Foods That are Surprisingly Good for You

red wine and cheese platter

        To the average man, nutrition can almost seem like a dirty word. Now, the average man isn’t exactly the most reputable of opinions these days, but that is a mostly valid opinion. Nutritionists certainly aren’t helping, as they peddle “easy” health plans that include but are not limited to: throwing out most if not all of your food, limiting the number of foods you can consume to single digits, and denying yourself any sensation of taste, pleasure, or enjoyment when it comes to food, ever again.

        Attractive offer, isn’t it? But let’s say, hypothetically, that spending the rest of your life eating kale and drinking water just because some gel haired fraternity reject said so isn’t your ideal way of living. You needn’t worry, you can still eat healthy, and chances are, you’ve got all you need in your pantry. If you’re a man in your mid to late 20’s, looking for a way to keep healthy, here are some common foods that are shockingly healthier than you may have been led to believe.

Potatoes

         No, that does not mean that you can gorge yourself on French fries. In fact, many forms of potatoes really aren’t healthy, despite being delicious. However, cooked the right way, they’re an excellent source of potassium. So how do you eat them for the maximum effect? In the wise words of Tolkien: boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew!

Popcorn

         What we often forget about popcorn when we think about healthy food is that, well, it’s corn. And therefor it contains a whopping 3.5g of fiber, which is a great dosage. And as long as you don’t go crazy on the butter, you can still enjoy buttered popcorn during family movie night. However, too much popcorn actually can be unhealthy, but pretty much all of the major popcorn companies sell versions of their bags that are half the usual size, so you can just use those.bowl of popcorn

Cheese

       Cheese is spoiled milk laced with stomach enzymes and curdled until it solidifies into a material that most people wouldn’t touch with a 10-yard pole. This sounds like the least healthy thing on the face of the planet, but under the right circumstances, it’s one of the healthiest things we consume every day. The right circumstances are, of course, organically created and grass fed. Under these conditions, cheese offers you a huge spike in vitamins and omega – 3 fats, as well as a myriad other nutrients that help your body.

Red wine

         While most commercially available alcohol is in fact bad for you, red wine is another matter. Having a regular glass or two of red wine will actually help to guard your heart from various heart diseases. This is due to the anti-oxidants that populate red wine, giving it its deep red color and tangy taste. One last thing, it’s understandable if you want to abstain from alcohol altogether (your reasons are your own) but science has conclusively proven that a total lack of alcohol in your system can actually shorten your lifespan long-term.

Oysters

        For the seafood lover, you can’t go wrong with a hearty amount of oysters in your diet. Oysters contain and downright ridiculous amount of zinc and vitamin D. Now this may seem disgusting, and if you’re not a fan of seafood, this dish is not going to change your mind. However, if you love the ocean’s beautiful little critters so much that you could just eat them up, this is an excellent and healthy addition to your diet.

Chicken wings

buffalo chicken wings        Some of you may have your eyebrows set firmly to “raise with suspicion” and it’s not hard to see why. Between the breading, drenching with sauces, and a million other alterations, we as a society seem determined to make an otherwise healthy dish as unhealthy as humanely possible. But rest assured that chicken wings aren’t just healthy, they’re really healthy. Chicken in general is a good source of protein, but the wings are where the majority of it lies. So next family cookout, take the skin off of those chicken wings, throw them on the grill, and enjoy.

Dark chocolate

         Ah, dark chocolate, the black sheep (pun utterly intended) of the world of sweets. When you were a little boy, you probably dreaded 3 things on Halloween night: smarties, circus peanuts, and dark chocolate. However, you may want to rethink that stance. While overdoing it with dark chocolate has the same general result as overdoing it with any sweet (or any food for that matter, which is why any diet must have a widely varied pallet) dark chocolate has been recorded to have some antioxidizing effects. But while that hasn’t been conclusively proven, what has is its ability to lower your blood pressure, improve your vascular functions, and make you feel all fancy when you want to eat chocolate but not feel like a glutton.

Chili

         The trick to a healthy chili meal is very simple: take normal chili, and just shift the balance of meat and beans to more favor beans. Now, not only are you still having warm, spicy, delicious chili, but now you’re getting a healthy dose of fiber. Just be sure you don’t put it on a hot dog, as that may negate the benefit.

Guinness Beer

        If you’re a man, chances are you’ve been goaded into at least trying a beer before. Whether or not you liked it is another matter, of course, but it is a very male-coded beverage in general, isn’t it? Shame then that it’s so unhealthy for anyone trying to eat and drink right. However, if you still want a good, strong beer every now and then, Guinness beer only has around 125 calories, about on par with the light, watery stuff. So when it’s time to party, pour yourself some liquid luck of the Irish, and enjoy.

        These commonly consumed, easy to make/procure foods we have every day are much healthier for us than some nutritionists let on. As long as you pace yourself correctly, and prepare them just right, you can eat healthy, without sacrificing good food along the way.