Top 10 Healthiest Foods to Eat for Optimal Nutrition

In this video, Dr. Ekberg discusses the top 10 healthiest foods to eat. He starts by emphasizing that it is important to focus on a variety of foods rather than looking for a single „superfood.“ The first category he mentions is non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. He then discusses the benefits of berries, animal proteins, eggs, and healthy fats and oils. Nuts and seeds are also mentioned as nutritious options. Other categories include avocados, tubers or root vegetables, and herbs and spices. Dr. Ekberg also provides a bonus tip about dark chocolate.

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Key Insights:

  • There is no single food that is the healthiest; it is the variety of foods that provide the nutrition our bodies need.
  • Non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, are high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates and starch.
  • Berries, like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, are the best fruits to eat because they are low in sugar and high in fiber and vitamins.
  • Animal proteins, such as beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and fish, provide essential amino acids and can be a main food source for extended periods of time.
  • Eggs from healthy hens that are pasture-raised are nutritious, and the yolks should be deep orange in color.
  • Healthy fats and oils, like grass-fed butter, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, and certain animal fats, have numerous health benefits and should be consumed in their natural state.
  • Nuts, particularly macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, and almonds, are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein when eaten in moderation.
  • Seeds, such as chia, flax, hemp, and pumpkin seeds, are high in healthy fats, fiber, and protein and can be used in various ways in cooking and baking.
  • Avocado is a versatile food that is high in natural fats and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or used to make guacamole.
  • Tubers or root vegetables, like yams, sweet potatoes, and carrots, are starchy but provide quality carbohydrates when eaten in moderation.
  • Herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and parsley, are nutritious and can add flavor and additional health benefits to meals.
  • Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (around 78-85%) is a healthier option compared to milk chocolate, as it contains less sugar and more nutrients.
  • Your taste buds can adapt to enjoy darker and less sweet chocolates over time as you reduce your sugar intake.


Hello health champions! Today, we’re going to talk about the top 10 healthiest foods to eat. Coming right up!

Hey, I’m Dr. Ekberg. I’m a holistic doctor and a former Olympic decathlete. If you want to truly master health by understanding how the body really works, make sure you subscribe and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss anything. And make sure that you watch all the way through the video because I’m not just gonna list various different foods. I’m gonna talk about why these foods are good for you. And then at the end, we’re gonna have a little bonus for you because we all need a little treat in life.

At first, I was gonna try to list the top ten healthiest foods, but then I thought that’s kind of misleading because it leaves out so many other foods and it also tends to give us the wrong idea about what a food is supposed to do. So often, I see examples of superfoods. People say, „This is the food that you should eat,“ or they’ll say something like, „What’s the number one healthiest food for us to eat?“ And then people want to find out what that is and they want to eat nothing but that. And that gives us the wrong idea of food. It gives us the idea that the food is supposed to do something. I often get the question, „So I have a headache, what food am I supposed to eat? I have high blood pressure, what food am I supposed to eat?“ You’re supposed to eat a variety of food. The foods aren’t supposed to do anything in terms of treating or changing or altering body function. They’re just supposed to provide the stuff that your body needs.

Alright, so we want to get away from the idea of superfoods. Okay, I think there’s some foods that get pretty close, like there’s just so jam-packed of good stuff, there’s just nothing bad to say about them. But we don’t want to think about them as treating anything. We want to get away from the number one healthiest food. We want to understand that it’s the variety that complements each other and gives the body all the different building blocks and all the different catalysts and vitamins and minerals that it’s gonna need.

Another thing I want to caution on is natural foods. Just because something is in the section called natural food doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a health food. They’re often made with better ingredients, they don’t use as many chemicals, but very often, they’re still highly processed. So just be aware of that. And every time I see that section in a grocery store that’s called natural food, I can’t help but laugh because I ask myself if there is a section called natural foods, why don’t they label the rest of the store unnatural foods? Just a thought.

Because there are so many healthy foods, I didn’t want to just talk about single items. I’m going to talk about categories, and the first category of healthy food, I believe, are non-starchy vegetables. So again, I’m not listing these in any particular order because it’s the variety that provides the nutrition. So non-starchy vegetables include leafy greens, so lettuce, spinach, and kale. Any sort of leaf is going to be very, very high in nutrients, in minerals and vitamins, in fiber, and it’s going to be very low in carbohydrates and starch and sugar. So pretty much any leafy green, just eat as much as you can. Then there are things like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. And these aren’t leafy, but they’re still low in starch, so those are also things that you can eat. Learn as you go which vegetables have less than 5% carbs, 5% net carbs. So you take the total carbs, you subtract the fiber, because some things have like 15 grams of carbs, but it’s almost all fiber. Then those are still perfectly fine. Learn which ones have less than 5% net carbs, and those you can eat plenty of. And these vegetables provide enormous amounts of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals primarily.

