is easily digested and is the basis of muesli.
5. FERMENTED CABBAGE
Sour cabbage, sauerkraut or fermented cabbage is a characteristic food of Central Europe.
Fermentation adds virtues to cabbage, which is already a very healthy food: it has proven anti-cancer effects.
Lactic acid fermentation multiplies the number of beneficial bacteria present in the intestine, which in turn improves nutrient absorption.
A serving of 200 g of fermented cabbage more than covers the daily dose of vitamin C of an adult, since it provides almost four times that needed.
It fully satisfies daily requirements for folic acid and two-thirds of vitamin A, and is also a remarkable source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, and B6.
It also provides substantial doses of iodine, zinc, copper and manganese.
From the culinary point of view, it combines well with potatoes, onions, carrots, rice, quinoa or millet.
Initially known as yang-tao, Chinese thorn grape or Chinese currant, kiwi seeds arrived at the beginning of the century on the island of New Zealand, where they were introduced as a botanical curiosity.
They found a new homeland there and were baptized with the name of a curious native bird without wings, brown and hairy appearance that is the national emblem.
New Zealand is currently the world’s leading producer and its kiwis reach us, although there are growers in Galicia, Cantabria and the Basque Country.
The most remarkable nutritional fact is the amount of vitamin C they contain: a single kiwi more than covers the daily needs.
Also significant is the abundance of folic acid (a piece of 100 grams provides 20% of daily needs), magnesium and vitamin E (10% in both cases) and fiber (it is laxative).
In the market there are also kiwis with yellow pulp and smooth skin: the kiwi gold, with a somewhat sweeter flavor.
To take advantage of its antioxidant qualities, it should be consumed naturally. This way its exquisite flavor is better appreciated and the vitamin content is obtained intact.
It has its origin in northwestern India, although it found fertile soil throughout Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for more than four thousand years and from where it has spread to all warm areas of the planet.
If anyone has the right to feel the king of tropical fruits, that is the mango, both for its excellent taste and surprising texture, and for its health advantages.
It is a fruit with great antioxidant power, as it provides significant amounts of the three most important anti-free radical nutrients, which help prevent degenerative diseases in general and especially heart problems, cancer and diabetes: 200 g of mango provide 30% of the daily needs of vitamin A, 100% of vitamin C and 23% of vitamin E.
To know if a mango is at its point you must smell: if it gives off a penetrating and pleasant aroma (similar to that of the peach) it is a sign that it is ripe.
Millets a traditional and staple food in Africa and Asia, not least because it grows quickly and resists high temperatures and droughts well.
It is not a new food among us, because all of Europe consumed it during the Middle Ages, before the American potato and corn appeared here, but today it is sold more as feed for domestic birds than as food for people.
The big reason to recover millet as a valuable cereal, apart from its culinary qualities, is its richness in iron (a serving of 60 g covers 46% of the needs of men and 30% of women) and magnesium (102 mg per 100 g).
In addition, its content of B vitamins (B1, B2 and folic acid) triples and sometimes quadruples that of other cereals.
It is recommended in cases of physical and mental weakness, and is excellent for strengthening the skin, hair, nails and teeth.
It is advisable to buy millet in small quantities and keep it in airtight containers to prevent it from becoming rancid.
9. OKRA OR OKRA OR OKRA
Produced by a plant similar to hibiscus and cotton, okras are small green pods that contain a characteristic mucilaginous and sticky juice that can be used as a thickener for soups.
It is believed that they appeared next to the Nile and the Egyptians were the first to cultivate them. From there the plant spread across the Mediterranean to the Balkans, reaching India, where it is currently a popular summer vegetable.
He also crossed the Atlantic to America carried by the Portuguese. The migrant population has contributed to the fact that it is already in our markets.
Its success is due to both its extraordinary taste and its salutary properties.
It highlights the hygienic action of its mucilage on the digestive system, as it helps prevent constipation and a multitude of disorders related to the excessive presence of toxins in the body.
In addition, it reduces cholesterol and promotes the growth of healthy bacterial flora.
Okras provide significant amounts of minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, and vitamins A, C, B6 and folic acid, so they are beneficial for the kidneys and fluid balance, as well as to strengthen the musculoskeletal, nervous and immune systems.
The best are the smallest and are usually consumed after light cooking or frying, although they can also be eaten raw.
Combine with tomatoes, onions, corn or peppers.
10. QUINOA AND AMARANTH
Quinoa was the staple and sacred food of the Inca civilization, and from Peru today comes quinoa found in health food stores. It is a very resistant plant and no chemicals are used for its cultivation.
Similar to quinoa is amaranth, cultivated by Mayans, Aztecs and Incas.
NASA has been interested in both pseudocereals, which seeks to look for foods that weigh little, nourish a lot and are digested well, due to the concentration of nutrients and the balance of their composition.
Quinoa provides a large amount of protein (between 14 and 16% of the weight) with proportions of amino acids that make them as usable as those of meat or soy.
