Guilty Pleasures That Can Be Good for Your Health

The ancient Greek poet Hesiod once said, “Observe due measure; moderation is the best in all things.”  This is wise advice to live by because it allows you to have your cake and eat it too. While it’s true that moderation is the key to enjoying the sweet things in life, you might be surprised about some guilty pleasures that are actually good for your health. Read on for some indulgences that are commonly considered unhealthy, yet in moderation, they may provide benefits to your health.

Bring on the Chocolate: Okay, eating a dozen Hershey chocolate bars a day isn’t going to win you any best health of the year awards. However, studies have shown that eating dark chocolate can render great health perks. For example, dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, which strengthens your immune system.  Furthermore, nibbling on organic dark chocolate on special occasions is known to reduce high blood pressure and potentially reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Alcoholic Tonic: Drinking alcohol is a polarizing topic when it comes to its effects on health. Overconsumption of alcohol is known to cause liver dysfunction and a whole slew of health problems. Nevertheless, consumed in moderation, some alcohol can be a boon to your wellbeing.  One glass of wine a day can regulate blood sugar, keep your heart healthy, and even lower bad cholesterol.  Resist the urge to overdo it, and just stick to an occasional glass to reap beneficial health advantages with wine.

Carbohydrates Aren’t Always the Enemy: The rage over low-carb, paleo, and keto diets might have you believing that carbs are the ultimate nemesis to having a slim figure or attaining optimal health. The truth is, complex carbohydrates are an essential part of a well-balanced diet.  It may be true that you should probably avoid simple carbohydrates found in processed white bread, sugary foods, or pasta, but other carbs from sweet potatoes or whole grains lend a wealth of health benefits. For instance, complex carbs found in brown rice, legumes, or starchy veggies such as corn can improve brain function, strengthen heart muscles, and aid digestion.

Caffeine Can Be Cool: The arguments about how beneficial coffee or black tea is for a body still rages in various health-conscious discussion forums.  As with most beverages and foods, there are two sides to the story. In moderation, drinks such as iced coffee or caffeinated chai lattes can protect your body against type two diabetes, stimulate brain function, reduce the risk of colon cancer and even guard against liver disorders. While it’s ill-advised to drink a tub of coffee every day, caffeinated beverages can yield significant benefits to overall health in measured amounts.

Reconsider Red Meat: A vegetarian diet is indeed one of the best alternatives to increasing overall health. Nevertheless, there are measurable merits to eating red meat. An occasional juicy steak can provide essential minerals such as iron and nutrients that bolster the body. Red meat is also a plentiful source of vitamin B12 which increases energy, providing you the vitality you need to get through a demanding workday. Furthermore, red meat is easily absorbed and is rich in fiber, so it can be suitable for the digestive system while making you feel full and satisfied.

Don’t Deny the Dairy:  This is yet another subject of debate among dieticians and nutritionists. But studies strongly conclude that consuming dairy products such as milk and cheese can provide essential calcium intake, building strong bones and healthy teeth.  If you’re lactose intolerant, then dairy is obviously not the way to go. However, if you’re looking to increase muscle tone, strengthen your hair and nails, or give your skin a healthy glow, have a glass of milk a few times a week, or occasionally indulge in a wedge of cheese.

Final Thoughts on So-Called Bad Foods for Your Health

When you’re thinking about beverages or foods that are healthy for you, don’t be too quick to throw away every indulgence on your menu.  Dieting is hard enough without having to face restrictions from your favorite foods.  Medical studies show that almost everything has a smidgeon of health benefits. The key is moderation.  So after you consult with your physician, consider indulging (in moderation) a bit of chocolate, carbs, or wine.  Variety is the spice of life and may keep you healthy if you splurge in small ways.