We all know the healthy foods from the unhealthy. Anybody can tell you a meal balanced with meats, veg and carbs is healthier for you than a greasy takeaway. Healthy foods are recognisable a mile off; nuts are packed with proteins, fruit is high in fibre and water is the elixir of life. But it may surprise you that almost every food on the planet has some health benefit to you. Even a beef burger! Some foods are actually hidden gems of health that have gained a negative reputation due to overconsumption or stayed under the radar. Did you know that chocolate can be good for you? Here are our top 10 surprisingly healthy foods:
1. Red Wine
Knew that would get your attention. Taken in moderation, red wine can help prevent plaque and blood clots from forming in arteries. It is also high in antioxidants that studies have suggested prevents cellular damage when taken in moderate, regular intervals.
A single medium potato with its skin is only 160 calories. This low calorie count for such a whole and filling food is perfect for a meal base or to bulk a meal up. With this in mind, it is also one the best sources of potassium and fibre amongst the produce section.
3. Whole Milk
Whole milk contains large amounts of natural Vitamins A and D compared to skimmed and low-fat, which contain synthetic replacements. A study of 19,000 women over 9 years discovered 1 portion of whole milk or cheese a day put on less weight.
Proper lean beef should be organic and grass-fed. This is high in omega-3 fats that are very good for the heart. It’s packed with conjugated linoleic acid, which is considered to aid cancer prevention.
Not just good for flavour! Mushrooms are, in fact, the only vegetable source of vitamin D. Whilst it is only a small amount, one study concluded exposure to sunlight can increase this. Some varieties of mushroom also include vitamin B sources.
Loin chops are a particularly healthy option when considered as a protein source, with 29 grams of protein in a single chop. This even matches that of chicken. They are full of B vitamins and niacin, helping to lower cholesterol. However, avoid certain cuts, like bacon or ribs!
Chocolate in its rawest form, cacao, is the world’s best source of antioxidants. Pure chocolate also sharpens cognitive functions and the release of endorphins increases feelings of love and happiness. Dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of coco than other forms, so is the healthiest form to consume this in.
8. Hemp Seeds
Don’t be thinking cannabis plant or marijuana! These raw seeds provide omega-6 and omega-3 in the perfect ratio, that being under 4:1. This balances out the modern diet that is heavy in omega-6, which can reduce the risk of cancer, poor development early in life and cardiovascular disease.
Honestly! Butter! Condemned by many for its saturated fats, thought to cause heart disease, butter has surprised us all. Studies in 2010 dispelled the long believed myth that saturated fats cause heart disease, to be replaced by refined sugars and carbohydrates as the primary culprit. Butter is high in selenium and butyric acid, which makes it a better alternative to margarine in moderation.
Yes, Nutella! It contains high amounts of protein in the form of soy extract lecithin. Further to this, it contains Calcium and iron that can help bones, making you feel more energetic and full. But be careful, it should not be an everyday consumable, but more a healthier alternative to an unbearable chocolate craving!