25 Foods With Surprising Health Benefits

  • Eggs

    Eggs may have a reputation for being high in fat and cholesterol, but they’re actually a great addition to your diet. Though a medium-sized egg contains 62 percent of your daily cholesterol, an omelet made with only one yolk (and as many whites as you want) provides you with a healthy dose of protein and vitamins with a nearly undetectable carb count. Better yet, research published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care suggests that eating a moderate amount of eggs doesn't actually make a noticeable difference when it comes to your cholesterol. So load your omelets up with veggies for a power-packed breakfast, and check out Eggs: The Key To Better Health!

  • Potatoes

    People often nix potatoes from the menu while trying to lose weight, and admittedly, there are good reasons to limit your potato portions. But potatoes aren’t inherently bad for you! In fact, they can help indigestion, reduce cholesterol, and enhance heart health because of their high fiber content. Nutritionally, they’re also a good source of complex carbohydrates, with lots of vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium. And when you want to make a healthier side dish, sink your teeth into these Five Best Fries For A Flat Belly!

  • Frozen Veggies

    When people think of healthy vegetables, they typically picture them coming from a grocer or farm stand, rather than a bag in a freezer. But research shows that frozen veggies retain all of their original nutritional integrity, and sometimes improve upon it because of minor compositional changes during the freezing process. They also are less likely to lose their nutritional potency over time, as fresh veggies can while sitting in the fridge waiting to be cooked. So, even if you can't make it to the farmers' market, go ahead and stock up your freezer!

  • Chocolate

    If you’re wary of chocolate being considered “healthy”, that’s a fair instinct: most milk chocolates are loaded with added sugar, preservatives, saturated fat, and artificial dyes, making them diet saboteurs that take aim at your scale. But dark chocolates‒especially all-natural, low-sugar varieties‒not only contain health-boosting antioxidants, but also help you curb cravings and cinch your waistline. In fact, research from Loma Linda University suggests that dark chocolate consumption can reduce stress and belly-fat-promoting cortisol production. Need more incentive to indulge? Check out these 42 Delicious Reasons to Enjoy Dark Chocolate!

  • Red Wine

    By now you’ve already heard about resveratrol, the phenol in red wine that preserves brain function, can help you lose weight, fights aging and decreases your risk of cancer. But what really makes red wine’s health benefits most shocking is when you compare it with recent discoveries about white wine: namely that drinking a glass of white wine per day has been linked to a 13 percent increase in melanoma risk. The next time someone asks you “red or white?," the answer is clear.

  • Honey

    If you think of honey as a diet no-no because of its sugar content, think again. Not only does honey help satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s also considered a superfood for its medicinal benefits. Raw dark honey (as opposed to processed, pasteurized honey) has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka honey‒a variety from New Zealand‒is further a set apart by research that shows it can help fight pathogens like E. coli, and salmonella.

  • Steak

    For years we’ve been told to cut out red meat and eat poultry and fish instead, citing the high saturated fat content as culpable for a range of heart and health issues. But recent studies suggest that lean cuts of grass-fed beef with no visible fat could be roughly as healthy for you as white meat. Both options can lower your LDL, or “bad," cholesterol and help you lose weight as part of a high-protein, low-carb diet.  So, go ahead and enjoy this Recipe: Zero Belly Steak Frites!

  • Whole Grain Pasta

    Pasta is typically at the top of the list of simple carbs to avoid while trying to lose weight. But whole grain or whole wheat pasta can be rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals that set it apart from its white, refined counterparts. By additionally avoiding store-bought tomato sauces, which contain troves of added sugar and sodium, and replacing them with fresh, homemade tomato and vegetable sauce, whole grain pasta can become a powerhouse meal.

  • Coffee

    Typically considered a vice that we should nip in the bud, drinking coffee has gotten a bad rap over the years. But recent research indicates that coffee can contribute to weight loss, improve digestion, and reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. So, sit down with a hot mug and learn more about why you shouldn't nix this daily ritual by discovering these 42 Reasons Coffee May Be Your Healthiest Habit Yet!

  • Avocados

    Topping your meal with avocado may seem like an added calorie and fat blast that’s better left avoided. But there’s great news for avocado junkies: they’re full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can actually help you attack your waistline and curb your appetite. Research also suggests that they can stave off osteoarthritis and cancer, as well as improving eye and skin health. Get creative with your recipes using these 40 Delicious Ways to Eat More Avocado!

  • Dark Meat Poultry

    Given the option, when faced with poultry cuts, people tend to opt for the leaner and more attractive looking white meat. But recent research in the European Journal of Nutrition shows that dark meat actually has some clear benefits, especially for people with high cholesterol. This is owed in large part to its tourine content, which helped study subjects to reduce their cholesterol by 60 percent, lowering their risk of heart disease along the way.

  • Cobb Salad

    Like the burrito bowl, the cobb salad’s health benefits are all in the execution. The good news is that all the right ingredients are right there in the recipe: leafy greens, tomatoes, lean meat, eggs, avocado, and a red wine vinaigrette. Switch the blue cheese out for a lighter option like Pecorino or parmesan, and you’ve got a gut-busting protein bomb filled with vitamins and minerals, as well as monounsaturated fats that actually improve your cardiovascular health.

  • Brown Rice

    Choosing brown rice over white rice may seem like a trendier way to eat the same old carbs, but these choices actually pull their weight when it comes to health benefits. By skipping the milling process that strips rice of its husks, which contain the bran and germ, brown rice retains more of its appetite-reducing dietary fiber, energizing magnesium and vitamin B, and heart-healthy fatty acids. That's just one of the reasons brown rice earned a spot on our list of The Best Grains For Weight Loss!

