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Top 10 “Unhealthy” Foods That Are Actually Good for You

by Katie Curtis
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Unhealthy foods and drinks have been criticized for their high calorie, sodium, fat, and sugar content for years. Not to mention the terrible consequences after eating at your favorite fast-food restaurant or at home snuggled up with a Domino’s pizza box. We all love our junk food and comfort foods… they’re just way too addictive! You couldn’t possibly give up good food! But what if I told you that you don’t have to? Here are the top 10 “unhealthy” foods that might actually be good for you!

Related: 10 Super Foods to Heal Your Body

10 Coffee

New study shows the health benefits of coffee

Millions of people worldwide start their morning with a fresh cup of coffee. In fact, 74% of Americans drink coffee every day! And more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day around the world! Though coffee has a bad reputation for causing health problems, there’s good news! Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “The overall evidence has been pretty convincing that coffee has been more healthful than harmful in terms of health outcomes.” How so?

Scientists have come to the conclusion that a moderate coffee intake can result in a lower likelihood of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver and endometrial cancers, and depression. Incredible! However, this does not mean you can go overboard with gallons of coffee or add all that extra caramel, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream to your morning joe. Only Lorelai Gilmore has the body capacity to hold that much caffeine.[1]

9 Ice Cream

Ice Cream Protects Your Health: The Buried Science | Educational Video | Biolayne

Whether it’s vanilla, strawberry, or mint. It’s the perfect remedy to turn that frown upside down! But how can it benefit you? Here’s the scoop…

Ice cream contains important nutrients such as protein, calcium, and vitamins, such as vitamins D & A. These vitamins protect you from illnesses and infections. They also help your body absorb calcium, which is essential to building strong bones. Ice cream contains lots of milk, which is what babies need for bones to strengthen as they grow.

Not only does ice cream help your physical health, but it can be healthy for your mental health, too! The psychological benefits of eating ice cream should not be underestimated. Ice cream releases the “happy” chemical called dopamine. This contributes to a healthier mindset. So, with evidence, ice cream really CAN turn that frown upside down![2]

8 Dark Chocolate

4 Evidence-Based Benefits of Dark Chocolate

One of the most beloved treats in the world! Who doesn’t love chocolate? The majority of people usually think chocolate is high in sugar. Well, you’ll be surprised to know that dark chocolate contains LESS sugar content than other chocolates. It also has a higher flavanol content, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate is also a great source of vitamins and minerals (like magnesium, potassium, iron, etc.) When consuming these flavanols, they can protect your skin from sun damage, improve blood flow to the skin, and increase skin hydration.

But wait! There’s more… Studies show that eating high levels of flavanol (cocoa) can improve blood flow to the brain, improving attention, concentration, and memory. In addition, chocolate also releases the chemical in your body called dopamine. This chemical provides a sense of relaxation and happiness. This is why chocolate is called a “comfort food.”[3]

7 Pizza

Is Pizza Healthy? I What The Heck Are You Eating I Everyday Health

Pizza is usually perceived as a treat to enjoy occasionally rather than a healthy food option. The majority of pizzas are high in calories and sodium as it’s usually topped with high-calorie toppings such as cheese, salty meats, etc. Plus, added sugar is often put into the crust and sauces. However, pizza can also be a relatively healthy meal when prepared with the right ingredients and consumed in moderation. Here are some reasons why pizza can be a healthy option!

To begin with, pizza contains food from nearly all food groups! It consists of a crust (grains), cheese (dairy), tomato sauce, and multiple toppings (vegetables). These provide a wide variety of essential nutrients! Secondly, pizza contains protein in the chicken, salami, or meat of your choice. It even contains protein in plant-based options, like tofu!

Furthermore, customization. When you make your pizza or choose the ingredients, you have control over what goes on it. This allows you to make healthier choices and adapt the pizza to your dietary preferences and requirements. So by replacing one cheese with another, or changing the pizza sauce… Boom! Job done![4]

6 Salsa

TWO SALSAS You Always Need: Easy Mexican Salsa Roja & Salsa Verde Recipe

What do robots dip in salsa? Microchips.

