There are certain foods that it is best for people to eat every day, including lean proteins and a variety of berry fruits and vegetables. Additionally, olive oil, nuts, and other foods can help lower the risk of certain conditions.

Consuming a healthy diet that includes all the food groups can help a person improve their intake of essential nutrients.

Many people eat repetitive diets and the same foods every week. However, incorporating the following foods into weekly meal plans can help them stay healthy and perform at their best.

For example, a person could try a 2-week rotating meal plan and vary their protein sources, vegetables, and berries. This adds variety and a range of nutrients.

This article looks at some of the healthiest foods to include in the diet every day. It explores what the research says about their health benefits and offers some tips for consuming them.

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People need protein for healthy growth and development and to maintain muscle mass.

Eating protein at each meal can help balance blood sugar levels and avoid the spikes that may happen when eating carbohydrates on their own. This approach can help people maintain their energy levels and concentration.

The amount of protein a person needs depends on factors such as their sex, age, and weight. Additionally, protein requirement varies according to how much and what type of activity the person does and if they are pregnant or nursing.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that most people in the U.S. eat enough protein but need to select leaner varieties of meat and poultry and increase the variety of protein foods they eat, choosing meats less often.

According to the USDA, adults need 5–7 ounces (oz) of protein each day. The following are examples of common healthy protein foods and their protein content:

  • 1 sandwich slice of turkey = 1 oz
  • 1 small chicken breast = 3 oz
  • 1 can of tuna, drained = 3–4 oz
  • 1 salmon steak = 4–6 oz
  • 1 egg = 1 oz
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter = 1 oz
  • 1 cup of lentil soup = 2 oz
  • 1 soy or bean burger patty = 2 oz
  • one-quarter of a cup of tofu = 2 oz

People should try to vary their protein sources to consume a wide variety of amino acids and other essential nutrients.

Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfurous compounds called glucosinolates. These are beneficial to health.

According to one 2020 review, glucosinolates regulate cell pathways and genes and may have anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects.

The compounds may also be beneficial for treating and preventing metabolic syndrome, but scientists need to conduct more research to prove this.

The following is a list of cruciferous vegetables that people can aim to eat every day:

  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • radish
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli sprouts
  • Brussels sprouts

Also, as well as sulfur compounds, cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals.

Leafy greens such as arugula and watercress also contain beneficial sulfur compounds.

Health experts including the American Heart Association (AHA) recognize the Mediterranean diet as one of the healthiest ways to eat.

Diets that emphasize vegetables, such as plant-based diets and the Mediterranean diet, can help lower the risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Eating a range of different colored vegetables every day helps ensure an intake of a wide range of phytonutrients, which are beneficial plant compounds.

The USDA’s MyPlate resource recommends that adults eat 2–4 cups of vegetables per day depending on their sex, age, weight, and activity levels.

The USDA also advises that people eat different colored plant foods, including leafy greens, beans, and lentils.

Consuming berries can help people achieve some of their daily nutrient goals.

For example, one 2015 study suggested that eating a 100-gram portion of raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries could provide more than 50% of someone’s daily requirement for manganese, vitamins such as vitamin C and folate, and phytochemicals.

Berries are excellent sources of bioactive compounds such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Because these compounds act as antioxidants, they may help prevent cardiovascular disease and lower the risk of some cancers.

Some berries to eat every day include the following:

  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • cranberries

Fresh or frozen berries are better than dried types, which only have 20% as many phytonutrients.

Research indicates that eating nuts every day can be beneficial for health.

For example, a 2019 prospective study involving over 16,217 adults with diabetes found that people who ate 5 or more servings of nuts each week had a lower risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and mortality than those who ate fewer than 1 serving of nuts per month.

Specifically, tree nuts were more beneficial than peanuts in preventing chronic conditions.

One 2020 study suggested that some people may be reluctant to eat nuts because of their high fat content.

However, the authors pointed out that nuts are nutrient dense foods that do not have an adverse effect on body weight. Indeed, when they replace other less healthy foods in the diet, they may help reduce body weight.

Some people are unable to eat nuts because of an allergy. For those who can eat nuts, choosing plain, unflavored, and unsalted nuts is a healthy option. All nuts contain essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Brazil nuts are one of the best dietary sources of the mineral selenium, with a single nut providing 95.8 micrograms (mcg). This is significantly more than the daily adult requirement of 55 mcg.

Olive oil is a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. Olives are rich in polyphenols. These act as antioxidants, protecting the body against oxidative damage.

One 2018 study suggested that the phenolic compounds in olive oil have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties in test tube studies.

Although scientists need to conduct more human research, the authors of this study suggested that people who consume less olive oil may benefit from increasing their intake.

Extra virgin and unfiltered olive oil contain the highest levels of beneficial polyphenols. However, quality olive oil is usually more expensive, so people can reserve this for drizzling over salads and vegetables. Using standard olive oil for cooking may be more cost effective.

Including lean protein, vegetables, and nuts in the diet every day can help people stay healthy and prevent certain chronic conditions.

Some plant foods, such as cruciferous vegetables and berries, contain particularly beneficial compounds, including polyphenols and glucosinolates.

Incorporating these foods into a weekly meal plan, maybe on a 2-week rotating basis, can help ensure that a person gets a wide variety of beneficial nutrients. It also prevents having a repetitive diet and can be more satisfying and appealing.