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Evidence Based

15 Health Foods That Taste Better Than Junk Foods

Some people believe that healthy foods are tasteless and boring.

However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Here are 15 health foods that taste even better than the most commonly consumed junk foods.

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1. Strawberries

Strawberries are exceptionally juicy and have a sweet, delicious flavor.

They are an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese, folate and potassium, as well as various antioxidants and plant compounds.

One cup of strawberries contains 3 grams of fiber and as little as 46 calories.

Eating strawberries has been linked to improved heart health, better blood sugar control and cancer prevention (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

If you don't like them plain, try dipping the tip of the berry in some melted dark chocolate.

Bottom line: Strawberries are low in calories and contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have been linked to improved heart health, better blood sugar control and cancer prevention.

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2. Blueberries

Blueberries are colorful and nutrient-rich with a sweet flavor.

One cup of blueberries contains only 84 calories, but provides 4 grams of fiber.

It also contains high amounts of many vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.

Blueberries are an antioxidant superfood. They may protect against oxidative damage and chronic diseases, and have also been shown to improve memory in older adults (6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

They can be enjoyed either fresh or frozen, and I find them especially delicious mixed with either yogurt or full-fat cream.

Bottom line: Blueberries are high in fiber and nutrients, but low in calories. They are an antioxidant superfood that may protect the body against oxidative damage and improve memory in older adults.
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3. Dark Chocolate

Many studies have shown that dark chocolate is incredibly healthy, and may reduce your risk of several diseases.

Dark chocolate is loaded with fiber and antioxidants, as well as minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese ( 11).

Plant compounds in dark chocolate have been shown to lower blood pressure, protect against heart disease, improve brain function and protect the skin against the sun's harmful UV-rays (12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17).

To make the most of the health benefits, it is recommended to eat dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70–85% or higher.

A piece of dark chocolate is especially delicious when enjoyed with a good cup of coffee.

Bottom line: Dark chocolate contains high amounts of fiber, antioxidants and minerals. It may reduce the risk of heart disease, improve brain function and protect the skin from the sun.

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4. Almonds

Almonds are the ultimate crunchy treat. They contain heart-healthy fats, are very nutritious and require no preparation.

Almonds are packed with antioxidants. They also provide large amounts of fiber, protein and several vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.

Almonds may lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reduce the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol. All of these are risk factors for heart disease (18, 19, 20, 21).

They are also very filling. Despite being high in fat and calories, one study showed that almonds increased weight loss by as much as 62% when part of a weight loss diet (22, 23, 24).

If you are craving something sweet, try putting 2–3 almonds inside one date for an incredibly tasty treat.

Bottom line: Almonds contain heart-healthy fats and are packed with fiber, protein, and other nutrients. They are a satisfying food that may help with weight loss and reduce the risk of heart disease.
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5. Pistachios

These little crunchy and salty nuts are absolutely mouthwatering.

Pistachios contain large amounts of heart-healthy fats, high-quality protein and a good amount of fiber.

They are also good sources of B-vitamins, phosphorus, potassium and iron.

As a source of powerful antioxidants, pistachios have been linked with health benefits such as improved blood fats, decreased oxidized LDL-cholesterol, decreased inflammation and reduced blood sugar levels (25, 26, 27).

Pistachios are very filling. When consumed in moderation, pistachios have been shown to help with weight maintenance (28, 29).

Just make sure not to eat too many of these at one time, as pistachios are very high in calories. A single cup of pistachios may contain up to 700 calories.

Bottom line: Pistachios contain heart-healthy fats, protein and fiber, as well as several vitamins and minerals. They are very filling and have been linked with many health benefits.
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6. Cherries

These deep red, beautiful berries are a delicious and healthy snack.

Cherries are low in calories, but high in various nutrients like fiber and vitamin C.

They also contain many antioxidants and plant compounds.

Cherries contain nutrients that may protect against diseases such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's (30).

Bottom line: Cherries are a low-calorie snack with large amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and plant compounds. They have been linked with a reduced risk of several diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
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7. Mangoes

Mangoes are a tropical fruit containing soluble fiber and a wide range of antioxidants, as well as high amounts of vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C.

They are relatively low in calories and have glycemic index values ranging from low to medium, which means that they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels.

Mangoes are high in plant compounds and antioxidants, and may contribute to a reduced risk of oxidative damage and many chronic diseases, such as cancers (31).

Fresh mangoes are simply delicious, and many people like to add them to breakfast porridges, smoothies or yogurt.

Bottom line: Mangoes are a relatively low-calorie fruit with high amounts of soluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C. They may reduce the risk of oxidative damage in the body.

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8. Cheese

Cheese is one of the most delicious foods you can find.

It is highly nutritious as well as rich in several vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Cheese and other dairy products are linked with improved bone health, and may be valuable in the battle against osteoporosis, a disease characterized by bone loss and an increased risk of fractures (32, 33).

There are many types of cheese, but all of them consist mainly of protein and fat. Most varieties are relatively high in calories.

Cheese is high in protein, which may promote lower blood pressure and increased absorption of minerals (34, 35, 36).

It also contains a fatty acid called CLA, which is linked to several health benefits and may promote weight loss in overweight individuals (37, 38, 39).

In addition to all the health benefits, cheese is simply very tasty and filling.

