Wouldn’t it be great if the foods you love were also good for you? Well, some of them are! Here are 5 foods that are filled with more health benefits than you may realize.
Love chocolate? You’ll be happy to know this sweet treat can actually be good for you. But not just any chocolate. In order to reap health benefits, choose chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa. The antioxidants and flavonoids in dark chocolate may help reduce high blood pressure by improving blood vessel flow. They may also help lower your risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. The key to enjoying chocolate’s health benefits without the drawbacks of the high calorie, sugar and fat content found in many candy bars is to choose varieties with high concentrations of cocoa and eat sparingly (no more than 1 – 1 ½ ounces). Just because chocolate is good for you doesn’t mean you can eat it with abandon.
Can’t live without your morning cup o’ Joe? That’s okay! The same caffeine you need to get your brain functioning each day may also help lower your risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia and headaches. Coffee also contains antioxidants that may improve your glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. In fact, a number of studies have found people who regularly drink coffee have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Studies have also shown that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of colorectal cancer and liver cancer.
Eggs contain high-quality protein and 13 essential vitamins and minerals. Although the yolks contain about 212mg of cholesterol, many doctors agree that it’s okay to eat a few eggs a week as long as you limit the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol you get from other sources. If you’d rather not eat the yolks, the whites alone provide nutrition benefits without the cholesterol and they are also low in calories. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white. The whites are also a good source of vitamin D, B6, B12 and selenium, as well as iron, zinc and copper.
Cold-water fish, like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines, is higher in fat than some other wild fish. But these types of fish contain healthy polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to offer numerous health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, preventing blood clots and reducing inflammation associated with heart disease. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings a week.
Loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber, avocados also contain about 20 vitamins and minerals. The monounsaturated fat in avocados helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and the stone fruit’s (yes, avocados are a fruit!) antioxidants have been shown to be good for your eyes, bones, digestive system and even your mood. Avocados are a calorie-dense food, so watch portion sizes because calories can add up quickly.