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Carlton Senior Living | March 15, 2016 | By Jonita Dixon

Foods With Surprising Health Benefits

health-foodIf we want to remain healthy as we get older, a healthy diet in combination with regular physical activity is one of the better ways to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing. While foods such as spinach and bananas are known for having some great health benefits, some nutritious products are not quite so renowned for their positive contributions to our overall health. These are just some foods that might surprise you with their positive health benefits.

Surprising Food #1 – Grapefruit

Grapefruits offer powerful antioxidants in addition to high amounts of vitamins A and C. The antioxidants found in grapefruit can help boost your metabolism. This is why it is a fruit that is often recommended after a workout. It also makes for a great way to start your day, a tasty breakfast food. Because it is so versatile and you can use it in so many different ways, grapefruits should be a staple in any diet.

Surprising Food #2 – Dark chocolate

Even though chocolate gets a bad reputation, not all chocolate is bad for us. There are multiple health benefits to eating dark chocolate, even though chocolate is often associated with candy and snack foods. Eating dark chocolate bars with at least 70 percent cocoa can help lower your risk of heart disease. This is because of the high amount of antioxidants found in dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has even been proven to reduce instances of stress.

Surprising Food #3 – Bell peppers

You probably already know that you can add a tasty kick of flavor to your dishes by using bell peppers. However, what few people realize is that they are filled with vitamin C and antioxidants. Studies from the University of Washington found that you can reduce the odds of developing Parkinson’s disease by approximately 30 percent by eating bell peppers 2-4 times per week.

Surprising Food #4 – White produce – cauliflower, garlic, onions

While cauliflower, garlic, and onions might not have some of the vibrant colors that we see in other vegetables, it should be an obvious indicator that color is not the only way to determine whether a vegetable is healthy for us. In fact, these three vegetables contain quercetin and allicin – both of which are able to guard against certain types of cancer.

Surprising Food #5 – Mushrooms

If you want to eat one of the only natural food sources of vitamin D, mushrooms are the place to be. Mushrooms are able to manufacture vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. In fact, some varieties of mushrooms will have more than 100 percent of our daily-recommended value of vitamin D within a single cup. Mushrooms are also filled with niacin and riboflavin – both of which have been shown to help increase cognitive function. You can use mushrooms as an alternative to meat on a burger or use them in a stir-fry.