Pork chops, beef tenderloin, chocolate — some of these foods have a bad rep. But they are actually good for you. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll be happy to learn about these ten surprisingly diet-friendly foods.
If you think mushrooms don’t have any real nutritional value, here’s some news: They are the only vegetable source of vitamin D, a nutrient many people don’t get enough of. Though mushrooms contain only a small amount of vitamin D, research suggests that sunlight may give it a boost. One study found that exposure to five minutes of ultraviolet light may boost vitamin D levels in a serving from 4% of the daily value to as much as 100%. Also, many popular mushroom varieties like white, portabello, and crimini are good sources of the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin.
“The reality is, certain cuts of pork are some of the leanest cuts of high quality protein you can buy,” Self reports. In fact, it rivals lean poultry in this area. Pork tenderloin is as lean as a skinless chicken breast, and any cuts from the loin are leaner than a skinless chicken thigh. Pork steaks or roasts from the leg are also excellent choices. Plus, pork is a great source of the B vitamins niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and B6.
3. Dark Chocolate
Small portions of dark chocolate may help to reduce high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and the risk of diabetes by boosting insulin sensitivity. Seventy-percent dark chocolate is best, and you should eat no more than 1.5 ounces in a sitting. That way, the health benefits come without added pounds.
Ounce for ounce, beef tenderloin has about the same caloric and fat content as skinless chicken thighs. Rich in protein and vitamin B12, beef is also a good source of selenium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. Dressed with any one of a variety of sauces and accompanied by sides, beef tenderloin is a sensible entree for a healthy dinner.
At just 75 calories, an egg is packed with nutrients. One egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals. It also contains protein and healthy unsaturated fats. Egg yolks do have a lot of cholesterol in them — just over 200 milligrams. But an egg a few times a week will keep you heart-healthy, especially if you eat less meat, poultry, and dairy. If the cholesterol has you worried, there are always egg whites. They are a rich source of protein.
You can receive significant perks from coffee, whether caffeinated and decaf. “Studies have shown that coffee may have health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer,” the Mayo Clinic’s blog reports. “Coffee also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression.” Though research continues, the health benefits of drinking coffee now appear to the outnumber the downsides.
Spices boost the flavor of dishes. Now research shows that it may boost your health, too. Turmeric and cinnamon are suspected to contain disease-fighting compounds. And they may contain a range of anti-inflammatory and possibly anticancer properties.
Packed with some 30 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, pistachios are also the nut with the lowest amount of calories and fat. “The health benefits of pistachios include a healthy heart, weight management, protection against diabetes and hypertension, and improved digestion,” the blog Organic Facts reports. As a snack or in salads, pistachios are a tasty and healthy indulgence.
The fat in avocados is high, but it’s healthy. A fifth of a medium-sized avocado has about 50 calories.”Avocados offer nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium (which helps control blood pressure), lutein (which is good for your eyes), and folate (which is crucial for cell repair and during pregnancy),” WebMD reports. They add zest to sandwiches, salads, and dips.
If you prepare potatoes yourself, they are a nutritious, versatile, and inexpensive food that should have a place in a healthy diet. One medium-sized potato with skin has just 160 calories. And it’s loaded with potassium and fiber. Baked, mashed, or roasted, potatoes make a wonderful addition to any healthy meal.
Healthy eating shouldn’t have to bite
OK. So the rap is that when you eliminate fat, sugars, and carbs, you’ve eliminated flavor as well.
But the truth is that you can eat well — even sumptuously — as long as you exercise moderation. And many foods you may have considered forbidden now beckon, because their many vitamins and nutrients recommend them to every diet-conscious lifestyle.