Eating healthy can be a challenge, especially when people feel they need to deny themselves their favorite foods. The good news is that dozens of foods with previously questionable nutrition or even those outright called junk foods may be better for people than originally thought when enjoyed in moderation.
What Makes a Food Healthy?
The best foods to eat are always those that come straight from the garden, tree, or sea because they contain no artificial ingredients. However, such a diet is not always practical in a modern, busy society. Here are some things people can look for when reaching for canned, packaged, or frozen foods:
- High in fiber
- No added sugar or only a trace amount
- Low in salt and saturated fat
- No trans fats added
Keep in mind a food does not need to have each of these qualities to be part of a healthy diet.
This delicious small fruit packs a powerful nutritional punch with high levels of fiber, folate, antioxidants, and vitamin K. Avocadoes offer both physical and mental health benefits, including mood stabilization and support for bones, eyes, heart, and regular digestion. The tiny fruit also contains natural plant sterol that can help to improve cholesterol levels.
Eating too much chocolate of any variety is a quick way to get a stomachache or worse. However, dark chocolate in moderate amounts offers powerful antioxidants that can decrease blood pressure, improve mood, and improve heart function.
Dark chocolate offers the most health benefits when it contains 70 to 85 percent cocoa. However, always check the calories before consuming it with confidence.
Eating about a teaspoon of peanut butter a few times a week can help people maintain normal blood sugar ranges and a healthy weight. Protein and magnesium are the ingredients in peanut butter responsible for these benefits.
Air-popped popcorn without added butter or salt offers 3.5 grams of fiber per cup. People who want the benefit of fiber without having to eat popcorn plain should consider a few sprays of butter flavoring and a sodium substitute to avoid the complications that can come from eating too much of these toppings in their natural form.
Wine gets a bad rap because it is alcohol, and alcohol can make people engage in reckless behavior when consumed in small amounts. When limited to one or two glasses per day, the antioxidants in red wine can help to guard against heart disease.
Moderate consumption of red wine can even lead to a longer lifespan compared to people who drink no alcohol at all.
People often think of caviar as something only the rich eat and only on special occasions. The reality is that caviar is becoming more popular and less expensive all the time. The tiny fish eggs provide a natural source of omega-3s, which are critical for brain and heart health.
Caviar also contains selenium, a necessary antioxidant that teams up with vitamin E to prevent cells in the human body from sustaining free radical damage.
Each of these items can be helpful as an occasional snack for people who are trying to lose weight while eating real food. Experts agree that learning to manage a diet consisting of everyday foods is a critical component of long-term weight loss.