Ever since the beginning of time, responsible adults have been urging us to eat our fruits and veggies in order to grow strong and healthy. Leafy greens and zesty fruits, such as broccoli, kale, spinach, mushrooms, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, and mangoes are edible rainbows that are known to do wonders for your health.
But this time, let’s shake things up by adding these unexpectedly healthy food items into our diets! Many of these foods will seriously shock you when you discover that they are actually healthy for you. Read on for 30 foods that are surprisingly good for you
#1 Gummy Worms
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Rejoice, fellow sweet tooth humans! Gummy worms are actually good for your health!
Now, before you burst through the door and start panic buying all the gummy worms at the nearest supermarket, there is a fine print to this sweet revelation: those aren’t the ones we’re talking about. The healthy gummy worms we’re referring to aren’t the ones that have been engineered out of corn syrup, sucrose, and artificial food coloring. Luckily, their healthy counterparts are easy to make by yourself! All you need is organic gelatin and powdered vitamin C. Pour it into a worm-shaped silicone mold, and you’ll soon have yourself some guilt-free candy that will prevent the formation of wrinkles, mend hormonal imbalances, soothe belly aches, and battle acne.
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Movie night just received a power boost of health points thanks to this pop of a discovery! It turns out that popcorn isn’t all that bad. In fact, this cholesterol-free snack is packed with fiber and is low in fat and sugar.
The detrimental stigma surrounding the health properties of popcorn actually stems from the addition of butter, salt, sugar, cheese, barbecue powder, and other flavor-enchancing condiments. So go for plain popcorn, and see the difference!
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We know what you are thinking: why is ramen on this list? Isn’t it just a big paper bowl of MSG?
Well, yes and no. As the wise men say: too much of anything is bad for you. The same applies to an oh-so-comforting bowl of ramen. It’s okay to have it once in a while, because giving to your cravings on your cheat days is mandatory.
In case you really can’t turn away from your ramen cravings, there is a healthier alternative. You can either learn to make your own noodles (which is really the best way to go) or ditch the seasoning packet and sprinkle in your own fresh ingredients, like low sodium doy sauce, black pepper, salt, eggs, meat, and veggies. #WeLoveRamen
#4 Cold Soup
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When you’re on the go, it’s important to stay hydrated, but sometimes water just isn’t enough to both quench your thirst and please your palate at the same time. But then again, sugary juices and soda aren’t exactly health and waistline-friendly.
As an alternative, some people resort to drinking ready-made vegetable soups that have been chilled to perfection. These bottles of chilled soups contain 90% less sugar than a typical green juice and approximately 80% unless sodium than a can of soup.
#5 Tart Cherry Juice
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Tart Cherry Juice is a fruity beverage rich in antioxidant properties. This healthy summer cooler is also perfect for improving cognitive abilities, memory, and blood flow to the brain. But the benefits of tart cherry juice don’t end here; if you want to rehydrate while reducing inflammation and fighting stress, you better whip out your largest pitcher and some ice cubes to make a refreshing batch of tart cherry juice!
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Invented in China circa 2300 B.C., licorice was originally used as a magical rejuvenation solution for aging men. Now, it’s known as a candy jar staple (personally, we like red licorice. How about you guys?)
When eaten in moderation, licorice has been said to fight off colds, soothe a sore throat, ease sinus congestion, and provide antiviral and antibacterial benefits. However, don’t rely on the classic licorice at your local candy store, because you can only get these health benefits from licorice tea, liquid herbs, or sugar-free licorice hard candy.
#7 Beet Juice
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Juice has a rep for being sweet and zesty, but beet juice doesn’t usually sit at a lunch table. In fact, it probably doesn’t even sit in the same cafeteria.
But we digress, beet juice may not be saccharine sweet, but it does come with a treasure trove of health benefits, such as fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that improve the flow of oxygen to your muscles.
We know, we know… beets are way too earthy with some striking underscores of bitterness, so how could you possibly swallow it with a smile on your face? Simple, just add a splash of orange or strawberry juice to balance out the flavor.
#8 Peanut Butter
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Are you on #TeamPeanutButter just like we are? Great! Because this lunch staple is a powerhouse for contributing to weight loss, bodybuilding, blood sugar levels, and heart health. Also, pile on that peanut butter on your whole wheat bread if you want to promote good blood pressure, good cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of breast diseases.
Try to restrain yourself from adding some jam into the mix though, because that’s the real deal-breaker right there when it comes to healthy options. If you must have that iconic PB&J for lunch, try substituting your trusty jam or jelly with a dab of honey. It’s just as sweet but minus the guilt!
#9 Oregano Oil
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After reading this, you’ll want to have this wonderful condiment in your kitchen, because it acts as a potent antifungal and antibacterial solution and is high in antioxidants.
If you want to reap the benefits of oregano, you can add a few drops to your cup of tea. It works like magic, especially if you want to ward off the flu or a cold. Take note that you can only do this for ten days at a time.
