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15 Healthy Foods That Taste Way Better Than Junk Food
Many people believe that in order to eat a healthy diet, they must sacrifice really good flavor. However, if you have ever eaten a homegrown peach, tomato, or strawberries, then you already know that this isn’t true.
Most fast foods and junk foods only imitate that flavor of real food. Those artificial flavors are meant to trick you into thinking that what you are eating is natural. Without these added synthetic flavors, junk foods would taste like cardboard.
One of the things that junk food manufacturers do is to find very distinct flavors that are so overwhelming to the brain that it will vividly remember that flavor and ask for more. It’s something like watching a movie on a 60-inch wide screen high definition television. It kind of knocks that little 12-inch television in your bedroom out of the ballpark, doesn’t it?
But bigger isn’t necessarily better, and food makers know this, too. This is why they make complex formulas as well, with flavors and ingredients (such as sugar) that ping those pleasure centers in the brain and have you coming back for more. This is why many people believe that junk foods taste better than natural foods. You might call that a successful scientific experiment.
Well, if you don’t want to be someone’s scientific experiment, then pay attention. Natural foods taste naturally good all by themselves. Mother Nature designed her foods that way for a reason: so we would eat more of them. Although the food industry would like to think that their synthetic foods are better than nature, the truth is, they aren’t.
In fact, there are dozens of natural, whole foods that taste way better than any synthetic, artificially made flavor. We picked out 15 of the best for you to try. We bet you will agree that these delightfully flavorful foods from the earth are far superior to anything that man has created.
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1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are exactly what their name implies, and you can’t help but love them! They are super nutritious, full of cancer-fighting fiber, and loaded with healthy antioxidants that can keep you from chronic disease and premature aging. No matter how you make them, boiled, baked, or fried, you cannot beat sweet potatoes.
Nothing the food industry makes can ever taste as good as an organic strawberry. Strawberries are loaded with potent phytochemicals that provide us with antioxidant protection and stop our DNA from binding with certain types of carcinogens. These delicious little fruits are a great source of carotenes, fiber, vitamin C, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. These sweet tasting treats are so good for you that one study found that women who ate at least 3 servings of strawberries and blueberries each week had a 32 percent lower risk of having a heart attack! This is probably due to the special flavonoids found in strawberries, called anthocyanins.
While we are talking about berries, let’s dip into the blueberries. These are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat, hands down. Blueberries are high in fiber and low in sugar, as well as loaded with super healthy antioxidant power! One study showed that women who ate about 1 cup of blueberries each day had significantly lower blood pressure after just 8 weeks. Keep a bag of blueberries in your freezer for some seriously tasty, healthy snacking.
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Most people think popcorn is unhealthy, but it isn’t. It’s what we put on popcorn that makes it bad for us. Popcorn is actually a whole grain, something most people are unaware of. Low in calories but high in fiber, popcorn can have numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, and improved digestion. Air pop your popcorn and try adding a bit of butter, salt, and cinnamon for some healthy flavor.
Wow! This list is sounding tastier all the time! Watermelon has tons of a powerful carotenoid antioxidant called lycopene. Most people think that only tomatoes have this compound, but watermelons are a more concentrated source of this antioxidant. A meta-analysis done in 2014 found that lycopene lowers the risk of stroke by more 19 percent. Watermelon also has powerful anti-cancer compounds. To top it all off, is there anything better than a juicy watermelon on a hot summer day? Eat up!
6. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate, the type made with unprocessed raw cacao, is not only good for you (in small amounts), it can reduce the risk of metabolic disorders. One study showed that those who regularly consumed dark chocolate had a 37 percent lower risk of developing heart disease and a 29 percent lower risk of having a stroke. Dark chocolate of high quality has been linked in numerous studies to more than 40 different health benefits. The trick to dark chocolate is to not overindulge. One ounce per day is all you need to get all the health benefits it has to offer.
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Like almost all nuts, almonds are a terrific source of antioxidants, healthy fats, and of course, protein, but almonds have a little extra thing going for them: their skin. That brown skin on almonds is loaded with flavonoids, phenols, and phenolic acids, which most people think that only vegetables have. One study, conducted by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that eating one ounce of almonds provides as many polyphenols as one cup of green tea or steamed broccoli. Like dark chocolate, the trick to almonds is not to overeat. One ounce each day (about a handful) is all you need.
