The Top Fourteen Foods | Chris Kresser
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The Top Fourteen Foods

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top fourteen foods
Healthy fat, such as butter, is just one of the things on our list of top fourteen foods. iStock.com/Scukrov

(Excerpted from the Weston A. Price Journal – “Caustic Commentary”, Fall 2004)

The Top Fourteen Foods

According to government and media health pundits, the top best 14 foods are:

  1. Beans
  2. Blueberries
  3. Broccoli
  4. Oats
  5. Oranges
  6. Pumpkin
  7. Salmon
  8. Soy
  9. Spinach
  10. Tea (green or black)
  11. Tomatoes
  12. Turkey
  13. Walnuts
  14. Yoghurt

This uninspiring list reflects the current establishment angels (anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids) and demons (saturated fats and animal foods).

Our list of the 14 best top foods, foods that supply vital nutrients including the fat-soluble vitamins, looks like this:

  1. Butter from grass-fed cows (preferably raw)
  2. Oysters
  3. Liver from grass-fed animals
  4. Eggs from grass-fed hens
  5. Cod liver oil
  6. Fish eggs
  7. Whole raw milk from grass-fed cows
  8. Bone broth
  9. Wild salmon
  10. Whole yoghurt or kefir
  11. Beef from grass-fed steers
  12. Sauerkraut
  13. Organic Beets

Edit: If you noticed there are only 13 foods on the list, that’s because I recently removed shrimp due to concerns about PCB levels. Thanks to one of my readers for pointing this out.

A diet containing only these foods will confer lifelong good health; a diet containing only the foods in the first list is the fast track to nutritional deficiencies.
  1. What is your take on the China Study and all the evidence that points to increase cancer risk with eating animal products?

  2. Regarding liver….we get the majority of our food from a local organic farmer (pastured beef, woodland pork, poultry, fresh eggs and raw dairy and fermented veggies. We’ve been very happy with everything we’ve gotten from them. My hubby & I enjoy beef and chicken liver regularly and I saw that they also sell pork liver, which I’ve never tried. I’ve been told, by other people, that pork liver is not safe due to the risk of HEV. What are your thoughts about pork liver?

  3. What about whole sardines? you can consume the whole thing including the organs and bones.
    Its scary how nutritious they are.

    • The first list only has two vegetables. The second list has the most nutrient packed foods. (More than veggies even).

  4. I’m confused. Is wild caught shrimp okay? Also, is the radiation in the Pacific from the nuclear accident in Japan now an issue for wild caught seafood?

  5. With out sufficient iron supplement, the body cannot make new blood cells. It is the red blood cells that carry the oxygen in the blood. The iron draws in the oxygen. Then the oxygen helps to burn any waste material in the body. Iron may help enhance motor function, liver, kidney and heart function. Iron helps to raise the blood pressure, improve circulation, digestion and elimination of excess material.

  6. Chris ~

    OK, so when I contrast the two lists above, I want to make sure I understand something. These are the Top Foods, and the list provided by the Weston A. Price Journal aren’t all necessarily bad for us.

    You’re saying that they’re just not “top,” correct?

    Thanks ~

  7. I’m concerned about eating oysters, as much as I like them, if they come from waters with heavy metal and PCB pollutants like the Chesapeake Bay. Are there any waters free of these threats?

  8. Barbara,

    The mercury issue in fish is grossly misunderstood.  There’s no reason to stop eating fish, and there are no other foods that supply the nutrients in fish.  Eggs don’t have DHA in sufficient amounts, and it’s an essential nutrient.

    Read this article for more information.

  9. I stopped eating fish because of the mercury and pollution. Don’t miss it either. So many other good foods supply the nutrients found in fish (eggs, for one).

  10. I thought the high mercury levels were found mostly in pelagic species like tuna, swordfish, etc.  and that the concern over shrimp was the high PCB levels that are associated with fish (shrimp) farming methods. I know that has been a problem with farmed  salmon, not to mention the environmental degradation.

  11. On another website, where levels of mercury in various fish were enumerated, shrimp came in high on the charts.  (sorry, I don’t have that URL handy) Maybe you could review your findings in regard to the growing alarm over mercury levels in our oceanic fish.

  12. Hi julie,

    Thanks for your comment. In general shellfish are among the most nutrient-dense foods available. Dr. Weston A. Price found in his epidemiological studies that the populations around the world that ate shellfish were among the healthiest he encountered.

    Oysters are incredibly high in iron, with about a 100mg per gram. The next highest source is ginger at 7mg/g, and then beef and lamb at 6mg/g. So, one 100g serving of oysters a month gives you more iron than two equivalent servings of beef per week!

    Oysters also supply iron, selenium and other trace minerals; fat-soluble vitamins A and D; and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. The long-chain fatty acids in oysters make a synergistic combination with saturated fatty acids from butter and coconut oil.

    Shrimp have ten times the amount of vitamin D than liver, which is already very high. Shrimp sauces and shrimp pastes made from dried shrimp, and therefore a concentrated source of vitamin D, are used throughout Africa and the Orient. This is the most likely explanation for low rates of osteoporosis in these regions, as well as a virtual absence of diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency—colon cancer and multiple sclerosis.

    A recent study at the University of Michigan once again confirmed the extensive health benefits of vitamin D, saying that it promotes strong bones, a healthy immune system, and offers protection against some types of cancer as well as heart disease.

    So eat your shrimp and oysters!

  13. Thanks for the revised superfoods list. I’m doing pretty good after looking at your new list! I need to find out about oysters and shrimp–why are they a super food? Just curious, I have nothing against them, in fact it’s refreshing that they are on the list!
    I have to smile when I see that butter comes in number one!

  14. Good point, John! It is certainly true that the yoghurt recommended by mainstream “medical authorities” is always low-fat or even non-fat. The same is true for milk and even cheese. In fact, the food industry has come up with cheeses that are artificially low in fat just for this purpose!

    There are two main problems with eating low-fat dairy products (three if you count their bland and uninspiring flavor!) First, the fat is where you find health-promoting fat-soluble vitamins A & D, and of course the saturated fat itself in milk is an important nutrient for the body – despite popular belief. Second, protein digestion requires the presence of vitamins A & D; therefore, eating lean sources of protein such as low-fat dairy depletes the body’s natural stores of these vitamins, because it will draw on its own supply of vitamin A & D to digest the protein.

    Thanks again for pointing this out, John.

    Chris

    • Hi Chris, when you say, “protein digestion requires the presence of vitamins A & D; therefore, eating lean sources of protein such as low-fat dairy depletes the body’s natural stores of these vitamins, because it will draw on its own supply of vitamin A & D to digest the protein”, is that just for dairy protein or for all protein? And do you have a reference for that statement? I would like to look into it further.

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