7 Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy

by Carina Wolff

When it comes to nutrition, it can get confusing figuring out what foods are healthy and which are bad for you, since new studies pop up all the time with new discoveries about food's impact. With all this new information, you may realize that there are some foods that are surprisingly healthy for you, and you can feel free to incorporate these into your diet without worry. Sometimes it's easy to tell what will benefit you, while other times it's hard to know whether something is nutritious or detrimental to your health.

"Fat is a good example as to why foods get a bad rap," says Steven Masley, MD over email. "For years recommendations, were to eat less fat, and despite that there was never any great science to support this low-fat idea, the theory that eating fat makes you fat became widely accepted. But, cutting out smart fats turned out to be really dumb and harmful."

Sometimes, healthy foods are also paired with other unhealthy ingredients, and their reputation is damaged forever. Eating these foods alone can actually provide you with a lot of health benefits, but based on popular myths, you would never even know. Next time you're deciding what to eat for your next meal, consider these seven foods that are surprisingly healthy for you.

1. Eggs

"For years we have said to avoid eggs as they are high in cholesterol," says Masley. "But the fact is that eating eggs does not worsen people’s cholesterol levels, and although commercially produced eggs may contain hormones and pesticides, the good news is that cage-free, organically fed eggs are an inexpensive source of protein. Even egg yolks are a good source of important nutrients, such as choline, lutein, and healthy omega-3 fats."

2. Soy

"Soy products have lately gotten a bad rap, yet soy foods have substantial health benefits," says Masley. "Of course, we are only talking about organic, non-GMO soy, but one to two servings per day of edamame or soy milk will improve cholesterol profiles, improve blood sugar control, provide a great source of dietary fiber, and improve menopause symptoms."

3. Potatoes

"Potatoes are associated with comfort foods like French fries and mashed potatoes, which are loaded with fat," says Jennifer Glockner, RDN over email. "In addition, they are thought of as a white starchy vegetable without health benefits. However, just a plain baked or roasted potato actually does have health benefits for your heart and brain. Potato is rich in potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber."

4. Popcorn

"Popcorn has a reputation for being an empty snack full of butter and salt," says Glockner. "However, popcorn is a whole grain that can be prepared as a healthy snack. Air-popped plain popcorn is low in calories and high in fiber. Instead of salt and butter, add a little olive oil and spices such as cinnamon, garlic, cayenne, paprika, rosemary, dill, etc. to add some exotic flavor of your choice."

5. Chocolate

As long as its the dark stuff containing over 70 percent cocoa, you can consider chocolate a health food. Chocolate is high in antioxidants, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals, and it can even help lower your cholesterol, according to a study in the Journal Of Nutrition.

6. Frozen Vegetables

You may think that frozen vegetables would be depleted of nutrients because of how they're stored, but frozen vegetables can actually end up being more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. Frozen vegetables are picked at peak ripeness, meaning their nutritional value is the highest, and freezing them preserves their nutrients later on.

7. Coffee

As long as you aren't drowning your morning up in cream and sugar, there's no reason why you can't enjoy a cup of coffee. Like chocolate, coffee is high in antioxidants that can help protect against a variety of diseases. Daily coffee consumption has been linked to a longer lifespan, according to a study in the journal Circulation, and it can help prevent diabetes and stroke.

When in doubt, whole, plant-based foods are usually nutritious, and the less ingredients in a food, the better.

Images: Pixabay (8)