Most of the time, people think that they always have to stick to well-known healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and white meat to stay in shape. While those foods can certainly be a significant part of a healthy diet, you may be surprised to learn that you can add many more foods to a healthy balanced diet.
While your weight isn’t the gold standard of health, medical practitioners and life insurance providers use weight charts to gauge your wellness. Insurance companies, in particular, often use your weight as part of their risk calculation, so if you’re in a healthy weight class, you’ll qualify for lower insurance premiums.
We’ll list five foods that don't get enough credit for combining great taste and body benefits simultaneously and how adding them to your diet can help you save money on medical bills and insurance costs.
5 Surprising Foods to Include in a Healthy Diet
According to health professionals in the past, some of the food listed below has been controversial, but when eaten in moderation, studies indicate they have a positive impact on immunity and overall health.
#1 – Health Benefits of Coffee
Finding out that coffee has health benefits is good news for you if you’re a coffee lover. But before you go crazy and drink 10 cups a day, remember that moderation is critical with everything in life, and coffee is no exception.
Coffee contains antioxidants that help revitalize your cells, making you look younger and lowering your cancer risk. Antioxidants aren’t the only benefits, though. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer's.
Scientists haven’t fully uncovered how coffee keeps people healthy, but studies indicate the connection.
If you drink too much, though, you could increase your blood pressure and heart rate and have a hard time falling asleep.
#2 – Potatoes Can Help You Eat Less
Potatoes get a bad rap for being starchy. But the starch they contain is known as resistant starch, which, when eaten, decreases your blood sugar and, as a result, lowers your risk of diabetes. And while a steady diet of french fries probably has more risks than benefits, potatoes without accompanying deep-fried oil have many health benefits.
In addition to the resistant starch, potatoes contain essential vitamins and antioxidants that help lower cancer and heart disease risks. Since potatoes are so filling, you may consume fewer calories in a meal, and fewer calories lead to lower weight.
Much of the vitamins and health benefits are contained in a potato’s peeling, so be sparing when you peel potatoes and try to leave the skins on whenever possible.
#3 – Antioxidants in Chocolate Improve Health
If the discovery that coffee is healthy was good news, proving that chocolate is good for you is great news.
Like many other healthy foods that should be included in your diet, chocolate contains a high level of antioxidants, including vitamin E. The darker the chocolate and the less sugar added, the more powerful the health benefits will be.
But dark chocolate with little or no sweetener isn’t very enjoyable to eat. Try to find a balance between the health benefits of dark chocolate and the sweetness of milk chocolate.
Chocolate is loaded with minerals, especially iron. If you deal with or want to avoid anemia, make dark chocolate part of your diet every day.
#4 – Iron and Protein Found in Red Meat Support Strength
For years, health experts recommended a diet void of red meat and full of poultry and vegetables. While chicken and broccoli have many health benefits, it turns out that red meat does, too.
In fact, red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you could eat by calories. Red meat is a heme source of iron, and your body knows how to process and use heme iron, so if you struggle with anemia, eating a diet with red meat will help you overcome it. Also, if you’re recovering from an injury, the iron in red meat can help you regain your strength faster.
Meat is also an excellent source of vitamin B6, which helps build your immune system so you can fight off infection and stay in optimal health.
Choosing low-fat cuts of meat will help you experience the benefits of red meat without offsetting them with the negatives of the extra fat consumption.
#5 – Cheese Helps Build Strong Bones
Cheese contains many healthy fats, calcium, and protein. Protein is essential to building strong muscles and healthy tissue. Strong bodies have the reserves needed for a robust immune system to do its job.
Calcium helps keep your bones strong, and your body can use the calcium in cheese to strengthen your skeletal structure. In addition, the healthy fats in cheese can help improve your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease.
So, the next time you’re invited to a wine and cheese party, you can accept the invitation guilt-free, knowing that balanced consumption of cheese will help support a healthy lifestyle.
The Relationship Between Health and Life Insurance
Insurance companies base premiums on risk. They’re a business, and if they don’t make money, they can’t stay in business, so they’re very good at analyzing risk and charging you appropriately to reflect your risk.
Car insurance companies bet on you not getting in an accident. The higher the chance they believe you’ll file a claim, the higher your premiums.
Life insurance companies follow similar reasoning, except they’re betting on you not dying. You may think that sounds bad, but it’s much better than them betting on you dying. The higher the risk that you’re going to die and they’ll have to pay benefits, the higher your premiums will be.
To purchase a term life insurance policy, the insurance company usually requires a health examination. People with low cholesterol, healthy weights, and low-risk family history are all statistically more likely to live beyond the limits of their term policy.
When that happens, the insurance company keeps all the premiums paid and doesn’t lose any money paying death benefits.
That’s why insurance companies use weight charts and other standards when setting premiums. They’re analyzing your risk based on standardized information.
Benefits of Healthy Foods
Eating the surprisingly healthy foods listed above and other recognized healthy foods, especially when combined with a fitness plan, will help you achieve better health, which could help you become eligible for lower life insurance premiums.
When you can eat healthily and enjoy what you’re eating, it’s easier to maintain a commitment to a healthy diet than trying to force yourself to eat healthy foods you don’t care for.
Hopefully, your healthy habits will pay off in a better quality of life and lower insurance premiums.
Melanie Musson writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, LifeInsurancePost.com. She’s passionate about healthy living and helping others understand how their health affects their life insurance eligibility and premiums.