Number two, berries. Alright, there’s a lot of talk about fruits and berries and vegetables. So here’s my little caveat here. I think that you can eat some berries, but I don’t think that more is better. And I think that berries are the best type of fruit to eat. Because most fruit has been altered. Our ancestors might have had some access to fruit, but their fruit was small and tart and it was seasonal. Alright, so humans have never had access to sweet, juicy fruit, large fruit, 365 days a year that we do now. And therefore, that provides a lot of sugar, even though it does have a lot of nutrients. It does provide more sugar than humans should probably have in the long run. So, eat some berries, eat a little bit of fruit, but eat it sparingly. And don’t think that you have to have it all the time. Now, berries are the best because they are the lowest in sugar. They are the highest in fiber, and they’re jam-packed with vitamins. The best berries are strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. They’re the lowest in sugar and the highest in nutrients.

Category number three, animal proteins. Alright, they provide a full spectrum of essential amino acids. They are one of the few food groups that humans could live on for a very long time and survive. Alright, most other things that we would eat exclusively for a short time, we would perish. We would get some sort of deficiency, or we just wouldn’t get enough fuel or nutrients to survive. But animal proteins, especially the fat kinds, provide enough nutrients that we could live for years. I’m not saying that’s optimal, even though some carnivores are doing really well on that. So that would include beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and any form of wild animals, like rabbit and venison and buffalo, etc. And then, of course, fish. So salmon, sardines, mackerel, the clean fatty fish that provide tons and tons of good omega-3s, are the best ones to choose. Now, the thing to remember here is that when you eat an animal, then you’re only getting food that is as healthy as what that animal ate. And if that animal ate a diet that was innate for that species, alright, so I would do my very best to avoid beef that has been fed grain because that’s very unnatural for a cow to eat grain. They do that because it makes the meat more tender, it makes the meat fatty, and it makes the cow grow. They’re getting a growth spurt, they’re getting like double the meat out of the cow. It’s to feed it grain for a few months. Right, so they do that for money, and for tenderness, and for all the wrong reasons. But a cow is supposed to eat grass and only grass, and if it does, it’s a healthy cow. The omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is going to be in a good balance. If you feed it grain, now you’re messing with nature, and you throw that off. So if you think that grass-fed is too expensive, then do the best you can. Start with one thing, and then as you learn, and maybe as you develop some habits that will save you money, then you can work your way up. All right? But do the best you can, and eat food that has been raised in a natural way. So for fish, you want to absolutely do wild-caught only because the farm-raised, it’s just like the cows, they feed them things they’re not supposed to eat, and then they’re not very healthy. When we mess with nature, when we try to change the rules, it never ends up in a good way.

Number four, eggs. So, there’s all sorts of healthy eggs if they come from healthy animals. There’s duck eggs and ostrich eggs and so forth. But for practical purposes, most people are going to talk about eggs from hens or chickens. And now, what you’re looking for, again, is the higher quality, the if the animal, if the hen lived a natural healthy life, then it’s gonna make natural healthy eggs. If we feed the hen garbage and hormones and food pellets, and we keep it inside and we crowd them and we stress them, then the eggs are gonna be pale and devoid of nutrients, if not toxic. So, what we’re looking for is a standard called pasture-raised. In the United States, that’s a new standard, and it means that even in commercial production, there’s a way of making healthy eggs. And it means every chicken lives basically outdoors, and they have at least 108 square feet per animal, per chicken. So, that gives them a lot of space. They run around outside, they eat bugs, they eat grass, they eat seeds, and sometimes, they supplement a little bit with various grains, but that’s not a terrible thing for a chicken. But the main thing is that they have to run around, and they have to have a choice of what to eat, and they can’t be crowded. When you look at those eggs, you crack them open, then the yolk is a deep orange. The mass-produced cheap eggs from sick chickens is a pale yellow. You can almost not tell that it’s yellow, that’s how pale they are sometimes, whereas the pasture-raised is a deep orange. And what you can also tell oftentimes, is that the yolk will be larger, even in like a medium egg, it seems like the yolk is really fat. Now, someone brought to my attention, I didn’t even know this, but I have looked and I’ve seen these in stores, that what you want is pasture-raised, not pasteurized. Alright, pasteurized just means that they take the cheap eggs from sick chickens, and they steam them. They sterilize them with steam or something. So, they pasteurize them, alright? That’s not what you’re looking for.

