Foods Beginning with A – C
This index provides you with useful information about hundreds of different foods. Discover the health benefits of your favorite foods as well as the exuberant amount of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they contain to fuel your body.
Use this alphabetized list to fuel your mind about the fuel for your body. Then jump on over to the recipe page to find healthy recipes that incorporate these superfoods into an easy and nutritious meal or snack.
Allspice – this fragrant spice contains flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It is often used in Caribbean cooking, but is best known in America for the flavor it brings to pumpkin-inspired dishes. Studies have determined positive effects on its ability to reduce inflammation and discomfort in the digestive system as well as lower blood pressure.
Almonds – a mild-tasting nut that is an excellent source of protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which are important for weight loss, blood sugar stabilization, lowering cholesterol, and increasing satiety. They are rich in Vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium and potassium which are all key nutrients known for promoting healthy cell development, metabolism, maintaining fluid balance, and maintaining bone, skin, and hair health. The mild flavor of almonds make them a great addition to almost any dish including yogurt, oatmeal, roasted vegetables, or even as a topping for salads.
Almond Milk, unsweetened – this non-dairy beverage made from ground almonds has a creamy texture and nutty flavor and is a common substitute for cow’s milk. Unsweetened varieties are the best choice to avoid added sugars and sweeteners. Although it contains less protein than cow’s milk, almond milk is rich in magnesium, selenium, manganese, and potassium which play an important role in metabolism, bone and joint health, maintaining fluid balance, and maintaining healthy cells. Many varieties are also fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.
Amaranth – this plant seed is often labeled as a grain and is considered a complete protein (meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids for protein synthesis that our bodies cannot produce on their own) making it an excellent food for those following a gluten-free and/or a vegetarian lifestyle. It is also high in iron, magnesium, calcium, and fiber making in a great choice for those with anemia, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.
Ancho Chili – a spicy chili used often in Mexican and Latin cuisines, it is rich in capsaicin, a substance known to reduce inflammation and cholesterol. Maintaining a low cholesterol and decreasing inflammation in the body is important in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure.
Apples – not only are they delicious and versatile, they’re also loaded with Vitamin C and fiber which make them great for weight loss as well as for the prevention and management of heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Foods high in fiber have been proven to regulate blood sugar levels by slowing the digestion of carbohydrates in the bloodstream making apples a great choice for those with diabetes. Most of the nutrients are found in the skins of the apples so keep the skins on when enjoying this superfood.
Artichokes – these non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and mild in flavor making them a great addition to a variety of savory dishes and salads. They’re high fiber content can help lower cholesterol by binding to “bad” LDL cholesterol in the intestines, therefore decreasing cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream. They are also high in antioxidants such as folic acid, Vitamin C, and potassium that have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and bone diseases as well as lowering blood pressure and increasing immunity. Folic acid is an important nutrient for healthy cell formation making artichokes an excellent food for pregnant women.
Asparagus – this skinny, green vegetable is low in calories, high in fiber, and easy to prepare. Its high water and fiber content help reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and regulate blood sugar levels making it an excellent choice for those pursuing weight loss or those with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or digestive illnesses. Asparagus is also rich in potassium, folate, Vitamin C and Vitamin E which are important for bone health, immunity, and decreasing inflammation.
Avocados – often mistaken as a vegetable, this fruit is known for its high levels of “good” monounsaturated fat which help provide a feeling of fullness, stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream, lower blood pressure, and slow digestion. Their high content of vitamins and minerals, particularly pantothenic acid and Vitamin K, aid in energy balance, metabolism, and blood clotting. Keep in mind that they are high in calories so be careful with your portions of this superfood.
Bananas – creamy, rich, and portable, bananas are a great source of “good” carbohydrates and fiber making them a smart choice for weight loss and the prevention of heart disease and high cholesterol. They are rich in vital nutrients such as B6 and potassium which help decrease inflammation, lower blood pressure, and aid in metabolism. These nutrients also make them a great choice for athletes pre and post workout. Some studies suggest their high content of complex sugars as well as high potassium content aid in muscle repair and help restore glycogen post workout.