Who doesn’t love a rich, creamy avocado? Nothing the food industry can manufacture even comes close. Avocados are also low in fructose, but rich in the healthy type of fat we all need more of: monounsaturated fat, the kind that our body burns easily as a source of energy. Studies have found that avocados can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol levels.
Pistachios are another type of nut that not only tastes amazing, but also has super health benefits. Half of the fat in a pistachio is the same type of fat found in healthy olive oil: oleic acid. According to some studies, two servings of pistachios each day can decrease vascular constriction during stressful periods. To put it in other words, these nuts help to reduce the load on the heart greatly. Studies have also shown that pistachios can lower blood pressure, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Again, don’t overdo it. These are a terrific, healthy snack but you only need a handful each day.
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10. Full Fat Cream
You might be scratching your head, saying, “How is this healthy?” Well, full fat cream, especially when it comes from grass fed cows, is one superfood that is great for your overall health. Don’t be afraid of natural, healthy fats, such as cream and butter. It’s trans-fats from those overly processed oils (like canola and corn oil) you need to steer clear of! In fact, one study showed that women who ate one serving of full fat dairy gained 30 percent less weight over the 9-year study period than women who ate low fat or no fat diary. The palmitoleic acid, which is naturally found in full fat dairy, protects us form insulin resistance and diabetes. So go ahead, splash some of that cream on a bowl of strawberries or blueberries and dig in!
Cherries! Just the word makes you think of those sweet, juicy, rich red little fruits that will make your mouth water. Sweet cherries have tons of fiber, carotenoids, anthocyanins, and vitamin C, all of which play a part in cancer prevention. Cherries also have anti-inflammatory compounds and melatonin, which plays an important role in our sleep cycle. Cherries are a source of fructose, however, so take this into consideration when eating them. Like many things in this world, moderation is the key to a happy, healthy life.
If you have ever had some of those artificially made cheeses, you know instantly that they have a kind of “off” flavor to them, don’t they? The food industry simply cannot match the flavor of real cheese. With its powerful combination of vitamin K2, vitamin D, and calcium, cheese is unmatched when it comes to packing your bones and teeth full of healthy goodness. Cheese is also a heart healthy food as it also has omega-3 fatty acids. Be certain that the cheese you are eating is a natural cheese made from nothing more than milk, salt, starter culture, and an enzyme called rennet.
Sweet, juicy, and with unmatched flavor, mangoes are so full of vitamins A and C that just half of a medium mango will give you your daily recommended allowance of both! Mangoes also have B vitamins, iron, potassium, and calcium, as well as zinc and selenium. It also has 17 of the 20 amino acids that are in the human body. No food manufacturer can offer all this and that delicious taste, no matter how hard they try.
14. Nut Butters
No matter which nut butter you like best, it’s a healthy, protein filled food that Big Food cannot match. Depending on the nut you choose, you can get plenty of vitamin E, protein, magnesium, B vitamins, manganese, and copper. In fact, the only problem with nut butters is not sitting down and eating the whole jar! Make your own from scratch for the best health, but if you would rather buy it, look for brands that don’t have added oils or sugar.
Yogurt is so good that it’s almost like eating ice cream! Studies have shown that people who eat yogurt regularly have improved blood pressure levels and denser bones. The best types of yogurt are the ones with active, live cultures. This will improve your gut bacteria and strengthen your immune system. Eating these types of yogurt has been linked to improved digestion, improved absorption of vitamins, and lower cholesterol levels. Avoid yogurts that are filled with added sugars. If you like flavored yogurt, buy the plain, natural type of yogurt and add your own fresh berries, fruit, or wheat germ for a bit of flavor and crunch.
It’s time to break the myth that healthy foods lack flavor! Foods that are grown in healthy soils and allowed to ripen naturally, in their own good time, are the best tasting foods that can keep your body free from disease and working its best 24/7. Now that is something Big Food can never claim!