  • Smoothies

    Sweet, creamy, and satisfying, smoothies feel like a treat and give the illusion of indulgence. But far from being a guilty pleasure, integrating smoothies as a regular part of your diet has the unique ability to rev up your metabolism, shut down cells that produce fat, and help repair your digestive system. In fact, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that viscous smoothies can keep a person full for longer, potentially increasing weight loss along the way. Try some of the 25 Best Ever Weight Loss Smoothies and see what they can do for you!

  • Burgers

    When you commit to losing weight, burgers are probably the first thing on your chopping block. And many burgers—the piles of cheap ingredients on white bread that you find at most diners and fast food spots, for example—have earned their place there. But the problem isn’t all burgers. Made properly with lean meat, abundant veggies, and a whole grain bun, a burger can be a great source of protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. And if you opt for grass-fed beef, you'll be loading your diet with additional heart-health-boosting omega-3s, as well. And when you're ready to indulge that burger craving without the guilt, discover The Best Burgers For Belly Fat Loss!

  • Ice Pops

    If the summer heat makes you long for ice cream—which can pack upwards of 350 calories per serving—consider the ice pop instead. Made at home, you can make pops that skip all the added sugar while featuring healthy and delicious ingredients like fruit, nuts, avocados, and dark chocolate. The health possibilities are endless with this range of ingredients, from anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory berries to fat-blasting nut milks. This gives you all the more reason to invest in a blender for those heavenly smoothies!

  • Peanut Butter

    Most people think of alternative nut butters like almond or cashew butter as vastly healthier alternatives to peanut butter, which has suffered a public image problem in recent years. But, as it turns out, when you directly compare these pricier alternatives to organic, low-sugar peanut butters, the differences are far more subtle, with only minor differences in sugar content, fiber and healthy fats. In fact, research published in the Journal of Nutrition reveals that moderate consumption of peanuts and other tree nuts doesn't actually increase a person's risk of weight gain, so go ahead and enjoy a spoonful of no-sugar-added natural peanut butter from time to time. Welcome peanut butter back into your diet and Lose Your Gut With This Peanut Butter Smoothie!

  • Greek Yogurt

    Greek yogurt has a pretty healthy reputation, but its health benefits are even further reaching when you use it as a way of replacing other unhealthy foods in your diet. Using it to help you avoid foods like sour cream, store-bought frosting, or spinach dip cuts out all of your worst dairy-based indulgences and replaces them with a protein- and fiber-rich superfood. Better yet, research published in the International Journal of Obesity reveals that yogurt consumption is associated with a smaller waistline, as well.

  • Pancakes

    Pancakes can easily go wrong: at their worst, they’re full of refined white flour and contain more carbs and sugar than you can shake a stick at. But by making a simple swap to oat flour, and avoiding the temptation to go wild with syrup, you can enjoy a breakfast that’s rich in protein and fiber, with none of the guilt. In fact, the beta-glucans in the oat flour serve to reduce your risk of heart disease and lower your cholesterol! Try this impossibly tasty recipe for Blueberry Pancakes With Fresh Blueberry Syrup for a surprisingly well-rounded and healthy breakfast!

  • Pecorino Romano Cheese

    Cheese often ends up on the figurative chopping block when it comes time to slim down and get healthy, but that doesn't mean every fromage should be forgotten. Enter Pecorino Romano. With a strong umami flavor, a little bit of Pecorino goes a long way, and studies have linked this particular cheese with lower chances of diabetes, inflammation, and even cancer.

  • Low-Carb Tortillas

    Low-carb tortillas, especially the whole wheat variety, are a 90-calorie source of up to 8 grams of protein and 52 percent of your daily fiber. These are a great way to enjoy some of your favorite meals, including breakfast burritos, wraps, and soft tacos, all while boosting your metabolism and shredding pounds!

  • Burrito Bowls

    A Chipotle burrito bowl can run you close to 1,000 calories, depending on your toppings. That’s because without keeping track, the heaps of cheese, sour cream, guacamole, sauces, and meats can add up quickly. On the other hand, a homemade burrito bowl—one that lets the black beans and veggies dominate—is rich in protein, fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals. This all-star combo has the power to lower your LDL cholesterol and fight heart disease!

  • Scallops

    Scallops are a decadent seafood with a surprising health benefit beyond the lowered risk of cardiovascular disease commonly associated with  fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. New research also suggests that scallops have the ability to slightly lower your risk of colon and breast cancer. Find out how to add more omega-3s to your meal plan with these 8 Surprising Omega-3 Foods!

  • Canola Oil

    Most oils are viewed as no better than a necessary evil, and canola oil is a particularly reviled for its association with deep fried foods. However, its unique ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is linked with the ability to fight cancer, asthma, and arthritis. It is also high in monounsaturated fats, making it more heart-healthy and better for weight loss than many other oils. Check out the 8 Best Fats For Weight Loss for some other oil all-stars.

  • Garlic

    Thank goodness garlic is as incredibly healthy as it is, given that it enhances the flavor of virtually every savory thing it touches. Garlic also has antimicrobial and anti-tumor effects, and is known to reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and cholesterol. In the shorter term it can also help get you on the mend during a bout of the flu or a cold. Forget about the garlic breath—the flavor and the health benefits outweigh any negatives.