This delicious snack goes perfectly with tortilla chips. That rich flavor, that spicy taste, the fact that it’s healthy? What?? Yes! You heard that right. Salsa is high in vitamins A and C, thanks to its main ingredients: onions, tomatoes, and lime juice.

What’s even more remarkable is the calorie content or rather the lack of it! There are just 15 calories in a 2-tablespoon serving, making it an excellent option for a tasty snack without worrying about your calorie intake. Because over 95% of the weight of tomatoes is from water, this meal is very hydrating and full of fiber![5]

5 Eggs

The SHOCKING Truth About Eating Eggs Daily [Heart & Artery Disease]

But aren’t eggs healthy? Many have cautioned on eating more than an egg a day, even going so far as to recommend only eating the egg whites. Not to mention that eggs are part of what makes some of the best unhealthy food options. Think brownies, cupcakes, and cheesecake! But let’s take a closer look at eggs.

As we get older, our vision starts to deteriorate, but there are some EGGSellent nutrients in eggs that support eye health! The yolk in an egg contains large amounts of carotenes, which not only help vision improvement but also protect against muscle loss! I’m not even EGGSagerating. You’ve got to admit, that was an EGGcellent joke to crack you up… Okay, I’ll stop.

But seriously, eggs have a wide range of minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamin D and B12, and are rich in essential amino acids, which help build and repair tissues in your body! Eggs are also one of the BEST sources of choline. This nutrient is found in the yolk of an egg and is essential for brain development. This nutrient is needed by all of us for our brain to function, including our memory. Eggs are also a budget-friendly option for those looking to maintain a healthy diet. For example, eggs can be a part of your diet for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert![6]

4 Red Wine

Is Red Wine Good for You? | Earth Science

This is not to encourage you to drink more or give you an excuse as to why you should drink more. The taste of wine varies in flavor depending on not only the country it comes from but also the region of the country. But no matter where the wine is from, it has the same benefits worldwide.

Red wine contains antioxidants that protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Preventing damage to the blood vessels results in a lower risk of blood clots, prevents heart artery damage, and improves the cell work in the line of blood vessels.

Studies have shown that these benefits help those who drink alcohol in moderation and the ones who drink regularly increase the risk of heart disease, liver disease, and many forms of cancer. So think twice before taking that third glass of wine![7]

3 Candy

How Delicious Candy is Made | Modern Marvels (16, E11) | Full Episode

Contrary to popular belief, candy is actually good for you. Candy has several physical health benefits, such as improvement in digestion, reduced stress, and relief from coughs! Dutch mints, Polos, and other peppermint candies can help settle an upset stomach and reduce gas and bloating. There are also benefits to ginger candy. Candies such as Gingins and Ginger Chews help relieve symptoms of nausea and motion sickness. Sweet sugar and honey content in sweets can help soothe sore throats! So when the doctors give you that piece of candy and say, “It’ll ease the pain,”—they’re right![8]

2 Popcorn

How POPCORN Can Heal Your Body! Dr. Mandell

Just picture yourself curled up in your favorite chair at home, a bowl of popcorn in hand. Or perhaps you’re watching a movie at the cinema and eating a delicious box of popcorn. Would you believe that this delicious treat could actually save your life?

Popcorn is filled with polyphenols. In addition to perhaps reducing the incidence of some illnesses, polyphenols are known to help with blood circulation, digestive health, and other bodily functions. When made without too much unhealthy seasoning—salt or sugar—popcorn is quite low in calories. In light of everything spoken so far, it can be concluded that popcorn is both a tasty treat for watching a movie and a good buddy to your health.[9]

1 Gum

Mayo Clinic Minute: How gum might benefit your gut

While it’s true that gum can save the embarrassment of bad breath, the act of chewing increases blood flow to the brain and increases the flow of oxygen around the body. This increases focus, attention span, and feelings of relaxation and improves memory.

It has been studied that if you chew a piece of flavored gum when studying for a test and chew that same flavored gum when taking that test, your brain “remembers” and can recall the information more effectively. This can be a big help to get those grades! Now, this isn’t to say if you chew a piece of gum when studying, you’ll score 100% on your exam… that sure isn’t the case, but it will definitely help you out![10]

fact checked by Jamie Frater