What are the healthiest foods to eat?

There is plenty of confusion about what is healthy to eat. A long list of those foods have fallen in and out of favor — including milk and eggs and fat and nuts.

Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club Blog, told WTOP that a group of scientists are out with new findings about the healthiest foods.

“Some of them are going to be familiar, but some of them were pretty surprising to me,” Squires said.

No. 5 on the list is chia seeds.

“And yes, those are the very seeds that we used to have in our Chia Pets probably a couple decades ago,” she said. “And the Harvard School of Public Health is just one of the groups that dubs them a superfood.”

Squires added that it’s because they contain healthy fat.

“In fact, they have the most healthy omega-3 fatty acids of any plant source,” she said.

According to Squires, research shows that they can help cut blood cholesterol levels, improve heart health, slow digestion and you can stir chia seeds in smoothies or salads, marinades, cake batter, soups and so on.

Spots No. 4 and No. 3 went to flat fish, like flounder and sole, then ocean perch.

“That’s because fish is packed with protein. It’s low in unhealthy fat, and it’s got those great omega-3 fatty acids. And we know that omega-3s help to improve heart health, and they may also improve mood as well as joint health,” Squires said.

One of the surprises on the list? Cherimoya — also known as a custard apple.

Squires said it’s a fruit that is believed to have originated in South America, in the Andes Mountains.

“It’s rich in antioxidants and vitamin B6,” she said. “The one thing you need to know about it is that you want to discard the skin and the seeds because they do have some toxic compounds. So you only want to eat the center of it, and it’s supposed to be very custardy.”

The healthiest food to eat right now according to these scientists? Almonds.

“Almonds are rich in healthy fats. They also pack calcium, which helps with bone health, and they lower blood cholesterol. Recent studies show that they can help improve heart health and people with type-2 diabetes. They also have fiber and lots of other nutrients including protein, vitamin D, magnesium and manganese,” Squires said.

One word of warning when it comes to almonds: they’re high in calories — about 160 calories per ounce, according to Squires.

“So you don’t want to eat handful after a handful, but a good handful is about 160 calories, and it just packs a lot of really great nutrition,” Squires said.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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