10 foods that are surprisingly good for you
No justifications, just little bonuses you might not be aware of
Labelling food as guilty or not guilty is unhelpful. Feeling either way about what you eat is really rather counterproductive. As long as you're striking the right personal balance between diet and exercise in order to stay healthy, that's all that matters. To help you do that, here's a few foods that you might think are unhealthy but, when consumed as part of a varied and moderated diet, are rather good for you.
(Yes, gin is on here. So is wine. And beer. Go on. Fill up. NOW!)
As a whole grain, popcorn has numerous health benefits. It’s high in fibre, contains protein, vitamins and minerals, is low in fat and sugar and contains no cholesterol. The salt, sweeteners and butter often used to coat popcorn can be unhealthy if too much is consumed, so choosing the right kind and limiting portions is often important.
Popcorn is just one of six major types of corn, and is a cousin of maize and sweetcorn. Photo by Alex Munsell on Unsplash
Biltong is often unfairly compared to its American cousin, jerky. Unlike jerky, however, biltong is low in sugar and fat while high in protein. It also contains a load of nutrients like B and D vitamins, magnesium and iron, all of which are crucial to our bodies’ proper functioning. Recently, we spoke to Rupert Freestone, a British biltong producer and co-founder of The Cornish Biltong Company. Check out his interview to find out more about biltong.
We caught up with Rupert to chat about all things Cornish, beefy and biltong-y
The Cornish Biltong Company was founded by Rupert and Fred, two fitness nuts from Cornwall
Contrary to popular belief, pork can be an extremely lean meat. Cuts like fillet or loin medallions typically contain less than 3% fat (and less than 1.5% saturated fat), and pork provides a range of important nutrients including B vitamins and zinc.
Aaccording to lovepork.co.uk, trimmed pork loin and fillet are just as healthy as a chicken breast. Photo by Alex Munsell on Unsplash
While it’s obviously not a health food, cocoa is high in bioactive compounds called flavanols. As antioxidants, flavanols have been proven to lower the cell damage associated with heart disease and are thought to lower blood pressure. The higher the cocoa content, the more flavanols, meaning darker chocolate is more beneficial.
As milk and white chocolate are processed, their cocoa content drops. Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
5. Whole milk
While higher in saturated fat and calories than skimmed and semi-skimmed, whole milk is hardly an unhealthy product unless consumed in large enough quantities for the extra fats and calories to stack up. In fact, whole milk contains more fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A and E, which you’ll miss out on by drinking lower fat options.
Whole milk has a fat content of around 3.5% compared to 0.3% and 1.5% for skimmed and semi-skimmed. Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
6. Peanut butter
It turns out that two tablespoons a day of peanut butter is good for you. While high in calories, it’s also packed full of vegetable protein, vitamins and minerals. The fat contained within peanut butter is also around 95% unsaturated. Additives are often used for preservation, taste and texture but healthier brands with lower amounts of additives are available.
The less additives, the better. Check labels to find peanut butter with lower numbers of added ingredients. Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash
On top of being lower in calories and sodium than many other cheeses, mozzarella also contains gut friendly probiotic cultures, just like you’d find in yoghurt and other fermented products. These improve gut health and are thought to help strengthen the immune system. As a dairy product, it’s also a great source of calcium. Better get on Deliveroo.
Mozzarella is good for you. Buy that pizza. Photo by Aurélien Lemasson-Théobald on Unsplash
8. Red wine
Moderate alcohol consumption is considered to be relatively healthy, reducing the risk of heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Red wine also contains an antioxidant called resveratrol. While more research is needed, resveratrol may prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clots. It is made from grapes, after all. Check out our recent advice on how to get big savings on wine delivery.
Which big names will deliver vino to the door and how much will it cost? The only two questions you ever really need to ask
Come on, it's grape juice. How could it be bad for you? Photo by Carson Masterson on Unsplash
With gin, it’s a case of where to start. The juniper berries used to flavour it have numerous benefits. They impart vitamin C to strengthen the immune system and flavonoid antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory, aid blood pressure management and reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Gin contains no histamines, making it perfect for those who suffer from hay fever. As gin is essentially just watered down and flavoured ethanol, it’s an extremely clean alcohol, making its hangovers less potent. To top it all off, it’s also low in calories. What more excuse do you need?
Juniper berries provide a wide range of health benefits. Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash
Published in 2011, the review of a study into the effects of beer drinking on 290,000 healthy adults showed that the consumption of around a pint of beer a day led to a 33% reduction in the risk of contracting heart disease. Studies have also shown beer to reduce the risk of diabetes and kidney stones. Unlike gin, however, it'll probably give you a hangover.
One pint of beer a day is good for you. That doesn't mean you should start drinking if you don't already, though. Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash