We’ve all heard the nutritional consultants, dietitians and food gurus who reprimand us about what not to eat – giving us warnings and statistics about the bad consequences of poor dietary choices. However, there are some common foods we eat every day that studies show provide great health benefits. While to the untrained eye our food is just, well…food, below I’ve listed 10 common foods found in your diet that are actually making you healthy.
The caffeine in found in coffee can help aid physical performance, fat loss and mental alertness. However, what many people don’t know, is that coffee contains essential nutrients for human health, as well as antioxidants that have been shown to prevent certain types of cancer and disease.
It’s been recommended to drink five cups of coffee daily to receive these benefits. Anything more than five could be counterproductive, as too much caffeine has been shown to increase levels of anxiety and stress.
By choosing a quality brand, and perhaps leaving out the sugar, you could be receiving more than a pick-me-up for the morning – you’ll also receive a range of benefits that will aid your health down the line.
Normally it’s dark chocolate that gets a lot of attention for its antioxidants and health benefits. However, studies show that eating regular chocolate can bring us some good too. Chocolate releases the chemical serotonin in the brain, making us feel happy and also improving our stress levels.
Whilst dark chocolate seems to be a more sensible choice than your average chocolate brand, as long as you have a balanced diet in check then having a bit of chocolate from time to time, no matter the variety, is actually a good thing!
3. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a great source of vitamin E, which is good for the skin and helps reduce damage from high cholesterol. Peanut butter has also shown to be a great food supplement for women during and after pregnancy, as vitamin E is very important during the early stages of life.
Of course, choosing an organic brand of peanut butter is ideal to get the most benefits, as cheap supermarket brands contain high amounts of sugar, salt and vegetable oil. So if you – like many others – suffer with a mild peanut butter addiction, studies show it’s not all that bad.
Eggs have been labeled as a superfood in recent years, as they contain essential vitamins, minerals, and protein and are a source of good fats for the body. Eggs have also become a staple food in some of the best fat-loss diets around.
Having eggs in our diets is by no means a bad thing. Eggs got a bad reputation in the past because of high cholesterol concerns; however, further research has shown this to be a fallacy and that we can enjoy eggs as part of a healthy diet.
5. Red Wine
Red wine is becoming widely known for its various health benefits. This is chiefly because of the antioxidants it contains, which have been shown to prevent certain types of cancers and to increase longevity. In addition, red wine is a preferable choice for dieters because of its low sugar content. And whilst not wanting to encourage you to drink more alcohol, the studies on red wine are still very promising – you could be better off drinking one glass a day than none at all.
Turmeric is a principal spice ingredient in most curries, and it’s responsible for a range of health benefits. Some of these benefits include the reduction of swelling and pain associated with the inflammation of the joints. Curries that contain chili, ginger and black pepper also aid a healthy metabolism, not to mention helping the immune system.
7. Tomato Sauce
If you enjoy Italian food, make sure your pastas have a tomato-based sauce. Tomato paste, which is the main ingredient of common pasta sauces, contains vitamin B5, which supports our adrenal glands and improves our response to stress. One tablespoon of tomato paste contains just 13 calories, so not only is it good for our health, it’s also a wise choice for dieters looking to shed some pounds.
While many of us are aware that milk has some health benefits, particularly its calcium levels and fat-soluble vitamins, one of the most interesting facts about milk is that it contributes to your hydration levels. Those of us who neglect drinking water but have time for a glass milk will find that milk is in fact 90% water! So if you’re not keen on eight glasses of water a day, studies show that substituting some of those for milk can be just as beneficial.
9. Beef Burgers
Believe it or not, a beef burger by itself is not all that bad; beef provides nutrients such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. Whilst a burger and fries from your standard fast food joint may not be the best way to go about health, creating your own burger at home and choosing a wholemeal bun is actually a rewarding meal in terms of good health and nutrition.
Most cereals – including high-sugar brands – contain folic acid, which is essential for our bodies’ cell replication and prevents cell mutation and cancers. Of course, choosing low-sugar cereals is advocated, but as with any balanced diet, if you weaken and indulge in a childhood favorite every once in a while, it might not be so bad after all.
There are a lot of foods we commonly eat that offer a range of health benefits. And even some of the most energy-dense foods can still have their potential health properties. The real key is to find a balance in our lives and enjoy the food we eat, and if you want to lose some excess pounds, just cut back a little bit and increase your exercise level. You may just find the foods you are eating now are offering more than you realized.