Many lists out there are out to tell you that all the foods you enjoy are secretly terrible, and that you should stop eating them. They will go on at length about the secret fats, or bugs, or other awful processing that makes you never want to eat food again. This is not one of those lists. Instead, we are here to bring you joy by talking about how foods that you may not have thought were healthy at all, or you even thought were just plain bad for you, are much better for you than you ever imagined. Below are 10 foods that you didn’t know are good for you.
10. Eggs Are Not As Bad For Cholesterol As People Think
Eggs are a controversial food in terms of health. They were once thought quite healthy to the point people ate a lot of them, then people started worrying about their cholesterol and stopped eating them nearly as much, sometimes eating only the egg whites. However, more recently, scientists concluded that saturated fat was a much bigger cause for heart disease, and that eggs were not as bad as we had started to think. This is because they had at first believed that eating too much food with high cholesterol was the biggest contributor, but it turns out eating foods high in saturated fat is what is more likely to increase cholesterol levels.
They don’t recommend binging on eggs, but one egg a day for a healthy adult is okay, and three a week is the limit recommended for those who already have heart or other issues. And as long as you eat them in moderation, eggs are a great source of nutrition that are very good for you. If you keep your overall cholesterol intake reasonable throughout the day, you can get away with enjoying the protein and other nutrients packed into a single egg.
9. Chocolate Actually Isn’t Bad For Your Teeth (At Least Compared To Fruity And Acidic Sweets)
Most of the time dentists are known for hating Halloween and all candies involved, but if you ask your dentist what candy you are allowed to eat, the answer may surprise you. Most people would imagine the answer would be “none”, but many dentists believe that chocolate, especially darker chocolate is not only not bad for your teeth, but can actually have positive effects. Eating chocolate in general is less destructive to the enamel than the more hard or sticky candies, and is much easier to wash off from the teeth.
Dark chocolate also tends to have less sugar, which is less destructive as well. It is also low in acidity compared to most non-chocolate candies, which is another plus when worrying about your oral health. Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols that can help fight bad breath, and has flavonoids that some dentists believe is effective at slowing tooth decay. If you are worried about the health of the neighborhood children next Halloween, just pass out something like Hershey’s Special Dark, and you can rest easy knowing that you aren’t contributing to the downfall of their oral health. While the stereotype of the dentist passing out apples and such may have made it into popular culture, it is more than a little silly. A dentist would likely not give out something as sugary, acidic and sweet as an apple that could break a small child’s tooth or harm their teeth – they would be much more likely to just give them dark chocolate, or perhaps gum sweetened with xylitol.
8. Tuna May Be Dangerous, But Canned Salmon Is Good For You
People used to think of tuna as the ultimate cheap, go-to healthy food that you could use for almost anything in a rush, and get a lot of protein and other nutrients, as well as omega 3 fatty acids, in one go. Unfortunately, now people are worried about mercury levels in tuna, and not many people want to risk eating it more than rarely. However, if you want to get the health benefits of the tuna without the mercury risk at a decent price, canned salmon is actually a great option. And even if you can afford it, fresh may not necessarily be the way to go. Larger fish are more likely to have more mercury, and fresher, larger catches could contain higher levels. Canned salmon is generally farmed in conditions where you don’t even have to worry about mercury levels.
On top of not needing to worry about the dangers of mercury as you would with tuna, it is also only a little bit more expensive. It is packed with protein, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, healthy unsaturated fats and other nutrients that are especially good for you. Some people may not think of canned foods as healthy, but canned salmon is actually a very cheap and convenient way to get the benefits of tuna without the risk. Just be careful of small pieces of bone, as they can sometimes be found in canned salmon.
7. Frozen Vegetables Are Often Better And Safer Than Fresh Produce
Most people would think that eating fresh food is the way to go, and in a way they would be right. If you could regularly go to a farmers market and buy only fresh, in season fruits and vegetables, then that would be the optimal situation. However, for most people, that really isn’t an option – the vast majority of people do most of their shopping at chain supermarkets. When you are buying at a chain supermarket, eating fresh may actually not be as nutritious or as healthy as you think. When you buy fresh produce, it still had to be shipped quite a way across the country, without ever going through any freezing preservation process – this makes it lose freshness and nutrients. There are also many hands that touch it before you do, increasing the chance of diseases like E. coli spreading because of tainted produce.
