Some foods have an unhealthy reputation, but with a bit of finesse there’s no reason you can’t enjoy them – occasionally.
If you’re on the chocolate, stick to the quality stuff: anything with more than 70% cocoa solids provides a hefty wallop of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. If you eat a tiny square before or after a meal, it can actually activate satiety hormones in the brain that trigger fullness faster. If it’s too bitter, add a tiny dash of salt to take the edge off (and add more minerals).
The health effects of resveratrol are almost certainly overstated – it’s unclear that there’s enough of the wonder-compound in your fruity red to actually do any good – but a recent research review suggests that there’s still something good in your glass. The data showed people who drink wine with food saw a 30% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. One glass a night will do it.
It’s been a medicinal mainstay for millennia, and a 2017 review of studies suggests there’s more than a placebo effect going on. Flavonoids in honey assist everything from gastrointestinal disease to neurological conditions – and might even fight mutating superbugs. Manuka is reputed to be the healthiest kind, although the jury’s out – but toss a teaspoonful on oats for a late-night treat.
Popcorn’s an excellent source of polyphenols and fibre – if you get the good stuff. A study from the University of Scranton in the US showed a high antioxidant content in naturally made popcorn, and – if you steer clear of the convenience kind – it’s also lower in calories than most after-dinner snacks. Choose a low-fat version and add basil, oregano or pepper flakes for a healthy, filling treat.
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