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Ten Surprisingly Healthy Foods

Updated on August 17, 2012

When we are on a diet or are simply trying to eat healthy, we often think that we have to deprive ourselves of foods that we crave or that otherwise taste good. Fortunately, this is not true. In fact, there are numerous foods and snacks out there that our taste buds love and that are great for our figures and our health as well.

Below are ten foods that you will be surprised (and delighted) to know are actually good for us.



Beef Jerky

You wouldn't think that beef jerky would be on this list, but it is actually a great choice for those who are dieting. Beef jerky doesn't raise your levels of insulin, a hormone that triggers the storage of fat in your body. It is also loaded with protein.

Just make sure that you choose jerky that is low in sodium and that contains all-natural ingredients.


Sour Cream

While sour cream contains a high percentage of fat (about half of which is saturated), you will only consume about 52 calories if you eat a few tablespoonfuls, as well as two grams of saturated fat (less than what you would get from drinking a twelve ounce glass of two percent reduced fat milk). The fat in sour cream can also keep you feeling full longer.



Popcorn is both low in calories and high in fiber. In addition, it contains high levels of polyphenols, antioxidants that can help in preventing heart disease and certain types of cancers. However, you should choose to air-pop the kernels (without oil, though) over microwavable popcorn, since the latter contains twice as many calories.


Dark Chocolate

Cocoa is rich in heart-healthy flavonoids, which are also found in green tea and red wine. A recent study showed that eating dark chocolate that contains at least 100 milligrams of flavonoids can relax blood vessels and therefore improve blood flow to your heart.



While coconut does contain unhealthy saturated fat, half of that saturated fat is made up of lauric acid, which boosts HDL (good) cholesterol. Unsweetened shredded coconut is healthiest and can be eaten as a snack, although make sure not to eat too much as it is also high in calories.



Ketchup is not only a tasty condiment with French fries and other various foods; it is healthy for your heart as well. The tomatoes in ketchup contain significent sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that can help protect against heart disease and cancer, as well as premature aging. For maximum benefits, be sure to purchase organic ketchup, as a study that was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that organic ketchup contains up to 60% more lycopene per gram than other rival brands.



Drinking in moderation has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. In a study conducted by Harvard scientists, it was found that men who drank an average of two drinks each day had a lower risk of heart attack than those who didn't drink or who were heavy drinkers. Even more surprisingly, moderate drinking has also been linked to lower levels of abdominal fat (unlike the belief that consuming alcohol gives you a 'beer belly'). Researchers at the University of Buffalo discovered that men who drank the same amount per day had less belly fat compared to those who drank over four drinks in one sitting but who only did so once or twice every other week.


Pork Rinds

Pork rinds are packed with protein, and a large percentage of the fat is unsaturated. The majority of that fat comes from oleic acid, the same healthy fat that is found in olive oil. Pork rinds also contain stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that doesn't raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.


Fat-Based Salad Dressings

Low and fat-free salad dressings contain more sugar than full fat dressings, which is used to replace the flavor that is lost from removing the fat. As a result, lower fat dressings can still be packed with calories. In addition, the fat from the dressing actually allows your body to absorb more of the nutrients from the fruits and veggies in your salad.


Cheese Whiz

Cheese Whiz is thought to be an unhealthy replacement for regular cheese, but it actually has a surprising health benefit- it can lower the risk of cancer. While we should generally stay away from trans fats, Cheese Whiz contains a natural trans fat that is actually healthy, known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been found to have cancer fighting properties.

© Jennzie on HubPages



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    • MyMastiffPuppies profile image

      MyMastiffPuppies 5 years ago

      As long as I don't have to eat them all at the same time! Voted up across the board, thanks for an interesting hub!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting list, jennzie. Outside of this hub, I would have thought most of them to be unhealthy, cheese and ketchup being 2 examples. Thanks for a well researched article.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Yay, I am so glad to see a few of my favourite snacks on this list, and sour cream and coconut milk!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Hello Jennzie. Some I would take, most I would not eat. I'm a health nut and very particular. Blessings and good health to you.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Definitely a few I didn't expect in that list .. particularly the pork rinds!

      Shared, up and interesting.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      I´m really surprised. I never thought that pork rind is healthy as well as the cheese whiz. I´m glad red wine is one in the list. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 5 years ago

      Wow, it is really surprising to know some of these food are actually healthy. That gives me good reason to consume it... in moderation, of course. :) Thank you ! Voted up and tweeted.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Pork rinds and cheese whiz really surprised me! Air-popped popcorn is now one of my favorites. I used to think that the only way to make good popcorn was on the stove in a pan with oil. Then I found out about how heated oils become carcinogens. Thanks for all the good info on these healthy foods! Voted Up, Useful and Shared.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Well who would have guessed that all these were good for you? popcorn is one of my favorites, and ketchup! now I can eat without feeling guilty! lol! voted up! cheers nell

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Jenn, lots of interesting facts here that I didn't know!

      I was pleased to see popcorn and pork rinds on your list!

      Thank you for sharing, voting up!

    • profile image

      LikaMarie 5 years ago

      I was surprised to read the label on Ranch dressing. It wasn't really too much more in fat content than other types, and the sugars were way low, like only 2 grams or something.

      I also like my crunchy treats, and well, I'm trying to be good with not eating too many baked chips, but, sour cream with dill weed, and voila, dill dip for your chips. And it's much cheaper when you mix it yourself, to taste. And only make what you're going to use.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Pork rinds are one of my favorites, so I'm especially glad they're on this list. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      Thank you all for the kind comments! Happy eating. :-)

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great list within this well written hub ! Thanks for all this healthy information !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • Cherry Red profile image

      Cherry Red 5 years ago from London, England

      This is a great list Jennzie - particularly because its got lots of favourites on there!!

    • Your Cousins profile image

      Your Cousins 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Cheese Wiz really? Now that surprised me. I do love hot-air popcorn, dark chocolate and coconut M-m-m-m. This hub makes me happy.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Mmmm I love the chocolate, popcorn & red wine list:)and so happy they are so healthy...good hub, lots of votes...cheers

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      I do eat a lot of coconut, because I just glove he taste, but do realize moderation can be the key too. Very informative and loved reading about the other foods too that are healthy that I may not have known about either. Voted up and shared too!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 5 years ago from Spain

      Wow, Pork rinds and Fat based salad dressing, who would have thought these could have health benefits ? Some of the products I am not familiar with, as I am British, but I would have assumed them unhealthy also. Great hub, well researched. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I would have never thought cheese whiz to be good for you. Thanks for the useful information.