When determining which foods we should consistently incorporate into our diets, nutritional value is paramount. Fortunately, a study published in PLOS One has done the legwork for us. Scientists Seunghyeon Kim, Jaeyun Sung, Mathias Foo, Yong-Su Jin, and Pan-Jun Kim ranked over 654 foods from around the world according to their "nutritional fitness," and the results are interesting, to say the least.
"This measure was based on the food's frequency of occurrence in nutritionally adequate food combinations," reads the study. "Nutritional fitness offers a way to prioritize recommendable foods within a global network of foods, in which foods are connected based on the similarities of their nutrient compositions." As Business Insider reports, the following five foods ranked as the most nutritionally fit in the world:
1. Almonds. These nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are the "good fats" we all need in our diets. Almonds are also chock-full of vitamin E and folate, making them the most nutritionally fit in the fat-rich foods category.
2. Cherimoya. This fleshy, tropical fruit is high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, and reportedly tastes like a cross between a banana and a pineapple. Cherimoyas were the most nutritionally fit food in the carbohydrate-rich category.
3. Ocean perch. This deepwater fish was the most nutritionally fit food in the protein-rich category. Part of the rockfish family, ocean perch is high in protein, vitamin B12, and selenium, and low in saturated fat.
4. Flatfish. Flounder and halibut are flatfish that are great sources of protein, vitamin B, and folate. Plus, they're historically low in mercury.
5. Chia seeds. These tiny black seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. Try making a chia pudding or sprinkle them in smoothies or over oatmeal.
Head over to Business Insider to see the rest of the list.