Barley – a wheat-based whole grain known for its nut-like flavors and pasta-like texture, barley is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates which has been shown to aid in digestive health and decrease the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Additionally, its high fiber content stabilizes blood sugar levels which is important for those with diabetes. Barley is also a good source of niacin, a B vitamin known to reduce total cholesterol and decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as selenium, a mineral known to promote healthy cells and increase metabolism.
Basil – a hearty herb with a robust flavor mostly found in Italian dishes, basil is rich in Vitamin A, K, C, and magnesium which have been linked to increasing immunity, normal cell function, and bone and skin health. Basil is also rich in iron which is important for the delivery of oxygen in the bloodstream for normal organ function.
Beans – known for their high protein and fiber content, beans help regulate blood sugar levels and increase your feeling of fullness making them an excellent choice for weight loss and for those with diabetes. Beans are also rich in folate and manganese, which are important for inflammation, immunity, metabolism, and maintaining healthy cell function. Common varieties include black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and navy beans.
Beets – deep, pink hued root vegetables known for their sweet and earthy flavors, beets are nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins and nutrients to protect the body against a multitude of illnesses. They are rich in folate, manganese, potassium, and Vitamin C, all known to decrease inflammation, reduce blood pressure, and increase immunity. Their high fiber content also aids in lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes by lowering cholesterol in the bloodstream and regulating blood sugar levels.
Blueberries – this fruit, along with other berries, is known for its high level of antioxidants which have been shown to decrease cell damage from our environment that can lead to disease and illness. Blueberries are also packed with fiber and contain a high water volume making them an excellent fruit for those seeking weight loss or wanting to reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Additionally, blueberries contain high levels of Vitamin C and K which help maintain skin and bone health as well as immunity.
Broccoli – we all know these “tree-top” vegetables are not only low in calories but also loaded with nutrients which protect against a multitude of disease and illnesses. You can reap the benefits of this cruciferous vegetable in a variety of forms including raw, boiled, or roasted. Broccoli is high in fiber making it an important food for weight loss, lowering cholesterol, increasing digestive health, and lowering your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, A, K, iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium which have all been linked to decreasing inflammation, increasing bone and skin health, and increasing immunity.
Broth – Chicken, beef, and vegetable broth are often used in soups, stews, and sauces and are an excellent substitute for oil or butter in recipes that call for sauteéing or pan-frying. Commercial broths are usually loaded with added sodium so choose low-sodium varieties to reduce elevating blood pressure levels.
Brussel Sprouts – these cruciferous vegetables are packed with disease-fighting nutrients making them good for any condition. They are rich in Vitamin K, C, and folate which all play a key role in maintaining bone and skin health, increasing immunity, decreasing inflammation, and preventing the damage of healthy cells leading to illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and thyroid disease. Brussel sprouts high fiber content also plays a key role in lowering cholesterol and maintaining stable blood sugar making them a great option for those seeking weight loss or those with diabetes.
Buckwheat – usually mistaken as a grain, this seed does not contain wheat and is considered a complete protein source (meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids for protein synthesis that our bodies cannot produce on their own). Not only is buckwheat a great substitute for those following a gluten-free diet, but it is also high in protein and fiber which help with muscle development, lowering cholesterol, increasing feelings of fullness to aid in weight loss, and increasing digestive health. Buckwheat is also rich in B-vitamins, copper, and magnesium which have been shown to decrease inflammation and relax the blood vessels leading to the heart and the brain which can help prevent heart attack and stroke.
Cabbage – this vegetable is part of the cruciferous family (along with broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts) and is rich in fiber , Vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Fiber is known to lower cholesterol, maintain stable blood sugar levels, increase the feeling of fullness, and aid in digestive health. Vitamin C, folate, and potassium are vitamins and minerals that play an important role in decreasing inflammation, maintaining healthy cells, increasing immunity , and maintaining bone, skin, and joint health making cabbage a smart choice to help prevent against heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and age-related cognitive decline. Cabbage comes in red, green, and white varieties and can be eaten raw (as a slaw or cut into wedges for salad), steamed, or roasted.
Carrots – part of the root vegetable family, carrots are low in calories, high in antioxidants, and high in fiber which is important for weight loss, lowering cholesterol, maintaining blood sugar levels, and maintaining digestive health. We usually associate carrots with the color orange, however they come in a variety of colors including purple, white, yellow, and red. They are rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant known to aid in eye, skin, and bone health and may help prevent inflammation linked to arthritis. They are also rich in biotin, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and potassium which are important for bone and cell health as well as immunity.
