Superfood, or super unhealthy? Some of the eats in your fridge or pantry may be doing more harm than good for your body. Tons of recent health studies have revealed new facts about everyday foods, from improving your mood to putting you at risk for tooth decay. These days, some of the most common foods have big health secrets.
Time to check your cupboards! Here are eleven health secrets found in everyday foods.
It may be the classic crunchy hippie snack, but it’s worth checking the label next time you stock up on granola bars. Just like Snickers or cookies, many granola bars contain high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to weight gain. Some granola bars even contain the same amount of sugar as a candy bar!
Some types of fruit juice can be deceptively bad for you. This is partly because of what they contain (tons of sugar!), but it’s because of what they DON’T contain (fiber!). Fiber gets lost during the “juicing” process, so if you drink a lot of fruit juice say, after a workout, you could find yourself in an irritable and sluggish way because you’re essentially experiencing a sugar crash.
Most coffee creamers contain trans-fats in the form of hydrogenated oil. This oil can raise cholesterol and has also been linked to poor memory in younger adults. Some coffee creamers also contain titanium dioxide, a chemical that’s frequently used in sunblock as a UV radiation blocker. No thanks! Instead, try half-and-half, almond milk, or just plain ol’ milk.
Before you reach for that chicken noodle or vegetable minestrone, do a double check. The canned soup in your cupboard might be loaded with sodium, and cream-based soups are often chockfull of fat. Check the label, and opt for low-sodium tomato and veggie-based broths when you can.
Sugar-free chewing gum is better for your teeth (for obvious reasons), but there’s actually another reason to rethink the chewing gum you buy! Even sugar-free gum can contain acidic flavorings that can cause dental erosion on your teeth. Ouch!
Sure, this vibrant fruit has high levels of Vitamin C, but did you know it can also help whiten your smile? The astringency in strawberries can act as a natural teeth whitener, helping to reduce tooth discoloration caused by coffee and other staining food and drink.
You’ve probably been adding chickpeas – also called garbanzo beans – to your salads for years. As it turns out, they are known to aid in melatonin production (a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle). They’ve also been proven to reduce inflammation and boost memory.
This is totally a shocker: tomatoes can help scars fade! They promote tissue growth and provide nutrients that can help cuts heal faster, too.
Do you dream of shiny, luscious locks of hair? Maybe it’s time to add sweet potatoes to your diet. These potatoes are full of Vitamin A and they can help produce healthy scalp oils that promote natural, rapid hair growth and shinier hair. That’s because sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a healthy compound that promotes hair growth.
You no doubt have this herb in your spice rack, but rosemary does much more than spruce up savory foods. It also helps rid the body of bacteria that causes body odor. The odor-fighting properties of rosemary are sometimes also used alongside antiperspirants as a topical solution, too.
If the W-nut isn’t a common item in your diet right now, you may want to reconsider. These healthy nuts can produce serotonin, a chemical that our brain releases associated with happiness. They also contain several rare antioxidants that are hard to come by in other foods.