Junk Foods That Are Good For You!

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on August 11, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog

It seems that not all junk food is bad for you; there are some junk foods that are actually good for you, at least according to scientific research.

Red Wine

The mostly commonly known ‘healthy’ junk food is Red Wine. Researchers conducted a study, which was published in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, in which one of the main ingredients in red wine was examined. This ingredient, known as Resveratrol, increases HDL cholesterol and prevents blood clotting. It also reduces inflammation and improves blood circulation around the heart. Resveratrol can be found in both the seeds and the skins of grapes.

Red wine also contains flavonoids and antioxidants as well. The antioxidants help in preventing heart disease and cancer, whilst the flavonoids help in preventing the formation of blood clots and plaques build up in the arteries.

Dark Chocolate

Although the health benefits of dark chocolate have been touted for years, it was not until 2003 when a new report emerged in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which clearly defined the benefits.

For starters, the high amounts of antioxidants in dark chocolate have been proven to lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Dark chocolate also encourages endorphin production in the body. It also contains serotonin, a natural mood enhancer, which, in turn, works as an aphrodisiac as well.

These benefits only exist if you consume at least 100 grams of dark chocolate per day. However, to be considered truly ‘dark’, the chocolate must contain a minimum of 65% cacao. In fact, the more cacao that is in the chocolate, the more benefits exist.

Be forewarned, in order to reap the full benefits of dark chocolate, you will need to eat roughly a quarter of a pound of dark chocolate that has a cocoa percentage of 65% or more.


Another alcoholic beverage that is good for you is Guinness. Researchers at The University of Wisconsin claim that drinking just one pint of this dark and thick beer can be the equivalent of taking a low dose of aspirin in order to improve blood circulation, thereby lowering any risk of blood clots forming or heart attacks occurring.

Apparently, Guinness contains antioxidant compounds that are quite similar in nature to those commonly found in fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants work to improve a person’s health by slowing down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on their artery walls.

Cheese Whiz

In 1992, a study was published in The Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, indicating that eating Cheese Whiz was good for you. Why? Because Cheese Whiz, like other processed cheeses, dairy and meat products, contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). In fact, this study revealed that processed cheeses, such as Cheese Whiz, actually contained more Conjugated Linoleic Acid than any type of natural cheese, such as gouda. Not only does the Conjugated Linoleic Acid work as an effective antioxidant, but CLA also has certain anti carcinogenic properties too.

Blue M&M;’s

M&M;’s are a classic American candy. But, new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center may be set to prove that this candy is actually good for you – at least the blue ones. This research indicated that the blue dye was quite effective in speeding up the recovery process for rats who had suffered spinal cord injuries.

Another study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, states that an artificial dye that has the same chemical characteristics as the blue dye that is used to make the blue M&M;’s, may be the key in treating spinal cord injuries.

Within approximately 15 minutes of suffering a paralyzing injury, the blue dye compound, called Brilliant Blue G, was injected into the veins of rats.

Surprisingly, those rates who had been administered the Brilliant Blue G compound, became blue momentarily before regaining their ability to walk, although a few rats did have a limp. On the other hand, those rats that did not receive the Brilliant Blue G compound intravenously, made a slower recovery.

The research utilized an earlier finding that demonstrated that adenosine triphosphate, a chemical designed to keep the cells of the body alive and well, would immediately saturate the area surrounding a spinal cord injury, thereby killing off the surrounding good cells that enable a person to move.

However, when the Brilliant Blue G compound was injected, it immediately halted the adenosine triphosphat’s effects.

Director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the co-author of the study, Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, explained that:

“They are actually doing something that the other colors do not.”

All the more reason to eat M&M;’s!

Photo Credit: jswieringa

Read also: 6 Tips On How To Cut Your Medical Costs

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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