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10 Everyday Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy

Healthy Foods
persocomholic / veggiefrog / TheKarenD, flickr

People are always trying to eat healthier or lose weight. The media sends out a constant onslaught of new information about what you should and shouldn’t eat.

There are diet pills, vitamin supplements, diet crazes and alternative foods available to anyone who would like to make a change in the foods he or she consumes, and lead a more balanced life, at least as far as nutrition goes. Even with all of the choices out there now, there are still some plain old favorite foods that you can indulge in that actually have some surprising health benefits. Here’s a list of 10 foods that are really good for you — and are tasty, too.

Chocolate

Chocolate
John Loo, flickr

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can do wonders for your overall health. Relatively small daily helpings of dark chocolate can help reduce bad LDL cholesterol, the risk of diabetes, and keep your blood pressure down. The higher the amount of cacao in the chocolate, the better off you’ll be. Just remember not to gorge on too much chocolate every day.

Watermelon

Watermelon
persocomholic, flickr

Watermelons are the perfect summertime food. They’re great for barbeques and picnics, and also happen to be full of important nutrients like lycopene, an antioxidant that can help fight against heart disease and several different types of cancers. In addition to lycopene, watermelons are jammed full of A, C and B6 vitamins, and lots of potassium. Plus, they’re sweet and delicious, and tons of fun to eat.

Coffee

Coffee Beans
Michael Simmons, flickr

Coffee has some strong health benefits. Of course, like chocolate, coffee should always be taken in moderation, caffeinated or not. Studies point to the possibility that coffee might reduce the risk of coming down with certain types of diabetes, colon cancer and even Parkinson’s disease. In addition to fighting off diseases, coffee can actually help improve your memory. Just remember not to drink more than several cups a day, or else you’ll be plagued with caffeine jitters.

Salsa

Salsa
hisc1ay, flickr

Salsa is one spicy food that helps you take in your daily allotment of vegetables, and it does so in a very tasty way. Since salsa is generally made with heaps of tomatoes, you’ll get a concentrated does of lycopene, the same ingredient in watermelons that helps protect the body against cancer. Salsa is usually made with lots of chili peppers too, which happen to contain capsaicin. Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer qualities. If those two ingredients weren’t enough, salsa is also loaded with vitamins and minerals. So go on, take another dip of that spicy salsa with your tortilla chip.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms
Chiot's Run, Flickr

Mushrooms are rich in vitamin D, and are one of the only places you can get this essential vitamin, apart from the sun. It’s important you expose mushrooms to natural sunlight before eating them, in order to increase the amount of vitamin D contained within. Some mushrooms also help boost your immune system, as well as your metabolism, thanks to the presence of B vitamins.

Garlic

Garlic
clayirving, flickr

Not only does garlic keep vampires away, but it also has the ability to lower high blood pressure, and keep bad LDL cholesterol levels down. Garlic is a powerful, natural broad-spectrum antibiotic as well. The only real drawback to this wonderful food is garlic breath, although garlic breath can be very useful when you’d like an unwanted admirer to leave you alone, even if he or she isn’t a vampire.

Popcorn

Popcorn
veggiefrog, flickr

Popcorn can be good for you? It’s mostly air, with butter and salt smothered on top, right? Well, it turns out popcorn, without tons of butter and salt, has some unexpected health benefits. Popcorn is loaded with a variety of polyphenols, which are helpful antioxidants that can prevent damage to your cells. And no, we’re not talking about the cell phones you carry around in your pocket, but rather the ones you carry around in your body.

Pistachios

Pistachios
sweetbeetandgreenbean, flickr

Pistachios are delicious, low in calories and fat, and brimming over with all kinds of good vitamins. Crack open one of these little nuts and you’ll get antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, including the all-important B6, carotenes, vitamin E, copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron… well, you get the idea. The list goes on and on. So the next time you have a craving for a savory snack, reach for a bowl of pistachios.

Blueberries

Blueberries
TheKarenD, flickr

Blueberries might be small, but they contain an awful lot of power when it comes to delivering nutrition. One little blueberry contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese and polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that can help with memory, as well as diseases related to aging. In some ways, blueberries have a touch of the ‘fountain of youth’ working for them.

Eggs

Eggs
pietroizzo, flickr

People who have high cholesterol often avoid eggs, yet eggs are actually an excellent source of protein, and not as bad for cholesterol levels as you might think. They contain lots of great vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, different kinds of B vitamins, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, which can do wonders for your eyes. Eggs are also loaded with choline, a B-complex vitamin that is beneficial to the human brain. So go on, have an egg, scrambled, or sunny side up. It just might make you smarter.

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