Bottom line: Cheese is highly nutritious and rich in several vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin B12. It contains high-quality protein and fat, both of which are linked with several health benefits.
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9. Avocados

Avocados are an unusual fatty fruit with a smooth and creamy texture.

Avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber.

They are also a great source of B-vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.

Eating avocados is very beneficial for heart health, as it may reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides up to 22%, while raising the "good" HDL cholesterol (40, 41).

Avocados are also very filling and do not raise blood sugar levels very much, all of which make them a weight loss friendly food.

If you don't like your avocado plain, try adding some salt and pepper.

If that doesn't do the trick, you can also try creating an avocado "chocolate pudding" in your blender:

  • One small avocado.
  • Half a banana.
  • One tablespoon of coconut oil.
  • Two tablespoons of dark cocoa.
Just be aware that this pudding is rather high in calories, and should perhaps only be made on special occasions.

Bottom line: Avocados are very rich in monounsaturated fat and fiber, and also contain several vitamins and minerals. They are very filling and may reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

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10. Popcorn

Not many people know that popcorn is actually a whole grain.

It is relatively low in calories and contains high amounts of fiber (42).

Whole grains may have numerous health benefits, including improved digestion and reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes (43, 44).

Whole grains may also be useful for weight loss, and may help with weight maintenance (45, 46).

Just make sure to avoid the unhealthy popcorn varieties that are loaded with refined oils.

Air-popped popcorn or popcorn that you prepare yourself in a pan are the healthiest options. Try adding some salt, butter, dark chocolate sprinkles or cinnamon for a different flavor.

Bottom line: Popcorn is a whole-grain food that is high in fiber and relatively low in calories. It may improve digestion and reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

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11. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are very nutritious, high in fiber and have a deliciously sweet taste.

They are a great source of vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and contain decent amounts of vitamin C, as well as other vitamins and minerals.

Sweet potatoes also contain several antioxidants and may reduce oxidative damage in the body, potentially helping to reduce the risk of cancer. One white variety may also help moderate blood sugar levels (47, 48).

Whether they're boiled, baked or fried, sweet potatoes taste great. They are especially tasty with some sour cream or salted butter.

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes are very nutritious and contain high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C. They may reduce oxidative damage in the body, potentially reducing the risk of cancer.
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12. Full-Fat Cream

High-fat foods have been making a comeback since recent studies show that saturated fat consumption is not linked to heart disease (49, 50, 51).

Eating high-fat dairy, such as full-fat cream, has actually been linked with less central obesity, which is the harmful belly fat (52).

Observational studies have also shown that consumption of full-fat dairy is linked with a reduced risk of weight gain and colon cancer (53, 54).

However, full-fat cream should not be eaten in large quantities as it is very high in calories.

Full-fat cream is ideal to splash in your coffee or top off your yogurt, and tastes great mixed with some fresh berries.

Bottom line: High-fat dairy has been linked with less belly fat and a reduced risk of weight gain and colon cancer. However, full-fat cream is very high in calories and should not be consumed in large amounts.

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13. Yogurt

Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that is both delicious and healthy.

It contains high-quality proteins and fats, as well as calcium and several vitamins.

Consumption of yogurt has been associated with both improved bone health and reduced blood pressure (55, 56).

Some yogurt contains active cultures of beneficial bacteria. This is called probiotic yogurt.

These probiotic bacteria are linked with many health benefits such as an enhanced immune system, lower cholesterol, improved digestion and synthesis of various B- and K-vitamins in the digestive system (57, 58, 59, 60, 61).

However, make sure to avoid the yogurt varieties that are filled with added sugar. Instead, buy natural yogurt and add some fruit, berries or muesli for more flavor and a crunchy texture.

Bottom line: Yogurt is high in protein, fat and calcium. It may improve bone health and reduce blood pressure. Probiotic yogurt may enhance the immune system and promote synthesis of B- and K-vitamins in the digestive system.

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14. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a great source of unsaturated fatty acids, protein and fiber.

It is also an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals such as B-vitamins, copper, manganese, vitamin E, phosphorus and magnesium.

Peanuts are also very rich in antioxidants, even more than some fruits ( 62).

Peanuts are very filling, and, despite being high in fat and calories, are not linked with weight gain. In fact, peanut consumption is linked to a reduced risk of obesity (63, 64, 65, 66).

However, some people find it hard not to eat too much peanut butter at a time. Try to consume moderate portions to avoid excess calorie intake. If you tend to binge on peanut butter, then you should probably avoid it.

Also, make sure to choose varieties without added sugar or oils. The ingredient list should only include peanuts and a small amount of salt.

Try adding some peanut butter on top of apple slices, celery or a banana for a tasty snack.

Bottom line: Peanut butter is rich in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is very filling and may help to prevent weight gain when eaten in moderation.
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15. Watermelon

Watermelons are packed with water, nutrients and vitamins.

They are also low in calories and contain powerful plant compounds like lycopene and citrulline.

Watermelons and watermelon juice may lower blood pressure, increase insulin sensitivity and reduce muscle soreness after exercise (67, 68, 69, 70).

Because of their water and fiber content, they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels.

Watermelons are incredibly refreshing, and may just be the ultimate snack on a hot summer day.

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Take Home Message

The next time you're craving something tasty, opt for one of the super healthy foods on the list above.

Not only are they even more delicious than most junk foods, they will also improve your health and make you feel good about what you're eating.

An evidence-based article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.
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