When you think of healthy foods, what comes to your mind? Vegetable, lean meats, fruit and whole grains. These are some of the most common and well-known foods that offer a long list of health benefits. But what about those foods that may not be as widely known but still offer a surprising amount of health benefits? Check out this list of foods and drinks that are actually nutritious and may just surprise you!
That’s right. Sneaking that small piece of a chocolate bar after dinner or mid-day shouldn’t be considered a “cheat” on your diet or even a poor food choice. In fact, dark chocolate is packed with nutrients that are proven to improve health.
If you’re looking for foods high in antioxidants, look no further. The cocoa tree, which chocolate is made from, is actually one of the richest sources of antioxidants on earth. Dark chocolate can even lower your risk of heart disease. Just try opting for the pure cocoa variety versus those loaded with additional sugar.
If you were told that corn offers no real nutritional value, you were misinformed! Corn is actually a whole grain, just like quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal and should be treated as such. Whether you decide to eat it right off the cob or top your salad with it, corn is another unknown food packed with antioxidants. You swap out your rice or whole grain pasta side for corn and spice up your plate! You can add popcorn to this list also, since it’s low in calories and fat. Just be sure to steer clear of the extra butter and salt. Healthier popcorn flavors include rosemary, cinnamon, and garlic, which can be added to air-popped popcorn drizzled in olive-oil for a crunchy and satisfying snack.
Not all wine is created equal. And who knew booze could be good for you? Red wine, specifically, has some major health benefits that make incorporating a glass or two into your work week actually more beneficial.
Not only does red wine help raise the good cholesterol in your body, it also promotes heart health. Red wine helps prevent plaque and blood clots that can form in your arteries. This wine is so good for your heart it may actually reduce your risk of heart disease. And don’t forget the antioxidants. Red wine contains resveratrol and flavonoids, which can prevent cellular damage. So stop feeling bad about that glass of wine you pour after a long day at work!
Unless you are allergic to soy, this ingredient can actually provide some pretty awesome benefits when incorporated into your diet. Soy milk and edomonma, two great sources of soy, are packed with fiber, can help control blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol. Just steer clear of non-GMO soy. GMO foods are those made with genetically modified organisms and can carry some serious health risks.
And we don’t mean just the sweet variety! White potatoes are actually good for you. The red variety are even better, having only 88 calories each! Of course you can’t smother your potatoes in butter or fry them into French fries, but when baked or boiled, potatoes offer a lot of amazing benefits, including fat burning carbs.
A little known fact about white potatoes is that they actually contain what’s known as resistant starch. This type of starch acts as a fiber in your body that triggers your body to burn more fat. So, eating potatoes can actually help your body to burn fat and support weight loss. For the record, sweet potatoes offer nutritional benefits such as fiber, vitamins A and C, magnesium and calcium.
The incredible, edible egg sometimes gets a bad rap for being high in cholesterol. But the truth remains that eggs alone are not enough to raise your cholesterol to unhealthy levels. In fact, eggs carry many more benefits than they do negatives. Despite popular belief that egg whites are better than yolks, the yellow of an egg actually contains healthy omega-3 fats and other nutrients. Eggs are also an awesome source of protein, offering 6 grams in each serving.
Coffee lovers rejoice! Your morning cup of Joe is actually a healthy alternative to some other energy and caffeine drinks. For many coffee drinkers, what you put into your morning coffee is what adds extra calories, sugar, and fat, not the brew itself.
In fact, when you drink black coffee you’re actually helping your body reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Coffee has also been known to ward off the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Just be mindful of anything you add into your brew that could add fat, calories, and unwanted sugar.
When you think of lean meats, this one may not immediately come to mind. But duck is actually one of the healthiest meats you can consume. No, not the fired variety, but the meat itself actually contains less saturated fat than beef. Duck contains a nice dose of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B. If you’re looking to get the most benefits from this meat, minus the fat, ditch the skin. One-third of the saturated fat found in duck is in the skin!
Who doesn’t love cheese? Cheese is an excellent source of protein and calcium, which promotes strong bones and overall well-being. It also contains vitamin A, B12, zinc and phosphorus. These ingredients help strengthen your immune system and promote healthy bones, teeth, and skin. Cheddar cheese offers a few additional benefits as well, increasing your mouth’s production of saliva. This neutralizes the acids in your mouth and can help prevent tooth decay!
Think Outside the Box
When eating healthy, we sometimes get into food ruts. That’s because we tend to eat the same healthy foods over and over. With a little research and innovation, you can incorporate some of these non-traditional health food items into your diet to help spice things up while slimming you down.
Article Submitted By Community Writer