Although nutrient-richness is the most important criteria for the selection of the World's Healthiest Foods, they also had to meet practical criteria as well; they also had to be easily accessible and taste good. If you can't easily purchase a food or don't enjoy eating it, you are not going to include it in your "Healthiest Way of Eating."
Therefore, the following criteria had to be fulfilled for a food to be included among our list of World's Healthiest Foods:
- Be a nutrient-rich food. A World's Healthiest Foods needed to not only be rich in health-promoting nutrients but also be one of the richest sources of nutrients in its food group. The World's Healthiest Foods also have research-demonstrated health benefits, such as preventing chronic disease.
- Be a whole food. The World's Healthiest Foods are whole foods complete with all their rich, natural endowment of nutrients. They have not been highly processed nor do they contain synthetic, artificial or irradiated ingredients. And whenever possible, they should be organically grown, since organically grown foods not only promote your health but also the health of our planet.
- Be a familiar food. The World's Healthiest Foods are common "everyday" foods. These include the vegetables, fruits, fish/seafood, nuts/seeds, lean meats, legumes, whole grains, and herbs and spices that are familiar to most people.
- Be a readily available food. Although there are many foods that are exceptionally nutritious, many of them are not readily available in different areas of the country. The World's Healthiest Foods are foods that the majority of people can easily find at their local market.
- Be affordable. I selected foods that are not only familiar and available but also affordable, especially if you purchase them locally and in season. When foods are enjoyed in their peak season they are the freshest and of the best quality.
- Taste good. If a food is healthy but doesn't taste good, its health benefits will not be enjoyed. Therefore, these foods had to be rich in flavor and have a pleasing taste. The vibrant taste of many healthy foods is one of the primary reasons they have become increasingly popular.
No matter how uniquely nutrient-rich a food might be, one food cannot fulfill all of your nutritional requirements much less your personal tastes. That's why we have selected100 foods to comprise our list of World's Healthiest Foods. A Healthiest Way of Eating comprised of a variety of the World's Healthiest Foods paves the road towards vibrant health and vitality.