At a young age, we learn that to grow up big and strong you have to eat your greens. Turns out pop-eye was right all along!
Unfortunately, for many people there is no pleasure in doing this whatsoever, which means it doesn’t happen, even if you have to bribe your own children with gifts it can still be tough!
However what if we told you that there is food out there which you might typically categorize as junk food, but is in fact healthy! And hopefully the kids won’t smash the designer tableware in disappointment.
In all seriousness, the following foods are not bad for you!
This humble cinema snack could prevent cancer and help dieters.
A study presented last August to the American Chemical Society suggests the real health benefits could lie more in its ‘surprisingly large’ polyphenol content, antioxidants thought to mop up free radicals, the potentially damaging chemicals that cause diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Next time you are sat at home watching a DVD with your big bowl of homemade popcorn, enjoy it. After all it’s healthy!
WARNING: You will immediately negate any health benefit of popcorn by overloading with salt or sugar!
2) Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of the richest sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It’s also low in saturated fat and an excellent source of protein to keep you feeling full for longer, fibre for bowel health and foliate which can protect against colon cancer and heart disease.
The nuts are thought to help reduce inflammation in the body and boost the health of blood vessels around the heart. In fact, Harvard Medical School researchers recently reported that snacking on peanut butter five days a week can nearly halve the risk of a heart attack.
3) Baked Beans
For many British people Heinz Baked Bean is a national institution. They were first launched in 1886 and have been with us ever since. They are a key element of a traditional English fry up and other dishes such as baked potato and beans.
The humble baked bean is a nutritional powerhouse of protein, fibre, iron and calcium. Its combination of high protein, which also keeps your muscles and bones healthy, and low-GI carbohydrates, which release their energy slowly, keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Tinned baked beans can be quite high in sugar and fat so we recommend that you choose the low sugar, low salt varieties.
4) Russet Potatoes
A Russet potato contains more potassium than a banana, which helps prevent high blood pressure, is a great source of soluble fibre which helps maintain bowel and heart health, and has no fat or cholesterol. In fact, one baked, medium Russet has only 135 calories and around a fifth of your recommended daily intake of protein and fibre.
A U.S. study which compared the antioxidant content of fruits and vegetables found that the Russet potato had a total antioxidant capacity of 13.2, ranking higher than carrot, kiwi, watermelon, cantaloupe, radish and even tomato.
Frying the potatoes or drowning them in butter or cream will not do you any favours. Boiled, mashed, or roasted is your best bet.
5) Pork Scratching
The bar snack we all want to have but are too embarrassed to ask for is actually packed with goodness.
Two-thirds of all its fat is actually mono and polyunsaturated fats, beneficial for heart health, with 13 per cent of its fat coming from stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that doesn’t raise cholesterol levels.
One 20g bag contains 2g more protein than an egg, or about a fifth of your recommended daily allowance. They also have very little sugar and just 0.3g carbohydrates in a packet.
The main health concern is its salt content, so moderate your consumption.
Mum and Dad, you can now feed your child Nutella with a clear conscious because it contains lecithin, a soy extract that is high in protein, calcium and iron, protecting your bones, boosting energy and helping you feel full for longer, says dietician Dr Sonia Kakar.
‘It’s also lower in calories than many jams, is lower-Gi for slower-release energy and contains calcium from skimmed milk for healthy bones.’
‘Nutella is high in sugar and fat, so intake should be moderated,’ Dr Kakar says
7) Cheddar Cheese
Cheese provides 25 per cent of the calcium in the British diet, according to the British nutrition Foundation.
Cheddar also contains a large amount of other essential nutrients such as phosphorous for strong teeth and bones, zinc for healthy skin, a strong immune system and fertility, riboflavin and vitamin B12 for energy and vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes.
A cube of cheddar after a meal will neutralise the acids in your mouth and increase saliva production to aid food clearance, both of which help prevent tooth decay.
But its high fat content means eat in moderation.
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