What’s your guilty pleasure? Everybody’s got ’em.

But healthy eating isn’t as black and white as ‘eat this, not that’.

New studies frequently reveal that foods once demonized – like the egg yolk – actually aren’t all that horrendous for our health.

In fact, a number of foods we’re told to avoid actually possess redeeming qualities.

So, the next time you crave these so-called ‘unhealthy’ foods below, don’t waste your time and energy feeling too guilty. Some of these snacks indeed come with health benefits, provided they’re consumed as close to their natural form as possible.

It’s also always good to keep in mind the golden rule of healthy eating: moderation is key.

Popcorn

Healthy Yummy Foods_popcorn
Image by © LauraE/RooM the Agency/Corbis

Find yourself craving a big bowl of fragrant, fluffy popcorn? So do we! But we no longer feel guilty about it, here’s why:

Popcorn is actually hailed as a low-calorie snack that helps nourish your body with ample amounts of dietary fibers and ‘surprisingly large servings of healthy antioxidants‘, known as polyphenols.

While popcorn itself isn’t unhealthy (depending on how it’s prepared), the other problem is: added flavorings. It’s the butter, caramel, and artificial flavorings –  like barbecue and sour cream powders –  that really do the damage.

So if you’re really craving a good munch while at the cinema, try and avoid the added flavors and go back to the basics.

Peanut Butter

Healthy Yummy Foods_Photo courtesy of Nature World News
Photo courtesy of Nature World News

Peanut butter has received a lot of flak, partly due to its high fat and calorie count, which could be associated with harmful effects in the long run.

But this shouldn’t stop you for snacking occasionally on peanut butter, provided you’re selecting the right brand. Opt for natural peanut butter made from ground peanuts or one that doesn’t have trans fat, high fructose corn syrup or a large amount of sodium.

When done right, this classic spread is packed with protein, vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, and  magnesium. Not to mention it contains healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils, which will help reduce cholesterol levels and lowers your risk of heart disease.

White Rice

Healthy Yummy Foods_Photo courtesy of Children Care
Photo courtesy of Children Care

 

Few meals in the Philippines are complete without a serving of pillowy, white rice. However, compared to brown rice, white rice is often seen as the less healthy choice usually because it’s more processed and is high on the glycemic index.

Although brown rice is truly the healthier alternative,  we believe the key thing to remember when consuming white rice is: portion control! Try and eat no more than 3/4’s cup of white rice during lunch and make sure to pair it with a healthy viand and plenty of veggies!

Besides, white race is staple food in a Japan – a country known for having the highest life expectancy in the world.

Chocolates  

Healthy Yummy Foods_dark chocolate manila
Image by © abesmarket.com

Aside from being the universal comfort food, chocolates are legitimate sources of antioxidants—flavonoids and flavonols, wired to help our protect our bodies against cell damage.

There’s just one catch though — you have to go dark. The darker, the healthier. The higher cocoa percentage, the more health benefits you can extract.

Contrary to popular belief, dark chocolate is not an enemy of the heart, either. One study showed that chocolates can actually help improve our blood circulation, reducing stiffness in the arteries and preventing white blood cells from clogging the pathways of our blood.

Apart from this, chocolates contain phenylethylamine, a chemical that nudges on your brain’s sweet spot, paving the way for endorphins to fill your body with good vibrations.

When you’re super stressed, or when stuck in EDSA, or when it’s that time of the month — trust a good bar of (dark) chocolate to boost your mood. Our current favorite: Royce Nama Dark Chocolate.

Red Wine

Healthy Yummy Foods_Glass of Red Wine --- Image by © Steve Lupton/Corbis
Glass of Red Wine — Image by © Steve Lupton/Corbis

 

On days when you’re too exhausted for a little cardio, you could also opt to lounge at home and enjoy a glass or two before crashing to bed. While not low on calories, red wine can help slow memory decline and boost overall cognitive performance.

The catch — of course, drink responsibly. If you consume more than two glasses, the pros might no longer outweigh the cons.

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