People love their junk food, from candy and salty snacks to pizza and ice cream. We love it all and we eat it heavily. Almost by definition, “junk food” is one that has a low nutritional value. But is all junk food really all junk? However, if you want to stay healthy, say bye-bye to junk food, but you will be surprised to know that these 12 junk foods are beneficial for health in many ways. If you can’t believe it, then read this article.
You are still unaware of the benefits hidden in them. If you consume these junk foods in limited quantities, it will be of great beneficial for you. You can avoid cancer by eating them and also protect the heart. Let’s see the beneficial properties of this junk food.
You may be surprised to know that your favourite “junk food” is not so unhealthy after all and there may be some health benefits.
Top 12 Junk Foods Those Are Actually Healthy.
- Dark Chocolate.
- Whipped Cream.
- Baked Snacks.
- Processed cheese.
- Red Wine.
- Mixed Nuts.
- Humus and Chickpeas.
Eat dark chocolate and get thinner? Sounds great to be true, but that’s what researchers found in a study published in journal Molecules.
Dark chocolate is rich in nutrients. It is the best source of antioxidants. It also helps in controlling high blood pressure levels, which improves mood. Potassium and copper stroke of dark chocolate are helpful in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Chocolate contains iron which is also beneficial for your overall health.
Magnesium present in the chocolate protects against type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases. Research shows that eating dark chocolate in small quantities two or three times a week helps in lowering blood pressure. It also control healthy level of blood pressure.
For this double blind study, researchers randomly assigned adults.
Participants either eat 2 grams of dark chocolate (containing 70% cocoa) or 2 grams of milk chocolate per day for 6 months. By the end of the study, people who ate dark chocolate every day had significantly reduced the waist circumference. They showed a very low level of total blood cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol as well as low blood pressure.
“Interestingly, daily flavonoid-rich dark chocolate intake also improves fasting plasma glucose levels and insulin resistance parameters (oma-IR). These effects were attributed to the ratio of flavonoids in chocolate, which was 3 times higher than milk chocolate. Together, these results suggested a potentially beneficial effects on lipids and glucose metabolism.(1) So, it is consider as one of the healthy junk foods.
Fat is there, but it is a good source of calories. Eating a limited amount does not harm.
It also contains minerals, calcium and phosphorus and also provides vitamin D.(2)
Popcorn, if cooked properly, is very beneficial for health. Adding garlic and pepper powder to popcorn strengthens the heart. Researchers at the University of Scranton claimed that the fibers and polyphenols present in popcorn reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases in the elderly.(3)
Research revealed that antioxidants present in popcorn flush out free radicals from the body. Popcorn contains the same nutrients as barley, jowar and bajra. It is enrich with vitamins and minerals. Popcorn is low calorie food, which reduces weight. It is also considered anticancer. Eating it can prevent a deadly disease like cancer.
Drinking too much beer is not beneficial for health, but many researches have also shown some benefits of beer. Drinking a limited amount of beer strengthens the bones. It has a good amount of silicone levels that keep bones strong. A research by Tufts University in 2009 found that people who sometimes consume beer have stronger bones.(4)
It can also be healthy for the heart. According to a research by Italian Foundation proved that people who consume a balanced amount beer have a 31 percent lower risk of heart diseases than others. A Howard research has shown that consumption of a balanced amount of beer increases the level of good cholesterol in the body and beneficial for kidneys. Drinking beer reduces the risk of mental diseases like alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition, reduce the risk of cancer.
Experts said that a pint of thick and creamy dark beer can be effective as a low dose of aspirin to improve blood circulation, and therefore reduces the risk of blood clots and heart attacks. It is proved to be better than other types of drinks and beer.
Tomato ketchup not only enhances the taste of food but also very beneficial in terms of health. It is high in tomato content. Tomato contains lycopene, which protects against many diseases.
Tomatoes also contain vitamin A or retinoid and beta carotene. It also protects against dangerous diseases like cancer. Lycopene is a strong antioxidant that eliminates free radicals that harm the body. Eating tomato sauce reduces the risk of prostate cancer. In addition, eating ketchup also controls cholesterol.(5),(6)
According to a recent study it is proved that some junk food contains quality amounts of antioxidants and they can be really beneficial for the heart. Although it is not recommended that one thrive on these foods. However, you should prefer healthy whole food.
A variety of whole wheat crackers are available, which can be a good and healthy evening chew without the side effects caused by other junk food.(7)
The latest baked snacks are in the snack category. They are better than fried chips because they don’t contain any oil. Usually made from whole wheat with spice dash.
It not only entertains the taste buds but also healthy for your body.(8)
Conjugate linoleic acid (CLA) is found in many meat, milk and cheese products. But a recent study which focused exclusively on processed cheese found that CLA has anti cancerous properties and is also an effective antioxidant.