#10 Pearl Powder
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You gotta hand it to Ken Jeong when he once said, “Asian don’t raisin.”, because he’s right; Asians have a talent for unparalleled skincare. Asian skincare products now even stem from the depths of the sea in the form of pearls!
Pearls are usually worn as jewelry, but thanks to ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic remedy, pearls are now the hottest new beauty secret. These gems of the sea are rich in amino acids, magnesium, calcium, and trace minerals; making them a holistic ingredient in your skincare routine. To top it all off, pearls aid in reducing hyperpigmentation, which means you’ll be able to bask in the glory of clear and even-toned skin.
How can you integrate pearl powder into your diet, you ask? Well, most people just add this flavorless capsule to a smoothie for fun. (Important note: Always consult a specialist before adding supplements to your diet.)
Now, we can all shine like opalescent pearls!
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Okay, so bees have been hiding a big secret from us, because they don’t just produce honey in those insanely meticulous hives of theirs. No. They also produce a compound called propolis, which is a fundamental element in building a beehive.
Once upon a time, propolis was utilized to heal wounds and fight infections. Fast forward to the present, and this ingredient is used as a delicious means to battle colds. Could we bee any more thankful?
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South Korea isn’t just making global headlines for its pop culture, technology, and impressive GDP; it’s also famous for a vast array of culinary masterpieces.
Take kimchi, for instance. This traditional table staple is made of assorted fermented and seasoned veggies, such as napa cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, ginger, and garlic. For those who can handle the heat of this spicy Asian side dish, you’ll be glad to know that regular kimchi consumption has been proven to increase immune dell development and lower cholesterol levels. Kimchi is even famous for its age-defying and antibacterial properties in combination with vitamin A, C, amino acids, flavonoids, and phytochemicals.
Eating spicy food has never been this satisfying and healthy at the same time! Saranghaeyo, kimchi!
#13 Ice Cream
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Sweet-toothed people, unite! You no longer have to save ice cream strictly for your cheat days, because this ice-cold dessert is a tremendous source of vitamin B, calcium, and probiotics.
You can now beat the heat and give in to your confectionary cravings while getting a boost of energy and stimulating the brain… just don’t get a brain freeze!
#14 Sweet Potato Fries
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Finally, a way to indulge in chips sans the guilt: SWEET POTATO FRIES!
These potato chip alternatives are highly nutritious thanks to their immune system-promoting factors, sweet potato chips are the ultimate snack and health-boosting food hybrid.
Sweet potato chips are ideal for supporting healthy vision, enhancing brain function, promoting gut health, and preventing cancer. A round of sweet potato fries for everyone!
#15 Black Rice
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Back in the day, black rice was specifically reserved for ancient Asian royals. Nowadays, black rice is for everyone, and that’s a relief, because this grain is a nutritional powerhouse.
Brimming with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and potent antioxidants, black rice will add a dash of zen to your diet. Chopsticks at the ready!
#16 Canned Pumpkin
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Cooking vegetables usually concentrates their nutrients, which is a sure-fire method to get your body to absorb them faster and easier.
This is exactly why canned pumpkin is just as nutritious as its fresh counterpart. Canned pumpkin is essentially a pureed version of this carotenoid-rich veggie and is perfect for boosting your immune system, promoting heart health, and maintaining your skin’s youthful radiance.
In case you aren’t so keen on canned goods, you can always DIY boil and puree the pumpkin at home. There’s really no need to wait for Halloween as an excuse to go all out on pumpkin dishes!
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The cherimoya or custard apple may look like a solid coconut on the outside, but on the inside, this native South American fruit is soft and creamy. Packed with around 60% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake, cherimoyas are a delicious and empowering way to recharge your health.
Cherimoya lovers say that this superfood tastes like a cross between a pineapple and a banana, so if you like either of the two, you’ll love this one! If you like both pineapples and bananas, then you’ll love cherimoyas double!
#18 Artichoke Hearts
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Edibles with the word “heart” in them are bound to be good for you (just don’t mind the “choke” hidden in the name of this veggie). Artichoke hearts are loaded with nutrients that help lower bad cholesterol, aid in regulating blood pressure, ease symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome, help lower blood sugar, ward off cancer, and improve both digestive and liver health. We knew we could count on hearts!
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Good news, mermaids! A large volume of oysters may be detrimental to your cholesterol levels, but these seafood delicacies are also an excellent source of zinc, selenium, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B12, which are foundational to the immune system, bone health, and cellular growth.
We’ll take 8 orders of extra lemon wedges, please!
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Say “cheese” because this cousin of milk is a nutritious addition to your diet. Don’t feel guilty when you grate your favorite Parmesan cheese onto your fettuccine or let it melt over your homemade pizza, because cheese is loaded with calcium and protein.
Just don’t go overboard, otherwise, you’ll turn into Remy from Ratatouille, but then again, he has mad culinary skills… so would that be so bad?
