Certain foods come with a certain connotation, and we just know that they are healthy for us to consume. For example if I mention bananas, kale, pomegranates, spinach, blueberries and apples, you probably think ‘Oh these are healthy foods that I should try and eat more of.’ But what if I were to mention chocolate, potatoes, mushrooms, coffee, pasta and iceberg lettuce? Generally these foods are regarded as not very healthy for you to consume, or little to no nutritional value. I wonder why that is, because these foods are packed with some amazing and surprising health benefits that you may have never knew existed.
Coffee. OK, I will admit, this one is seriously debatable, but did it just make the list because I happen to love it and am slightly addicted? No. There are actually a few reasons why coffee can be considered a health food – in moderation of course. Anything more than 1 cup a day is too much caffeine for your body to process and can produce some undesirable side effects. Research has shown that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. They also have a lower risk of developing certain cancers such as liver cancer. Coffee is also an excellent source of antioxidants.
Pasta. YAY! Yes pasta is healthy for you! Who would have thought? Not me. Obviously eating too much of anything can be unhealthy for you, but incorporating more pasta into your diet can be a good thing. Pasta has gotten a bad reputation because it is high in carbohydrates. However, pasta contains complex carbohydrates which release energy slowly. This can help you to eat less in the long run. Try eating spelt, kamut or whole grain pasta as opposed to pasta made with white flour. Have a gluten intolerance? You can get pastas in many different varieties made from rice, quinoa or corn, and in my opinion these are equally as delicious.
Chocolate. Another yay! Now, to be clear I am not talking about Mr. Big, Snickers or Aero. I am talking about chocolate bars containing at least 70% Cacao, not cocoa, cacao. Cacao is a super food and is the unprocessed version of chocolate. It is an extremely high source of magnesium and iron. Studies have shown that good quality chocolate can actually release serotonin in the brain and boost your mood and make you happy. Not only that, but chocolate is a natural aphrodisiac.
Mushrooms. Mushrooms are an extremely underrated vegetable or more accurately put, fungus. Did you know that mushrooms are the only known natural source of vitamin D aside from the sun? If you leave your mushrooms in a sunny windowsill for a little while before you eat them they can suck up enough vitamin D to meet the daily-recommended intake. Mushrooms can be a great food to eat during those cold, cloudy winter months. They are also quite valuable for things such as boosting your immune system, increasing antioxidant intake and B vitamins.
Iceberg Lettuce. Many people (myself included until about 20 minutes ago) think that this lettuce has absolutely no nutritional value. Where do we get these ideas? This lettuce is loaded with vitamins A and K, and is also a high source of water for those who tend to dehydrate easily. Next time your whipping up a salad you may want to reconsider this crisp refreshing veggie. Try mixing it in with your romaine or mixed green salad, it provides a nice crunch and a little variety.
Potatoes. Last but certainly not least. Just like the bad rap that iceberg lettuce has gotten for apparently having little to no nutritional value, I, as well as many others, believed this to be true about potatoes. But this could not be further from the truth! Potatoes are actually extremely good for you. They are loaded with fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese and much more. They are also a great source of starch which is very important to your diet. Remember though, eating organic potatoes is very important as they are loaded with pesticides and are quite often GMO. Consider leaving the skins on when cooking and preparing potatoes for extra nutritional value.
There you go! Hopefully you learned something new today! Please consider using these foods in their natural organic form. It is very important to lower the number of pesticides that we are consuming on a regular basis. Your body will thank you for it.