We are smack in the middle of the holiday season — which means people are a little jollier, wallets are a little thinner, and, most importantly, there are delicious snacks everywhere. For a few amazing weeks, you can enjoy hot chocolate and gingerbread at the bank or your barber.
Sadly, these tasty treats are typically accompanied by a wave of guilt because, let’s face it, winter is coming, and that gluten-centric food festival we’ve all been indulging in since summer ended is manifesting in breathless trips up a single flight of stairs.
It’s easy to enter a shame spiral — but, not so fast. You can put your subconscious at ease knowing various studies show some of the tastiest foods and drinks are not *quite* as unhealthy as they seem. In fact, they may actually be doing your body some good. Like champagne! And red wine!
Here are seven more foods with surprising benefits for your health:
First up, coffee. According to a new study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products, coffee drinkers everywhere can rejoice because complex compounds in coffee protect against type-2 diabetes.
Researchers in Denmark hypothesize that substances in coffee such as cafestol have beneficial effects on insulin secretion. Now, we can all add an eighth cup to our day with slightly less shame! Plus, if you really want to enrich your morning cuppa, this guy is even adding the natural antioxidant resveratrol to his beans to create super-charged coffee.
This list would be worthless without cheese. So, when four out of five experts say you should eat cheese, it’s time to find the tallest mountain you can, sprint to the top, and celebrate science at the top of your lungs. Research done by four professionals across North America encourages you to eat cheese because the fat (specifically omega-3s in organic dairy) can benefit metabolic health and even effect diabetes.
A lot people avoid fruit when they’re watching their weight because of its high sugar content. But, cherries are a kind of super-fruit few people know have benefits. Animal research done at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center revealed that animals receiving a tart cherry enriched diet had lower body weight, fat mass, and total cholesterol compared to the control group. An additional gem of wisdom about cherries is that they are among a select group of natural food sources containing melatonin, so they’ll help you sleep.
After adding that extra cup of super coffee to our mornings, a little sleep aide might not be the worst idea.
Okay, horseradish isn’t necessarily something you already love — unless you count the fact that most wasabi you’ve had is actually made with horseradish. It’s very rare that a condiment is beneficial for your health, but horseradish is a delightful exception.
A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry says that the glucosinolates in horseradish can help your liver detoxify carcinogens and slow tumor growth. So, before you go sweeping a glob of mayo across your next turkey sandwich, think about possible cancer prevention and consider a horseradish spread.
A study published in 2012 by the American Chemical Society revealed that popcorn has more healthy antioxidant substances called “polyphenols” than most fruits and vegetables. According to Dr. Joe Vinson, the concentration of polyphenols in popcorn is significantly denser than the concentration in fruits and vegetables because of a difference in water content.
Of course, the way you prepare your popcorn can influence its benefits, but if you keep it simple, science says snack away.
Logic suggests that eating fat will make you fat — but sometimes logic is stupid. A Swedish study from the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care discovered “a high intake of dairy fat was associated with a lower risk of central obesity, and a low dairy fat intake was associated with a higher risk of central obesity.”
So, if nothing else about your day is going well, at least there might be a future for good tasting food after all, and we can all lay off the kale! Unless of course these Swedish scientists are unethically tricking the rest of the world into obesity, in which case, yolo.
Chocolate is one of those things we’ve all heard isn’t that bad for you, and yet we continue to be skeptical because it tastes so damn good. Well, an article published in the journal “Heart” says, eating chocolate regularly may lower your risk of future cardiovascular events.
According to the article, there is little evidence to suggest people concerned about cardiovascular risk should avoid the sweet treat. Which feels like a very important thing. And then, when medicinal chocolate drops, look out!