NETfacts: Self-care

Foods that are healthier than you may think

There is nothing better than finding out that the foods you enjoy eating are actually good for you! Check out the health benefits of the foods below and see how many of them you consume on a regular basis:

Crunchy and juicy in their raw state (not to mention a great stir-stick for a Ceasar), celery contains multiple nutrients, including anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe your digestive tract, disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins K and C and folate. Add some peanut butter and you’ve got a healthy and tasty snack!

Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap because it’s not dark green like its sister lettuce romaine, but along with the nice crunch, iceberg lettuce also contains about 20% of your daily intake of vitamin K and 15% of vitamin A per cup.

Portobello, shiitake or white button are the names of just a few types of this edible fungus. Mushrooms are very versatile when used for cooking – try them sautéed, on pizza, in a stir-fry or spaghetti sauce. Whether you use them for cooking or eat them raw as a snack, you will also receive great health benefits including antioxidants, selenium, vitamin B1 and B6. Mushrooms also contain as much potassium as a banana.

Butter and salt-free popcorn is an excellent healthy snack and may have even more antioxidants than certain fruits and vegetables, according to researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Popcorn is very low in fat and very high in fibre, with five grams in a four-cup portion. Get popping!

Baked and on their own, potatoes only contain 160 calories and are one of the best sources of potassium and fibre. Unfortunately, most of us consume potatoes only after they’ve been deep fried or saturated (literally) in butter, cheese or creamy sauces. Ease up on the toppings and give the baked potato a shot!

Not enjoyed by all, but if you do enjoy these types of fermented foods, you are receiving the benefits of probiotics. Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your stomach, which aid in digestion and nutrient absorption.

Although shrimp does contain cholesterol (as all animal-sourced foods do), they do have health benefits such as high protein, very low fat (a 3oz serving has only 1 gram of fat and none of it is saturated), a good source of omega-3s, selenium and vitamins B12 and D.

Sunflower Seeds
We all know that nuts are a healthy snack, but don’t forget about sunflower seeds. These mighty little seeds will satisfy your hunger while providing and excellent source of vitamin E and a good source of copper, manganese, magnesium and thiamin, which helps your brain function. To make snacking on them more convenient and less messy, try buying them already unshelled (and unsalted for the best health benefits). Sunflower seeds also contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – the healthy fat that may protect the heart.

Not only tasty, sweet and refreshing in the summer and a great source of hydration, but it also provides a dose of vitamins A and C, potassium and lycopene (the cancer-fighting antioxidant). Watermelon also has one of the highest natural sources of the amino acid L-citrulline, which according to researchers in a 2010 Florida State University study, helps regulate arterial function and may lower blood pressure.

Eat well and stay healthy self-care lovers!

Image courtesy of Naito8 /