On the other hand, frozen produce is usually flash frozen right at the source when it is at peak freshness. And unless it is sitting in a freezer for a long time, it tends to keep the nutrients, due to the flash freezing process. You also don’t really have to worry as much about disease, because the extreme temperatures from the freezing destroy bacteria and help prevent any future growth as it remains in a freezer.
6. Capsaicin, Commonly Found In Chilis, Is Good For Naturally Reducing Inflammation
When most people think of hot chili peppers, they think of crazy people on YouTube eating the hottest possible on a dare, and then making the most excruciating faces as they try to come to terms with what they just did. Many people tend to think of very spicy foods as only for flavor, or for people to try to show others how tough they think they are. However, eating chili peppers is actually good for you, and has medical applications. The key is the active compound in chili peppers known as capsaicin. This compound triggers an endorphin rush that causes your brain to block pain receptors.
Medical experts have especially found it useful for treating arthritis pain, and also for helping the itching and inflammation caused by Psoriasis. In general, capsaicin is a very good anti-inflammatory, and is used in more products than people may realize. Sports relief gels like icy hot use the active ingredient in capsaicin to help give you that familiar burning sensation, and then menthol to give you a cooling sensation afterward. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should binge on anything. Eating chili peppers raw can be bad for your stomach, and eating too much of any one thing can easily cause you indigestion.
5. Garlic And Onions Are Good For You, But Lose Effectiveness The More You Cook Them
Onions and garlic are interesting items on this list because a fair number of you probably already consider them to be good for you. However, many of you may also be accidentally destroying all the health benefits of this food before it ever actually reaches your mouth. Both of these foods are very similar to each other, hailing from the allium genus, which includes other onion-type foods such as shallots. Both of these foods have long been hailed in folk medicine as both preventative and curative, and modern science has recently confirmed ways in which they are good for you. The organosulphur compounds, especially those in garlic, are good for preventing heart disease and as cancer prevention. Onions are often used when dealing with colds, and can help balance blood sugars levels – although it is not enough as a substitute for those who need insulin.
However, most of these benefits are completely destroyed with just a little bit of cooking. Putting garlic in a microwave quickly destroys the health benefits in less than a minute, and onion is very similar. Eating them raw is the most beneficial way to get the nutrients from these foods, but many people may find that unpalatable. For those who wish to cook them part-way but still get most of the health benefits, there are methods you can use.
For garlic, it is recommended that you crush it up and let it sit for a while first. Crushing it activates a compound called alliinase that allows the organosulphur compounds to start working, before the heat can prevent them from doing so. However, too much cooking can still finish off anything healthy about them even this way, so it is recommended to add it to your skillet near the end of cooking. For onions, you can bake them in their skins, which will soften them up and mellow out the flavor, while protecting most of the nutrients within. You could also add raw onion slices to a hamburger – a very delicious and easy way to add nutritional benefits to your meal.
4. Red Wine Is Good For You, But Only In Moderation And Eaten With Your Largest Meal
Some people may have heard before that red wine is good for you and scoffed at the idea, but it is sort of true. Now, we say sort of because this doesn’t mean you should just go pounding down a bottle of red every night. However, in moderation red wine can actually provide positive health benefits, as part of an overall healthy diet. A study at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel tracked over 200 research participants over two years, with three separate control groups, in order to find the health benefits of red wine. All test subjects regularly had blood work done for the study and answered survey questions as needed.
All groups were on the Mediterranean diet, but with no calorie restrictions. One group was instructed to drink a glass of water with their meals every night, one group a glass of white wine, and one group a glass of red wine. The only difference between the groups was what they drank something different, and the red wine drinkers had higher levels of good cholesterol after the two year study. It is also of note that both types of wine drinkers reported better quality sleep, while the water drinkers did not – although no one reported any adverse health effects. However, we should emphasize again that drinking a lot of wine is still not good for you. None of these test subjects drank more than one small glass of wine a day, and they drank it slowly with their largest meal.