The study proved that processed cheese contains more CLA than natural cheese.(9)
Well, so red wine is not exactly “junk food”. But red wine can help to burn calories. How come? Resveratrol, a component in red wine, effectively reduces life-threatening inflammation.
Antioxidants present in red wine can help to prevent heart disease and cancer.(10) For non-drinkers, grape juice or even red grapes can be effective.
The main component of Guacamole, avocado, is associated with increased satiety, better diet, lower risk of metabolic syndrome and possibly burning more calories.
A study published in the Nutrition Journal found that people who ate half of an avocado with their lunch each day reported a 40% decrease in desire to eat for the next 3 hours compared with people who did not.(11)
These researchers also estimated that eating avocados can help to burn more calories. Avocado is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which is preferably oxidized and increases thermogenesis compared to polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Thus, the inclusion of avocados for a diet food pattern may have additional implications in weight management in an overweight population.
Another study published by various researchers in the journal showed the additional benefits of eating avocados. Using patient data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the researchers found that people who ate avocados regularly had better consumed overall diet quality and nutrients and less compared with body weight, BMI and waist circumference, as well as a 50% lower risk of metabolic syndrome who did not eat avocados.(12)
This is also one of the healthy junk foods which are full of fats and calories, so how can they possibly help you to lose weight. First, you need counter the limitation. 1.5 oz or 1/4 cup is a good daily serving size.
Although nuts have unhealthy saturated fats, they are also rich in healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats show a high diet to keep belly fat at bay. Apart from fat, nuts are also a rich source of protein and fiber, which all increase satiety, helping you to feel fuller.
In addition, eating nuts regularly is associated with lower risks for heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.(13)
Hummus and Chickpeas.
The main ingredient in humus is chickpeas, which are mashed and mixed with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and spices to make this delicious dip.
Served with vegetables or whole grain pita chips, Humus makes a healthy and filling snack or appetizer.(14)
It also known as garbanzo beans are relatively low in calories and have low glycemic index (GI). Their low GI means they digest more slowly and do not cause spikes in blood sugar. Humus is also highly nutritious and in relatively low in calories. The 3.5-oz serving Humus contains only 166 calories, but 7.9 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. It is also a good source of manganese, copper, folate, magnesium and phosphorus.
In a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, adults who ate hummus as an afternoon breakfast compared with 20% less than their post-dinner desserts that ate no afternoon snacks. People who had breakfast on humus also consumed more vegetables and the blood sugar level decreased in the afternoon.(15)
In addition, humus snacking improved selected indices of appetite, contentment, mood and glycemic control compared with high sugar snacking or no afternoon snacking. These figures suggest that daily consumption of breakfast containing a low sugar hummus could be a potential strategy to improve dietary quality and result in selected health in adults.
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So, it can be concluded that every junk foods are not unhealthy, some are also healthy. We are not suggested you to eat unhealthy foods, as it may leads several diseases. The above mentioned junk foods are healthy but in limited amount. Along with foods it is always suggested to prefer light exercise to get maximum health benefits. So, follow that in order to stay healthy and fit.
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- Daily Consumption of Chocolate Rich in Flavonoids Decreases Cellular Genotoxicity and Improves Biochemical Parameters of Lipid and Glucose Metabolism; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327540248_Daily_Consumption_of_Chocolate_Rich_in_Flavonoids_Decreases_Cellular_Genotoxicity_and_Improves_Biochemical_Parameters_of_Lipid_and_Glucose_Metabolism
- Natural Vitamin D Content in Animal Products; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941824/
- RESEARCH ON ANTIOXIDANTS FOUND IN SNACK FOODS AND CEREAL PRESENTED; https://news.scranton.edu/articles/2009/08/Research-Antioxidents-Snack-Foods.shtml
- Effects of beer, wine, and liquor intakes on bone mineral density in older men and women; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2667462/
- An Update on the Health Effects of Tomato Lycopene; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3850026/
- Ketchup reduces cholesterol; https://www.nicswell.co.uk/health-news/ketchup-reduces-cholesterol
- Functional biscuits and coronary heart disease risk factors; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235288736_Functional_biscuits_and_coronary_heart_disease_risk_factors
- What Is a Snack, Why Do We Snack, and How Can We Choose Better Snacks? A Review of the Definitions of Snacking, Motivations to Snack, Contributions to Dietary Intake, and Recommendations for Improvement; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4863261/
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid Effects on Cancer, Obesity, and Atherosclerosis: A Review of Pre-Clinical and Human Trials with Current Perspectives; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413010/
- Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6099584/
- New research: Effects of eating half an avocado with lunch on satiety and desire to eat between meals; https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/763858
- Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23282226/
- Health Benefits of Nut Consumption; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/
- The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27916819/
- Snacking on Hummus Shown to Improve Diet Quality, Appetite, and Mood; https://cns.utexas.edu/news/snacking-on-hummus-shown-to-improve-diet-quality-appetite-and-mood