7 foods with surprising health benefits

healthy food arranged in a heart shape
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You’re probably already aware that blueberries and pomegranates contain a ton of beneficial health-boosting antioxidants. But, what about the foods (including some guilty pleasures) that you had no idea might be having a net-positive impact on your health? We’ve found seven unexpected foods that you might be surprised to learn are making you healthier (in moderation, of course).

1. Beer

beer on the table

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An Italian study found that people who drank a pint of beer a day reduced their risk of heart disease by 31%. It has also been proven that beer can prevent against Alzheimer’s disease, kidney stones, and lower their risk of diabetes. Bottoms up!

2. Dark chocolate

dark chocolate

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Chocolate is often maligned for being a sugary sweet, but it turns out dark chocolate can actually improve your health in small quantities. Researchers in Finland found that dark chocolate consumption lowers the risk of suffering a stroke, plus it’s packed with beneficial minerals like potassium, zinc, and selenium. It can even protect your skin against sun damage, not to mention it is extremely delicious.

3. Salsa

salsa on the table with chips

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Believe it or not, a half-cup of salsa equals one serving of vegetables, so you don’t have to feel too bad about ordering nachos. Tomatoes, the main ingredient in salsa, are rich in vitamin C and lycopene, an unexpected source of antioxidants.

4. Coffee

Two people drinking coffee

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As it turns out, coffee is good for much more than a jolt of energy in the morning. The numerous health benefits associated with the murky beverage include protecting against diabetes, reducing the risk of liver cancer, and combating Parkinson’s disease.

5. Mushrooms

mushrooms in a basket

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You may have thought that they’re more about flavour than nutritional value, but mushrooms are the only vegetable (well, fungi, technically) source of vitamin D. Portobello and cremini mushrooms are also good sources of riboflavin and niacin.

6. Pork

grilled pork

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Depending on the cut, pork can rival skinless chicken breast as a source of lean protein. Anything cut from the loin, like pork chops or pork roast, skews towards the leaner end of the spectrum. Pork is also high in B vitamins such a niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.

7. Black tea

black tea on table with wooden spoon

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We all know that green tea is high in antioxidants, but so is your classic cup of Red Rose. Black tea contains catechins, a natural type of antioxidant that comes from tannins, and has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, a researcher at Tufts University, further studies have shown that tea may also prevent cancer and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

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