The media is a constant source of contradictions, especially when addressing healthy food options. One week you'll hear about how carbs are the devil, and the next, egg yolks can kill you. The claims are often ridiculous, and the advice usually boils down to moderation in dietary choices.
Still, trying to find a balance at the grocery store is challenging. The confusion and frustration surrounding dietary advice make most people give up and reach for the closest box of Pop-Tarts or a bag of potato chips.
Many people don't realize the surprising benefits of sweet, natural foods like cherries and maple syrup. Even if you eat a healthy diet, you might miss out on the benefits of foods outside your comfort zone or normal grocery shopping behavior. Next time you go shopping, add a few items to the list.
1. Tart Cherries
The color of cherries comes from the nutrient-pigment compound anthocyanin, an antioxidant. The antioxidant helps fight inflammation and can help reduce arthritis pain and protect your heart. According to studies, tart cherry juice can decrease muscle pain and speed up recovery in athletes. Also, medical professionals claim that eating a half cup of cherries before bed can improve sleep duration and quality.
2. Lean Beef
People know that eating too much red meat is bad for them, so including any beef on a healthy food list must seem odd. However, lean, grass-fed beef is rich in iron, B12, and the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10, which protects against free-radical damage.
Previous research asserted red meat was unhealthy because of its saturated fat content. Too much saturated fat can cause or contribute to heart and other health issues. However, recent studies indicate lean beef is just as beneficial and healthy as most white meat options.
Movie theater popcorn or microwaveable popcorn do not represent healthy options in most cases. Movie theaters and microwaveable popcorn producers often cover their popcorn in butter and butter substitutes. To experience the real benefit of popcorn, you need to enjoy it plain.
Plain popcorn is a healthy whole grain, and it is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and polyphenols. Polyphenols help prevent many degenerative issues, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.
Pumpkin is more than a pie filling. The fruit contains about 20% of your vitamin C daily intake requirement, and it contains high levels of beta-carotene and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is vital to eye health. According to experts, one cup of pumpkin delivers over 200% of your daily requirement.
5. White Produce
Onions, garlic, and cauliflower fall into the white produce category. Most people favor more colorful produce, assuming it is more flavorful and nutritious. However, white produce is also a healthy choice. For example, cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C and folate; it is also fat-free, low in sodium, cholesterol-free, and low calorie.
6. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate also possesses a few surprising benefits. Some benefits of dark chocolate include:
Reduced heart disease and stroke risks
Lower cholesterol levels
While it is challenging to navigate the world of nutrition, especially with conflicting media stories, know you don't have to break the mold to stay healthy. Sometimes, you can find excellent health benefits from overlooked sources.