Category number five is fats and oils. Fat has been demonized because they don’t understand that the fat on the body does not come from the fat that we eat. The fat on the body is stored by a hormone called insulin that is a result of fructose and sucrose and starches and processed foods. But if you eat a diet that doesn’t promote insulin, then fat is perfectly fine. The key for the fats and oils is that they need to be in a natural state, in a relatively natural state. So, it’s great if you get the fat in the food itself, but it’s totally okay to eat fats and oils like refined, isolated fats and oils, as long as they’re done in the right way, meaning minimally processed, not heated. So, things like grass-fed butter is excellent. Organic grass-fed butter is a great food. I go through a lot of that. Organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil. And recently, you can find more and more frequent and affordable MCT oil (medium chain triglycerides). And then some other fats that people don’t understand are actually pretty good are lard and tallow, meaning pork fat and beef fat. Again, if it comes from a healthy animal, then they’re perfectly fine. So, if I make some beef broth, some bone broth from healthy grass-fed organic animals, if you make a big pot, you might get four or five pounds of tallow left over. So, you can skim that off, you can save it, and use it for cooking. And if you know where it comes from, then it’s a healthy fat. And something to keep in mind about these concentrated fats is that most pesticides, most toxins, most hormones are fat soluble. That means that if you concentrate the fat into these products, you’re also going to concentrate the toxins. That’s why fats, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars on getting the organic and the clean stuff because if you don’t, then you’re buying a product that has concentrated the toxins along with it.

Category number six is nuts. And they can be an incredibly healthy food. You don’t want to overdo it because they do contain some Omega 6s. You don’t want to make it like the main part, you don’t want to make it a foundation of your diet. But mixed in as part of all the other stuff, it’s a very, very healthy food. And you want to focus on the nuts that meet three criteria: the ones that taste good raw, because raw maintains keeps more nutrients alive. Once you roast them or process them, then they lose nutrients and you can alter some of the fats in there. You also want something that is low in carbohydrates, and you want something that’s high in fat because the highest ones in fat means they have the lowest amount of carbohydrate. And in that order, we have macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, and almonds. So, these meet all of those criteria that I talked about. Walnuts and almonds are a little bit higher in carbohydrate, but you’re not gonna eat a ton of these nuts because they’re so dense that you’re typically going to be okay, even on a low carb or a ketogenic diet. Another great thing about nuts is that they’re also very high in fiber, and they’re very high in protein. So, you’re getting a lot of nutrients all packed into a little bit of food.

Category number seven is seeds. And they’re often kind of lumped together with the nuts, but I like to put them separate because they are quite different, and you don’t really use them the same way a lot of the times, and especially not the ones that I emphasize. So, my favorite seeds are chia, flax, hemp, and pumpkin. And while the nuts are things that you can often bring in a snack bag and you just take a few and it you can crunch on them and it tastes good, you’re probably not gonna be munching on flaxseed and chia seed. They sort of just sit there in your mouth and you got to chew forever, and they don’t taste bad, but it’s not the way that you typically eat those. But they’re great for low heat cooking, you can make sort of like an oatmeal with them. You can bake bread with them as long as you keep the heat down. They’re great for smoothies. And if you eat something like yogurt, then instead of cereal, you can just grind up some of this and put it on the yogurt instead of cereal. And what seeds have speaking for them is that they’re usually very, very inexpensive, especially recently as they’ve become more popular. You can find, in the United States, you can find these at Costco, and it’s like they’re just giving them away almost. And they’re extremely high in healthy fats, in fiber, and in protein. It’s like they just packed those things in there. And there’s virtually zero carbohydrate in there, even though the total carbs can look high. It’s almost all fiber. So, the net carbs are very, very low. They’re like three-four percent. And you don’t want to rely on plant food for Omega 3s exclusively, but they can be a good foundation. And chia and flax have the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids in any plant. But you still want to get some omega-3s from fish because the Chia and flax omega-3s, they’re just a precursor, and the conversion doesn’t happen the way it’s supposed to and it doesn’t happen to a very large degree, to a very large percentage. Some people say you can eat these omega-3s and make fish oil, but it doesn’t work like that. A lot of people convert as little as 1% of the omega-3s in plants into the actual omega 3 that we get from fish.

Number eight is avocado. And I think that’s not necessarily a superfood because, like I said, I don’t want to think of foods that way. But I think it’s so great in so many ways that I made it its own category. Alright? It is great-tasting, it’s creamy, it’s high in natural fats. You can eat it raw, you can just open it up and spoon it or you can cook with it. You can put it in dishes, you can make guacamole from it. And it is so satisfying that it becomes almost a meal in itself. It goes with anything. Like who can argue with avocado? Another thing, I recently talked about the fasting mimicking diet and avocado would be the perfect food there because it’s high in fat, it’s very low in carbohydrate, and it’s very low in protein. So it’s really the perfect food. Don’t think of it as a superfood, just think of it as a great staple that fits with everything.

