5 Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think

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Dark chocolate is healthier than you thinkWhen you’re told you need to improve your diet, you doubtlessly picture many bland, tasteless meals; it may come as a surprise that you don’t have to give up many of your favorite foods.

In fact, many of them have health benefits. While eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and limiting the amount of meat you consume is recommended, that doesn’t mean you have to give up the food you love.

1. Chocolate: Yes, you read that right. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate has many health benefits including reducing blood clots and preventing heart attacks. The flavonoids found in chocolate improve the flow of blood, preventing heart attack, stroke and other heart conditions.

2. Salmon: Meat eaters looking to improve their diet don’t have to give up on their favorite foods. Salmon is a healthy alternative to red meat. Eating salmon a couple times a week cuts your risk of a heart attack by up to 27% and your chances of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 17%. It is also an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.

3. Coffee: If you’re thinking of cutting coffee out completely, think again! It has been found that drinking one to two cups of coffee a day can protect against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver cancer.  It is also high in antioxidants. But don’t consume more than a couple cups of coffee a day and keep milk, cream, and sugar to a minimum.

4. Vegetable Oil: Using vegetable oil when cooking has a number of benefits such as being easier to digest and helping to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” while boosting high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good cholesterol.” It should be noted that this does not include hydrogenated oils such as margarine and shortening.

5. Cranberries: Drinking cranberries when suffering from a bladder infection has long been recommended but adding cranberries to your diet has other benefits such as being an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants.

But just because these foods are considered healthy, don’t think this is an excuse to go and pig out on them. Consuming chocolate and coffee in moderation is recommended. With chocolate, 80% to 90% cocoa is the healthiest type you can eat. When it comes to vegetable oil, it is recommended that you don’t exceed more than four tablespoons a day.

Drinking tea, especially black, green, white, and oolong, also has health benefits as well as providing an alternative to coffee.  The biggest benefit of drinking tea is that there is evidence that it reduces the risk of heart disease. In order to derive the most health benefits from your tea, let it steep. This produces phytochemicals which have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and serve as an anti-inflammatory.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Five Foods That Could Save Your Life – Including Chocolate & Coffee,” Huffington Post web site, August 9, 2013; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/09/five-foods-that-helps-cancer-heart-disease-alzheimers_n_3726579.html#discussed
Russell, E., “The Health Benefits of Salmon,” Reader’s Digest web site; http://www.readersdigest.ca/food/healthy-food/health-benefits-salmon
Olson, S., “Heart Healthy Benefits of Vegetable Oil Confirmed: Researchers Suggest Up to Four Tablespoons a Day,” Medical Daily web site, June 11, 2013; http://www.medicaldaily.com/heart-healthy-benefits-vegetable-oil-confirmed-researchers-suggest-four-tablespoons-day-246683
“The Health Benefits of Cranberries,” Canadian Living web site; http://www.canadianliving.com/health/prevention/the_health_benefits_of_cranberries.php
Zelman, K., “5 Surprisingly Healthy Foods,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/5-surprisingly-healthy-foods