Good Healthy Food
When people envision healthy food, they most likely picture whole grain pasta or a serving of broccoli. However, many would be surprised at the nutritional content and health benefits of some of their favorite foods. In a world where the definition of ‘healthy diet’ changes on a daily basis, and where there is an endless list of rules to follow regarding food, it helps to remember a few simple ideas. A healthy food is any food that contains sufficient calories and nutrients to stay alive and healthy. The following is a breakdown of four, surprisingly super foods that can be used and enjoyed by almost anyone.
The potato is one of the most controversial foods in the public eye today, partly because of its reputation as a fast food item. Potatoes count both as a starch and as a vegetable. According to the editors of HowStuffWorks.com, a fresh, baked potato with skin contains less than one gram of fat, including saturated fat, and no cholesterol. It contains six grams of protein, six grams of fiber, and 63 grams of carbohydrates. In addition, potatoes contain high levels of vitamin C and magnesium, 224 mg. of phosphorus and 1,627 mg. of potassium.
Another health food wonder is Wonder Bread. As noted by Nicole Wolverton at Livestrong.com, a typical, two-slice serving of Wonder Bread contains 4-5% of the recommended daily caloric intake. Most of those calories are carbohydrates. One serving also contains 4-5 grams of protein and one gram of fat or less. To enhance its nutritional value, one serving is enriched with folic acid, riboflavin, and 30% of the daily recommended amount of calcium. In addition, it contains 8% of the RDA of thiamin, niacin, and iron. For parents of picky eaters, Wonder Bread is one good, healthy food. It provides children with necessary nutrients but can still be used in child-friendly recipes.
Peanut butter is a long-time favorite in children’s lunches and many desserts and candies, but it offers more health benefits than one might think. Lydia Stephens on Livestrong.com informs her readers that a 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains seven grams of protein. While it does contain saturated fat, peanut butter also has unsaturated fat in abundance, which can lower one’s risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Peanut butter is high in potassium, which can undo the negative effects of sodium in one’s diet.
Last but not least is chocolate, which is a popular treat. The Huffington Post reveals that chocolate has properties that counteract inflammation, which lowers cardiovascular risk and blood pressure. The antioxidant flavonoids found in dark chocolate offers the skin some protection from UV damage. Flavanoids cause people to be more alert which boosts brain function. Because chocolate has anti-clotting properties similar to aspirin, it can improve blood flow as well as one’s vision. Those who eat chocolate regularly report improved moods and chocolate can even help suppress coughs. An ingredient called theobromine that is present in chocolate quiets the vagus nerve, which is responsible for coughing.
People tend to view healthy eating as an arduous task, one that involves eating foods they hate and following an impossibly long list of rules. In reality, many of the foods people eat on a regular basis are rich in necessary nutrients and are easy to use in tasty recipes. In addition, most of these foods are affordable to the average person. For those concerned about the healthfulness of their diets, it is recommended that they make small changes incorporating these common foods into recipes they enjoy. The myriad health benefits will be seen in due time.