Category number nine is something called tubers or root vegetables. They grow underground and they’re usually pretty starchy. They serve as an energy reserve for the plant. And examples would be yam or sweet potato, potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, carrots and something called celery root. Now, these are very starchy, so some people want to avoid them if you are trying to lose weight, if you’re on a very low carb diet, if you’re doing keto, or if you’re insulin-resistant. Then you do not want to eat these hardly at all. But if you’re insulin-sensitive, you’re at your goal weight, or if you’re doing some carb cycling, maybe you’re doing keto during the week and then you’re loading up a little bit more on carbs during the weekend, then these are the perfect foods to get some quality food with some carbs without getting into grains and things that cause inflammation. They are, however, very starchy, so you don’t want to eat too much of them. But they’re great, you can use them instead of potatoes for mashed potatoes, or you can use several of them to mix them up a little bit to get some more variety and a deeper flavor. They’re also great to chop up in little cubes if you’re doing a vegetable soup or a beef soup or something like that.

Category number 10 is herbs and spices. So things like garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cilantro, parsley, dill, rosemary. All of these are highly, highly nutritious. Alright, they provide micronutrients, you’re not gonna get many macronutrients, you’re not gonna get any protein or fat or carbs to speak of, but you’re gonna get lots of minerals, you’re gonna get lots of vitamins, and you’re gonna get some things with medicinal properties, but on a natural level. So, I don’t want to think of them as medication. There are supplements you can use herbs and these do have some tremendous benefits, but again, think of them mostly as things that make food taste wonderful. Alright, but garlic, ginger, turmeric, they do have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties. The turmeric is anti-inflammatory, it helps with gut healing. So, there are some tremendous benefits to these. Just don’t go crazy and start using them as drugs. Don’t think of them as taking something for something. Just incorporate them frequently in a healthy diet.

Here’s a little bonus for you, and it’s something that isn’t necessarily like a food, but we have to have some treats in life. I think that makes life a little sweeter. But we want to understand what we’re getting. So, chocolate is something that gets people really excited, and a lot of people, they say, „Oh, I’ll give up anything, but I’m not gonna give up chocolate.“ But there’s a big difference between milk chocolate and dark chocolates. So, when people talk about the benefits of chocolate, they say, „Oh, well, dark chocolate has all these benefits.“ The reason is that cocoa has nutrients. Alright, the cocoa bean is a plant with some nutrients that can be very beneficial. But milk chocolate has a lot of sugar that ruins and more than ruins the benefits. So, the darker the chocolate is, the less sugar it has. And the way you can sort of get a rough idea is that if you’re getting a 78% cocoa content in the chocolate, then the rest is sugar. So, you just whatever isn’t cocoa is sugar. If it’s got 85% cocoa, it’s 15% sugar. Right, so chocolate is pretty high in carbohydrates, but most of that carbohydrate is fiber. So, you can subtract it. So, I like chocolate that’s somewhere between 78 and 85. Sometimes, I think that 78 is the only good one, and other times, I think, „Oh, the 78 is too sweet,“ and I prefer the 85. But the darker it is, the more satisfying it is, the less you feel the need to overeat. And with a piece of 78 percent chocolate, so if you have something like a lint bar, that one has eight pieces in a bar. So, if you have one piece that’s 1/8 of a bar, that gives you about 1.5 grams of sugar. Alright, so if you’re trying to keep absolute zero on the sugar, then don’t eat chocolate. But if you have one or maybe two pieces, you’re not adding a tremendous amount. And if you get up to 85%, you’re getting about one gram of sugar per piece. A lot of my patients will tell me, you know, I can tolerate some dark chocolate, but I can’t get higher than 50% cocoa content. Everything else is just too bitter. Well, don’t fear, you can change that, alright? It’s going to take a little bit of time, but the more you cut out the sweets and the sugar out of your diet, the more your taste buds change, alright? Most of our tastes are learned, and the more you get away from sugar, the more you’re gonna find a lot of things that you thought were normally sweet, they’re disgustingly sweet. And as you work your way up, as you get more adapted to real food and you cut out the sugar, you’re gonna start appreciating the flavor of all these things. You’re gonna learn what they actually taste like. And then you’re not gonna have a problem with very dark chocolates. So, 75, 78, 85, even 90% chocolate is going to be very flavorful and not all that bitter. And if you don’t like chocolate, then don’t worry, you don’t have to learn. It’s not something that you have to have. It’s not a basic food group. Stick with the other ten that we talked about, and you’ll be fine. Thank you so much for watching, and I’ll see you in the next video.