5 Surprisingly Healthy Foods

Food that you wouldn't think would be healthy for you but have some hidden benefits.

5 Surprisingly Healthy Foods

With thousands of options and trendy diets claiming different things, it can become confusing as to what food can actually be considered as healthy. But what if the foods you're eating everyday are already healthy? Here are some common foods with health benefits that might surprise you.

Chocolate

Ever wondered why women crave chocolate on their periods? Chocolate is actually a good source of iron, which the body needs more of during menstruation. A serving of dark chocolate has about 10% of the recommended daily amount of iron. And the more cacoa, the more iron in the candy. Iron is important because it helps carry oxygen throughout the blood.

It is important to note that milk chocolate contains many added sugars and fat, but dark chocolate has a higher nutritional quality.

Garlic

Garlic is nature’s antibiotic. Studies have shown that garlic is effective in killing off bacteria. This means that garlic can combat sickness. Some people take garlic pills or eat a clove a day to ward off any infections. Many people use garlic to heal or prevent cold sores.

Garlic is also loaded with essential nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamin C. Garlic is very easy to add to any diet. Powders, oils or natural cloves can be added to sauces, rice, soups and pastas.

Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola, or Centella asiatica, is an Asian herb that many Westerns probably aren’t familiar with. However, it can be a beneficial addition to any diet. Asians have been using it for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Today, some people take it to help treat depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. Multiple studies have shown that taking gotu kola each day can reduce stress.

Gotu Kola benefits also include anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can cause pain in the muscles and joints, so treating it can help heal your body.

Gotu Kola is a member of the parsley family, the leaves are used in salads, curries and stir fries. The herb can also be made into a tea.

Honey

Honey is high in antioxidants, which help heart and blood health. The antioxidants in honey can reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. Both high blood pressure and bad cholestorol levels can lead to heart disease. Honey may even increase blood flow and prevent blood clots.

People who are dieting or diabetic may cut back on added sugars by substituting honey instead.

Locally produced honey might even reduce allergies. Honey from a specific region will contain a small amount of pollens from that specific region’s plants. When your immune system is activated, it will be able to kill the small amount of allergen, similar to how vaccines work. It is suggested to start eating locally produced honey a few weeks before allergy season kicks in so that the body has enough time to build up the immune system.

Coffee

Many students rely on a cup (or 7) of coffee to help them stay awake during class. But coffee may actually help make them smarter, too. Researchers have found that caffeine can enhance long-term memory, and help students retain information they learned in class.

Coffee benefits the brain in other ways, too. Some scientists believe that coffee may prevent Alzhiemers, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

Studies prove that coffee drinkers have a lower risk for certain types of cancer, such as liver cancer and colon cancer.

When it comes to nutrition, it can become confusing as to which foods are healthy for you. Staples such as chocolate, coffee and garlic have plenty of benefits and are easy to add to any diet, if they aren't already apart of yours.

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