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Live Longer. Eat Healthier Daily. Best Foods for You, A-Z

These wellness foods have proven attributes in helping make your body and mind stronger while giving you the potency and fortitude to fight off illness.

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by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

A guide for better wellness.

Living a longer and healthier live comes from a combination of factors, but you can increase the wellness of your daily life as much as your future years by adding -- or increasing your consumption of -- these key foods. These foods each have proven attributes in helping make your body and mind stronger while giving you the potency and fortitude to fit off illness.

These foods are not miracle foods by themselves -- but they are part of the foundation to living a longer and healthier life. All these foods are rich in one or more of the basic nutrients people need for healthier living, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrient-rich foods are essential in helping protect against cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses, while increasing our overall health and heart and brain functioning.

While food labeling is an ever-changing and confusing bag of terms, stick to organic and non-GMO whenever possible. Terms like "all natural" and "antibiotic-free" and "grass-fed" mean almost next to nothing. Even better than buying these items from the store? Buy them from your local farmer or rancher -- and know the quality of your fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and eggs.

What are these must-eat foods? Here's our list of the best foods for you, from A-Z.

Avocados (and avocado oil). A close second, apples, followed by apricots, artichokes, asparagus.

Broccoli. A close second, bananas, followed by blueberries, blackberries, bison, beef (grass-fed, grass-finished, pastured), bran, and beets.

Citrus (especially pink grapefruit, oranges, lemons). A close second, cherries, followed by carrots, chard, collard greens, cantaloupe, cranberries, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, cheese, chicken.

Dark Chocolate.

Eggs (especially farm-fresh). A close second, endives.

Flaxseed. A close second, figs.

Grapes (especially purple ones). A close second, garlic, followed by green beans, green peppers, and ginger.


Juices (especially no-sugar added cranberry, grape, grapefruit, pomegranate, prune).

Kale. A close second, Kiwi.

Legumes (including soybeans, kidney beans, chick peas, and lentils). A close second, lamb (grass-fed, non-GMO).


Nuts (especially almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, and peanuts). A close second, nectarines.

Olives (and olive oil). A close second, oatmeal, followed by onions and ostrich.

Pumpkin. A close second, pears, followed by pineapples, potatoes, plums, papaya, peaches, prunes, peas, and pork (lean).

Quinoa. A close second, quince.

Romaine (and other dark lettuces). A close second, red cabbage, followed by red onions, raspberries, radishes, raisons, and rhubarb.

Seafood (including salmon, mackerel, halibut, scallops, shrimp, and tuna). A close second, spinach, followed by strawberries, squash, and snow peas.

Tomatoes. A close second, turnips, tofu, and turkey.


Vegetables (of all colors and varieties, fresh or frozen, cooked or raw).

Watermelon. A close second, wheat germ, whole wheats/grains. For adults, wine (especially red wines).

Yogurt. A close second, yellow peppers, yams, and youngberries.


Final Thoughts on Healthy Foods

While this article is about the best foods for you to consume as part of a wellness program, remember that healthy foods are just one part of building a healthier lifestyle. Other elements include daily fitness, working a job for which you have passion, and having a positive mental outlook.

Finally, why are these foods the best for you? All the foods on this list are sources of critical vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Here's a quick rundown on the reasons these foods offer you such great health and wellness benefits.

Antioxidants: help prevent free radicals from damaging your cells and clogging your arteries, and are thought to help fight cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and other chronic diseases. Well-known antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and flavonoids. High amounts of antioxidants can be found in apples, artichokes, beans (pinto, red kidney), beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, cranberries, cherries, garlic, ginger, hazelnuts, lemons, oranges, pecans, pineapples, pink grapefruits, peppers, plums, pomegranates, prunes, red grapes, spinach, soy, strawberries, tomatoes, and walnuts.

Anthocyanins: antioxidant flavonoids that contain anti-inflammatory properties that help promote healthy circulation and protect many body systems, and typically found in dark-colored fruits and vegetables, including beets, blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, red cabbage, and red grapes.

Beta-Carotene: an antioxidant and member of the carotendoid family, it is converted in the body to vitamin A (which assists with vision, enhances immunity, improves skin condition). The best sources include dark green and orange-yellow vegetables, such as apricots, broccoli, carrots, green peppers, mangos, melons, pumpkin, romaine lettuce, squash, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

Carotenoids: antioxidant plant pigments that are extremely useful in fighting heart disease and cancer. There are several types of carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene.

Flavonoids: plant compound that acts as an antioxidant that helps deter cancer and lowers blood pressure, and which can be found in many vegetables and fruits, especially ones with dark colors. Dark chocolate leads the way here, but the list also includes almonds, apples, asparagus, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cranberries, lettuceoranges, spinach, squash, and watermelon.

Lycopene: a relatively rare member of the carotenoid family, and thought to help in fighting prostate, long, colon, and breast cancers. Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, but it can also be found in pink grapefruit, apricots, guava, papaya, and watermelon. Tomatoes also contain the antioxidant glutathione, which helps boost immune function.

Minerals: elements that originate in the soil and which plants absorb; animals get their minerals from the plants or other animals they eat. People need minerals in order to be healthy. Typical minerals include calcium, cooper, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc. All the foods on this list contain some amounts of minerals.

Proteins: one of the basic building blocks of the body (responsible for the growth and repair of your muscles, bones, skin, tendons, organs, ligaments, hair, eyes, and other tissues) and an essential part of your diet. Full proteins (containing amino acids) are found in steak, poultry, and fish; and partial proteins are contained in lentils, beans, corn, and peanuts (which can become full proteins when combined in your diet with grains, seeds and nuts, and vegetables).

Vitamins: naturally found in all the foods on this list, and along with minerals, play a key role in healthy body functions -- though different foods contain different vitamins, thus you should eat an assortment of foods get the variety of vitamins your body needs. Vitamins help promote eyesight, metabolic functions, bone and teeth growth and strength, as well as help fight off infection. Key vitamins include A, B (all the many B varieties), C, D, E, and K.

See also our article, 10 Easy Tips for Healthier Eating.

Interested in reprinting or republishing this article? Please refer to our Article Reprint Guidelines.

Avid wellness guru Dr. Randall S. Hansen Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., is an avid bicyclist, adventurist, environmentalist, and student of wellness and photography, with a mission of empowering others to lead great lives. He is Founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites. Dr. Hansen is also the founder and caretaker of this site, EmpoweringRetreat.com, as well as founder of EmpoweringAdvice.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com or reach him by email at CEO(at)empoweringsites.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.

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