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Pizza owes its bad rep to the fat and cholesterol-laden toppings that most people choose to decorate it with. If you’re guilty of habitually ordering three-cheese pizzas overloaded with assorted cured meats, then you’re putting your colon health at risk. don’t get us wrong, we all love a salami and pepperoni laden pizza every now and then, but your body will thank you deeply if you can transition into eating healthier toppings.
Don’t worry, nutritious pizza toppings taste great too! You can never go wrong with tomatoes, diced chicken, mushrooms (nom nom), spinach, spinach, garlic, and red peppers. Oh, and of course, the most unpopular yet popular topping: pineapple!
Let’s settle this debate once and for all; ya’ll are just condemning pineapple as a pizza topping because the internet tells you to. Excuse us while we indulge in a family-sized Hawaiian pizza… #MicDrop
#22 Canned Sardines
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Before you start questioning this… yes, canned goods contain processed food, but according to the Food and Drug Administration, canned sardines are a healthy alternative to their fresh counterparts.
Also, sardines generally contain a lot less mercury than most other types of fish, and they provide just as many omega-3 fatty acids as pink salmon. And health buffs already know that omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure, slow the development of plaque in the arteries, reduce the risk of heart ailments, help maintain normal heart rhythm, minimize triglycerides, and prevent strokes. Flex your canned sardines, people!
#23 Dragon Fruit
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The dragon fruit looks as dreamy and fierce as it sounds. With a scaly fuschia and green exterior that kind of resembles a mystical dragon egg, you’ll be surprised to find that the inside of this attractive fruit looks like cookies and cream.
Exotic on the outside, dragon fruit is pleasantly mild and sweet on the inside. Some even describe it as a combo of a kiwi, a pear, a strawberry, and a rose petal (what do rose petals even taste like?).
Moreover, its extravagant aesthetic, dragon fruit is rich in fiber, probiotics, and antioxidants. Let’s get that clear skin and svelte physique, people!
#24 Buddha’s Hand
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Don’t worry, that’s not an actual Buddha hand. It’s just a zesty citron that resembles a hand (with a lot of fingers) for some reason. Just like a lemon, you can use the rind for testing. This entire fruit is bursting with flavor and vitamin C; even more than your traditional lemon or lime!
High five, Buddha hand!
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If our telepathy is working correctly right now, you are thinking what we’re thinking: this looks like a spiky lemon.
Also commonly referred to as a horned melon, an African horned cucumber, or a blowfish fruit (LOL), this juicy treat tastes like a cross between a zucchini, kiwi, banana, and a cucumber. Since it’s predominantly composed of water and potassium, the kiwano is the perfect rehydration buddy on a hot summer day!
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Jackfruits are the largest fruit to grow on trees. Plus, they’re also the heaviest, as they can reach up to 80 pounds in weight! Ooh, you don’t want to be lounging under that tree for your afternoon picnic. that’s for sure…
Anyway, jackfruits are as nutritious as they are heavy. With their pungent yet sweet flavor, these Native Malaysian and Indian showstoppers will energize you with a dose of vitamin C and manganese, a vital mineral found in the kidneys, liver, bones, and pancreas. Manganese is also essential for brain and nerve function.
Turn them into chips, curry, or eat them raw; with jackfruit, the sky’s the limit!
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Shoutout to rambutan, the cousin of the lychee that we should all know about. The only difference between the two is that rambutan kind of looks like a smaller version of dragon fruit or something that leaves in the depths of the ocean.
When you crack open its shell, you’ll find that this delectable fruit is sweet and addictive… in a good way. Loaded with iron, manganese, and vitamin C, rambutan is the full package: attractive, tasty, and nutritious!
P.S. Don’t get click-baited by canned versions that are usually doused in sugary syrups that defeat their purpose. Yes to fresh!
#28 Dark Chocolate
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Thank goodness that healthy eating doesn’t require us to turn our backs on chocolate. Gosh, imagine life without chocolate…
It isn’t actually the chocolate that’s harmful to your health and the weighing scale. Nope, you can blame that on all the sugar that goes into it in order to make milk chocolate and white chocolate. This is exactly why dark chocolate is the healthier choice. The darker the chocolate bar, the better; because that means it contains about 70% of cocoa powder, a component rich in theobromine, which aids in reducing inflammation, prevents diabetes, and wards off heart disease and cancer.
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Fun fact: tomato ketchup was originally formulated as a medicine in the 1800s. Rumor has it that it could cure afflictions, such as indigestion, diarrhea, and jaundice. A few years later, people discovered that ketchup is much better as a condiment for French fries and burgers.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that ketchup no longer has medicinal properties. In fact, lycopene-rich ketchup can help cut bad cholesterol levels, improve eyesight, boost male fertility, and prevent prostate cancer. So pour on that ketchup the next time you order fries!
#30 Graham Crackers
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As opposed to most other yummy cookies and biscuits, Graham crackers are not out to make you fat. Instead, they are rich in dietary fiber, loaded with B vitamins, and make the perfect foundations for your pies, smores, and cheesecakes. And we all need now is a good excuse to munch on cheesecake.