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

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

A guide for better wellness.

Living a longer and healthier life 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 to help 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 local, 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, and asparagus.

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

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

Dark Chocolate (no sugar).

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, ginger, and green peppers.

Hemp Seeds. A close second, huckleberries, followed by hummus.

Jam (no sugar added). A close second, juices (especially no-sugar-added cranberry, grape, grapefruit, pomegranate, and prune).

Kale. A close second, Kiwi.

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

Mushrooms. A close second, mangoes.

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

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

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

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

Uglis (Jamaican tangelo).

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

Watermelon. A close second, wild rice, followed by winter squash, wheat germ, whole wheats/grains. For adults, in moderation, wine (especially red wines).

Yogurt (Greek, from Europe). A close second, yellow peppers, followed by 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, connecting with nature, working in a career for which you have passion, partaking in spiritual practices, 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 to 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.

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

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