Top Foods to Eat for Full Nutrition and Balanced Meals, as Ranked by Scientists

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Almonds are one of the best foods you can eat for health, as they are high in good fats and nutrients. AMELIE QUERFURTH/AFP/Getty Images

Eating for your health isn't always easy. Some days, all you hear about are the benefits of low-carb diets, while other days it seems that every health article focuses on why you should go vegan. To demystify what a healthy, balanced diet entails, researchers analyzed more than 1,000 foods and assigned a score to indicate how well they would serve our nutritional needs.

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As the study authors write in their paper, it would be ideal if certain foods contained all the nutrients we need every day without going over the daily limit. But since that doesn't exist, they instead looked to identify what raw foods could be consumed together to meet our nutritional needs.

Higher scores indicate that a food will meet your daily allotment without exceeding what our bodies need. While the study was conducted in 2015, the BBC published an infographic today showing the 100 most nutritious foods. We've culled it down to the top five, including their score and why you should include these foods in your diet.

Almonds
According to the study, almonds received a nutritional score of 97 because they are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. These are known as good fats, which are thought to lower inflammation, aide in insulin resistance to reduce diabetes risk and promote heart health. They're also a good source of vitamin E and protein.

Cherimoya
With a score of 96, this obscure fruit is high in vitamins A, C, B1, B2 and potassium. Cherimoyas hail from Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia and aren't as complicated to eat as they look. According to Serious Eats, the fruit tastes similar to mango, banana and pineapple, with a cream-like consistency. Simply cut in half and scoop out the fruit, or peel and cut, to toss into salads or smoothies.

Ocean Perch
High in protein and low in calories, this fish may not be the most popular choice, but researchers think it's a smart pick with a score of 89. The fish is affordable at 82 cents per 100 grams, and delivers only 79 calories and 15 grams of protein for the same estimate. According to Berkeley University's wellness website, they are sometimes called rockfish, but real perch are freshwater and weigh less than three pounds. Firm and flaky, the fish is usually sautéed.

Flatfish
This variety of fish includes common dinner picks like Sole, Halibut and Flounder. Flatfish have a high score of 88 because they generally have lower levels of mercury, according to Consumer Reports, making them a safe choice even for pregnant women. They're also low in calories and fat, but high in protein, vitamin B1 and phosphorous, which keeps our bones and bodily functions healthy.

Chia Seeds
They might be small, but these little seeds are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals including phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. They scored an 85 and can easily be added into your typical meals like smoothies, oatmeal or even salads for an extra nutritional boost.