1 - Apples
Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants, which combat free radicals. Free radicals are damaging substances generated in the body that cause undesirable changes and are involved in the aging process and some diseases.
Some animal studies have found that an antioxidant found in apples (polyphenols) might extend lifespans.
Researchers at The Florida State University said that apples are a "miracle fruit".
2 - Almonds
Second on our list of top 10 healthy foods is almonds . Almonds are rich in nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin E, iron, calcium, fiber, and riboflavin. A scientific review published in Nutrition Reviews found that almonds as a food may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Almonds have more fiber than any other tree nut.
The fatty acid profile of almonds, which is made up of 91-94% unsaturated fatty acids, may partly explain why it helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
3 - Broccoli
Broccoli is rich in fiber, calcium, potassium, folate and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds which reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Broccoli also contains vitamin C, as well as beta-carotene, an antioxidant.
A single 100 gram serving of broccoli can provide you with over 150 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which in large doses can potentially shorten the duration of the common cold.
Another ingredient, sulforphane, which exists in broccoli, is also said to have anti-cancer as well as anti-inflammatory qualities. However, overcooking can destroy most of the benefits.
4 - Blueberries
Blueberries are rich in fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural chemicals found in plants.
Unlike minerals and vitamins that are also found in plant foods, phytonutrients are not essential for keeping us alive. However, they may help prevent disease and keep the body working properly.
According to a study carried out at Harvard Medical School, elderly people who eat plenty of blueberries (and strawberries) are less likely to suffer from cognitive decline, compared to other people of their age who do not.
Scientists at Texas Woman's University found that blueberries help in curbing obesity. Plant polyphenols, which are abundant in blueberries, have been shown to reduce the development of fat cells (adipogenesis), while inducing the breakdown of lipids and fat (lipolysis).
Regular blueberry consumption can reduce the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) by 10%, because of the berry's bioactive compounds, anthocyanins, scientists from East Anglia University, England, and Harvard University, USA reported in the American Journal of Nutrition .
5 - Oily fish
Examples of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies.
These types of fish have oil in their tissues and around the gut. Their lean fillets contain up to 30% oil, specifically, omega-3fatty acids. These oils are known to provide benefits for the heart, as well as the nervous system.
Oily fish are also known to provide benefits for patients with inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis.
Oily fish also contain vitamins A and D.
Scientists at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that prostate cancer progression was significantly slowed when patients went on a low-fat diet with fish oil supplements.
6 - Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, beta carotene, complex carbohydrates, vitamin C, vitamin B 6 , as well as carotene (the pink, yellow ones).
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, USA, compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. 17 The sweet potato ranked number one, when vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein and complex carbohydrates were considered.
7 - Wheat germ
Wheat germ is the part of wheat that germinates to grow into a plant - the embryo of the seed. Germ, along with bran, is commonly a by-product of the milling; when cereals are refined, the germ and bran are often milled out.
Wheat germ is high in several vital nutrients, such as vitamin E, folic acid (folate), thiamin, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, as well as fatty alcohols and essential fatty acids.
Wheat germ is also a good source of fiber.
8 - Avocados
Many people avoid avocados because of its high fat content; they believe that avoiding all fats leads to better health and easier-to-control body weight - this is a myth. Approximately 75% of the calories in an avocado come from fat; mostly monosaturated fat.
Avocados are also very rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin K and vitamin E and have a very high fiber content of 25% soluble and 75% insoluble fiber.
Studies have shown that regular avocado consumption lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Avocado extracts are currently being studied in the laboratory to see whether they might be useful for treating diabetes or hypertension.
Researchers from Ohio State University found that nutrients taken from avocados were able to stop oral cancer cells, and even destroy some of the pre-cancerous cells.
Want to know more? Read our article looking at the health benefits of avocados.
9 - Oatmeal
Concluding our list of top 10 healthy foods is oatmeal . Oatmeal is meal made from rolled or ground oats. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, the term "porridge" or "porridge oats" are common terms for the breakfast cereal that is usually cooked.
Interest in oatmeal has increased considerably over the last twenty years because of its health benefits.
Studies have shown that if you eat a bowl of oatmeal everyday your blood cholesterol levels, especially if they are too high, will drop, because of the cereal's soluble fiber content. When findings were published in the 1980s, an "oat bran craze" spread across the USA and Western Europe. The oats craze dropped off in the 1990s.
In 1997, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) agreed that foods with high levels of rolled oats or oat bran could include data on their labels about their cardiovascular heart benefits if accompanied with a low-fat diet. This was followed by another surge in oatmeal popularity.
Oats is rich in complex carbohydrates, as well as water-soluble fiber, which slow digestion down and stabilize levels of blood-glucose.
Oatmeal is very rich in B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Coarse or steel-cut oats contain more fiber than instant varieties.