10 surprisingly healthy yummy foods

After reading about how much trans fat is in Special K’s entire line of meal replacement foods, I started pondering the weird switcheroo that is going on behind the scenes. It’s like we’re living in a science fiction movie, where the supposed obesity epidemic is driving us to the diet food aisles, where we’re buying supposed healthy foods that are actually loaded with garbage. Meanwhile, we’re avoiding so-called unhealthy foods or “diet busters,” even though they are actually loaded with real nutrition. Pardon me for a moment while I go all Nutritional Norma Rae and remind you of some non-traditional healthy good eats.

  • Oysters. Mmmm, how much do I love oysters? SO MUCH. Creamy and meaty and tasting of the sea, it’s the fastest way to make my mouth happy, but just one oyster provides your daily recommended amount of zinc, a trace element that’s necessary for a lot of stuff, including conception. Missing out on your zinc totally impairs your ovulation and his semen count, which might be the reason that oysters got labeled as a mood enhancer in the porny kind of way.
  • Sauerkraut. Loaded up with Vitamin C and K and loads of iron, this tasty veg is also a powerhouse when it comes to the probiotics. Sure, it doesn’t have as much cachet as matcha or kambucha or even a cup of yogurt, but unlike those, sauerkraut packs a punch with fiber too. I know, it smells, but so does Pecorino Romano and I don’t see you getting squeamish about that. You can embrace your inner Fraulein and make your own kraut with this easy recipe (caution: involves the word “scum”).
  • King Crab. High in protein, low in fat and loaded with zinc, what’s not to love? Search out King Crab from the U.S. rather than the high-mercury imported stuff. Get cracking!
  • Artichokes. It wasn’t until I watched the Two Fat Ladies show me how to clean an artichoke that I had the courage to try one. Granted, cleaning and steaming a fresh one is kind of the opposite of “no fuss” but the results? Totally worth it. A single artichoke has more bone-loving magnesium and potassium than any other veg, and the leaves are stacked with Vitamin C and those crazy polyphenols and flavonoids that the scientists love to talk about. What does this mean for you? Cancer-fighting and stroke prevention, mostly, with a little common cold-busting on the side, but do you really care when it tastes so good? Sauté some artichoke hearts with a little garlic, red pepper flakes and a splash of olive oil and your family will be amazed at how fancy you are.
  • Guacamole. Yes, avocados are full of fat, but most of it is the good kind of fat that makes your heart all happy, plus they’re loaded with Vitamin E and potassium, plus the tomatoes are full of lycopene and the lime kicks up the absorption factor of those nutrients. Some guacamoles in stores contain sour cream, but trust me, it’s more delicious and fresh-tasting without it. The best part? Replace just about anything you’d spread on a sandwich with guacamole and suddenly, you’re all gourmet and crap. I know! Best trick ever!
  • Peanut Butter and other nut butters. High in monounsaturated fat and protein, nut butters are delicious, filling and turn a blop of jelly into an instant nostalgia break. Walnuts have those omega-3s, too. But seriously, do I need to really twist your arm to eat the PB with or without the J? I didn’t think so.
  • Sushi. Maybe this isn’t so surprising. After all, loads of omega-3s, iron, and zinc, sashimi is an automatic for ladies who lunch. Of course, our Americanization of the lean Japanese fare means that we’ve deepfried it (spider rolls), loaded it with mayonnaise (some California rolls) and sugar (that sauce on Unagi is loaded with corn syrup), but you can never feel badly about a nice chunk of toro or even a tekka maki made with brown rice, or even carb-free pseudosushi.
  • s—ake Mushrooms. I always used to think of mushrooms as only a flavor/texture element, because they have almost no calories and very little nutritional benefits, but that’s white mushrooms. It turns out that mushrooms are as nutritionally diverse as the different types of cereal in the grocery store. s—akes are not only delicious, but loaded with Vitamin D, anti-oxidants and selenium, a crucial element in lowering cholesterol and fighting cancer, and of course, totally swapable in all your favorite recipes.
  • Bananas. Oy vey, these phallic fruits get a bad diet rap, mostly because one large banana counts as two servings of fruit. Bananas are indeed calorie-dense, due to their low water content, but even a giant banana has fewer calories than a single Pop Tart. Bananas also boost the nervous system, kick up the metabolism and help the body make the most of its protein. Can one of those 100 calorie packets of crackers do that? I thought not.
  • Butter. Hoookay, don’t get too excited! Actually, the surprisingly healthy butter is the kind that is organic and from cows that graze in pastures, so their butter contains “high levels of conjugated linoleic acid, a substance that has been shown to improve a number of metabolic factors, including insulin resistance and cholesterol.” And of course, super fancy organic butter is still butter, but it’s better for you than regular butter or trans-fat loaded margarine.