Cauliflower – this low calorie vegetable is part of the cruciferous family (along with broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts) and is rich in fiber, B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, and potassium. It also has a high water content which aids in weight loss and increases feelings of fullness. The soluble fiber in cauliflower is known to lower cholesterol, maintain stable blood sugar levels, and aid in digestive health. B-vitamins are known to play an important role in overall heart health and Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, and potassium are known to decrease inflammation, maintain healthy cells, increase immunity , and maintain bone, skin, and joint health. The high level of these nutrients makes cauliflower an excellent choice to help prevent against heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, age-related cognitive decline, and weight gain.
Celery – this crunchy vegetable is predominately composed of water which aids in maintaining hydration and increasing feelings of fullness making it a great choice for those seeking weight loss/maintenance. Celery is also high in antioxidants and Vitamin K which plays a large role in blood clotting, preventing heart disease, and maintaining bone health.
Chia seeds – these tiny seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids which play an important role in lowering cholesterol, decreasing inflammation, balancing mood, lowering blood pressure, maintaining cell health and maintaining cognitive health. They are exceptionally high in all of these key nutrients making them an excellent choice to protect against any illness, especially heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.
Chicken Breast – Boneless, skinless chicken breast is an excellent form of lean protein making it a smart choice for all diets. When eaten without the skin, it is relatively low in calories and fat, but high in muscle-building protein which helps keep your blood sugar stable and increases satiety. Chicken breast also contains a high amount of selenium and phosphorous which have been shown to play an important role in metabolism, energy balance, and bone and joint health.
Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans – just like all beans, chickpeas are loaded with protein and fiber which regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and increase your feeling of fullness making them an excellent choice for weight loss, lowering cholesterol and maintaining heart and digestive health. Chickpeas are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, folate, copper, iron, zinc, and potassium which are great for preventing heart disease, diabetes, mood disorders, osteoporosis, arthritis, inflammation, and promote healthy skin and hair.
Cilantro – this herb is made from coriander and is often used in Latino dishes. It contains strong notes of citrus and sage and is a great way to add flavor to any dish without adding extra calories, sodium, or fat. As an added bonus, fresh cilantro contains high amounts of Vitamin K which is known for its effects on blood clotting, inflammation, and bone health.
Cinnamon – this fragrant and familiar spice is used in both sweet and savory dishes and is a great way to add flavor without adding calories. Recent studies have shown cinnamon can play a role in lowering blood pressure as well as maintaining blood sugar levels to help prevent weight gain and manage diabetes.
Cocoa Powder – made from ground cacao beans, cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which have been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce stress, and protect cells from damage. Cocoa powder also contains phenethylamine, a neurotransmitter linked to maintaining mood and energy.
Collard Greens – this leafy, green vegetable has a high fiber and water content which can help with weight loss and digestive health. Recent studies have suggested that collard greens play a key role in lowering cholesterol by binding to LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and shuttling it out of the bloodstream. Collard greens are also exceptionally high in Vitaminn K which is known for its role in blood clotting and bone health. Additionally, collard greens are high in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and calcium which may increase immunity and aid in joint, bone, eye, skin, and hair health.
Cottage Cheese – made from milk, this dairy product is a great staple in any diet.The non-fat or low-fat varieties are low in calories and saturated fat and high in protein making it a great choice for those seeking weight loss or maintenance. Cottage cheese is also packed with calcium and Vitamin B-12 which play an important role in energy balance, metabolism, and bone health. If the texture is unappealing to you, try blending it into smoothies or using it as a baking substitute for butter or oil.
Cucumbers – this low calorie vegetable is predominately composed of water which aids in maintaining hydration and increasing feelings of fullness making it a great choice for those seeking weight loss/maintenance. They contain a variety of vitamins and antioxidants such as Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese which have been linked to decreasing inflammation and maintaining cell health by reversing the effects of damaging free radicals in our environment.
Cumin – this fragrant and flavorful spice is often used in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Latino dishes and is a great way to add flavor without adding calories and sodium. Some studies have revealed cumin may play a role in digestion, immunity, respiratory illnesses, and blood sugar regulation which could help prevent or manage diabetes.