It also offers appreciable amounts of vitamins C, E and group B.
It can be cooked like rice in combination with sweet or savory ingredients. Its gluten-free flour, mixed with wheat, is used to make bread, cakes and cookies.
The quinoa and milk dessert is delicious.
Sesame, also known as sesame, was one of the first oily plants grown by man. It is currently very commonly used in the East, Africa and even South America.
From the nutritional point of view, it stands out for its calcium and iron content: 30 g provide 25% of the daily needs.
Another peculiarity is its abundance of lecithin (surpasses soy), useful for reducing and controlling cholesterol levels.
It is also rich in proteins and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, copper and chromium.
There are about 14 different species of three different colors: white, black and the best known by us, the brown.
A tasty and practical way to consume it is in pâté (tahini), but in addition to seasoning breads it can be taken almost replacing salt (gomasio).
Among us it still sounds like an exotic Japanese natural remedy that serves to prevent cancer and improve defenses, but it is actually a very common food, also grown in Spain.
The Lentinus ages, classic looking mushroom, is the most consumed edible mushroom in the world after the mushroom.
Its most notable component is Lentin, which as a powdered extract is used to strengthen the immune system.
In addition, it reduces blood pressure and cholesterol and stimulates growth hormone.
From the nutritional point of view, it is rich in protein, fiber, iron and vitamins (especially B2 and B3 and D).
In the kitchen, shiitake brings its intense flavor to soups, sauces and as a complement to bamboo stews. It is fresh, dried, dehydrated, as well as in capsules as a dietary supplement.
Consumed in Indonesia for centuries, tempeh was introduced a few years ago among vegetarians, but it meets the conditions to get out of that circle and conquer the tables of many more people, in the same way that it has done, for example, soy milk.
It is a fermented food from peeled, chopped, cooked white soybeans and inoculated with the spore Rhizopus oligosporus.
It has 19% proteins, which are also very digestive. Moreover, it is the most important plant source of vitamin B12.
It is consumed, for example, as a filling for empanadas and, after frying or steaming, as an ingredient in a pizza.
Soy curd is a healthy, nutritious and versatile food.
It highlights its proportion of proteins (11% of weight) very digestive, vitamins A, E and group B, and minerals such as phosphorus and potassium.
Christopher Columbus brought the tomato to Europe in the fifteenth century and since then its flavor and nutritional qualities have made it a pillar of Mediterranean (and especially Italian) cuisine.
Its red color is due to lycopene, a type of carotene with a great antioxidant and protective effect against cancer, heart disease and degenerative diseases in general.
Lycopene is found in fresh tomatoes and all products made from it, from juice to ketchup.
Other tomato nutrients (vitamins C and E, the flavonoid quercitin and small doses of beta-carotene) reinforce the action of lycopene.
Tomatoes, which accelerate the digestion of carbohydrates, are remineralizing and give salads an unparalleled flavor and aroma.
When they are ripe but with a point of greenery, it is the best time for consumption.
Emblem of Mediterranean civilizations that has spread across the five continents, in addition to energy in the form of easily assimilated sugars, the grape provides minerals (potassium, magnesium and phosphorus) and vitamins C and group B.
Its most interesting properties are due to its phytochemicals, such as anthocyanins that give it color and flavor, tannins and flavonoids.
Within the latter, resveratrol is valued for its ability to inhibit the growth of tumors.
Either way it is beneficial: fresh and whole, with all the fiber; in homemade juice and even in wine, which in moderate quantities is not harmful, but beneficial for the cardiocirculatory system.
They say Spain smells like garlic. There is no better compliment because this tuber is a passport to longevity and health.
Its sulfur compounds are anti-carcinogenic, prevent infections and promote heart health.
It is a staple condiment in India and Southeast Asia, where it is used in soups, sauces, salads, lentils, rice, eggs, fish and crustaceans.
But turmeric doesn’t just add an unmistakable flavor. It is also an excellent tonic for the liver, improves circulation, reduces cholesterol and prevents infections and some types of cancer.
19. CHILI PEPPER
It is one of the ingredients of the spicy cuisines of Mexico and the tropics.
The substance that gives it a fiery taste, stimulates salivation and aids digestion is capsaicin.
This compound benefits the intestinal mucosa, prevents food infections, improves blood circulation and decongests the respiratory tract.
In the East it is much more than a spicy spice to use from time to time. Ginger serves to give aroma to all kinds of recipes, sweet or salty, but also improves circulation, prevents dizziness, digestive problems and colds.
They are the effects of its active ingredients, such as gingerol, shogaol and zingerone. A food-medicine as healthy as garlic.
Miso is the tastiest way to consume soy. Product of the fermentation of these seeds, in Japan it is used to make a breakfast soup and a consommé in which many want to see the secret of the longevity of the Japanese.
It highlights its purifying effect on the body, as well as the digestibility of soy proteins subjected to fermentation.