3. Pizza Is Actually Quite Good For You, It’s Just Made In An Unhealthy Way By Most US Manufacturers
Pizza is one of those foods that we never really think about as being healthy. In America it is mostly junk food, and eaten at incredible rates. Junk food pizza is also very common and popular in the United Kingdom these days, due to the convenience, cheapness, and instant gratification. However, even junk food pizza has a lot of good things about it; it just isn’t made as well as it could be. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is an excellent antioxidant, and in general has a lot of different nutrients you need at the same time. However, most common pizza is made with refined flour and not whole grains, is very greasy, and isn’t that good for you to have often.
This should not cause you to mistake the food itself as unhealthy, though. If made in a healthy way, especially at home with whole grains, it can be a very nutritious food that can get you and your family all the different food groups they need in one big, artisanal pie. Some experts also suggest eating pizza, especially the heavier junk food varieties, earlier in the day, as it is less likely for your body to be slowing down at midday and converting the unhealthy parts of the pizza to fat. Pizza can be a very healthy and nutritious part of a regular diet, as long as whoever makes it does so in a healthy manner and with the right ingredients.
2. Sports Drinks Are Better Than Water As A Temporary Measure To Prevent Dehydration And Water Intoxication
Water intoxication is something many of you have probably already heard of. If you are an athlete, don’t have air conditioning, or are outside in the summer heat for whatever reason doing anything strenuous or just moving around, you could be at risk of dehydration. Most people counter this by drinking gobs of water, and this puts them in danger of water intoxication. This is when you drink so much water so fast that, as you sweat, the sodium in your blood becomes dangerously depleted. This can lead to seizures and even death if it isn’t caught and dealt with fast enough. Sports drinks may seem like unhealthy sugar water, but they are designed the way they are for a reason. Sports drinks need to have salt, in order to help put back in the sodium you are sweating out, and the sugar makes the taste bearable despite it being basically salt water.
While we aren’t suggesting these are healthy drinks you should be having all the time as you sit around the house, it is actually a better option than water for anyone who is looking to avoid dehydration on a hot day and maintain the proper electrolyte balance in their body. However, experts also caution that you shouldn’t just drink sports drinks and consider everything just fine. They slow down water intoxication, and it happens much slower than just drinking plain water, but it can still happen, as sports drinks do not have enough salt to replace what you’re losing. Experts recommend dealing with this by also keeping salty snacks on hand to make sure your electrolyte levels stay properly balanced.
1. Unless You Have Celiac Disease, Gluten Is Not Only Good For You But An Important Part Of Your Diet
Gluten-free has become the latest trend in the United States, and while this can be good for the tiny amount of people who do have celiac disease, due to the increased availability of products, it may not be so good for all the others who are following a gluten-free lifestyle. Now, we want to be clear that you can eat gluten free and be perfectly healthy – many who have celiac do this on a regular basis. However, not eating gluten means losing out on a lot of sources rich in dietary fiber, which most Americans do not get enough of already. You are also losing out on a lot of vitamin fortified foods when you go gluten-free.
Now, those who have been officially diagnosed with celiac disease tend to be following nutritional instructions from their doctor, and have a careful plan to make sure they still get the fiber and vitamins that they need. This often involves eating less common whole grains that you have to go out of your way to find and cook on your own, and taking certain vitamin capsules on a regular basis. The issue is that most people who are following the diet because it’s trendy and they think it’s the latest health craze, despite not having the disease, usually are not following instructions from a doctor, or doing their due diligence to research and eat the right replacement foods. Instead, they just eat gluten-free substitutes, and fail to get the proper nutrients that they actually need. Experts feel that those who think they have celiac disease, or some kind of lesser issue with it, should see their doctor for an official diagnosis. This way the doctor can monitor their health, and make sure they are getting the right foods – or reassure them that they have no problem with gluten after all.
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