8 Foods That Are Surprisingly Healthy

Grocery shopping in the summer months is about as good as it can get. The produce department is overflowing with seasonal offerings and tasty options. From avocado to zucchini, bananas to yams, just about every type of fruit and vegetable is readily available and more or less reasonably priced.

And while a rainbow of colors is within reach, many shoppers shy away from certain varieties and versions, thinking them devoid of nutrients or health benefits whatsoever (iceberg lettuce, anyone?). Here, we discuss which grocery store finds really do have a place in your cart, and which grocery store myths should be left behind for good.

PLUS: The Ultimate Supermarket Shopping Guide

Iceberg Lettuce
Sure, it's not as nutrient-rich as romaine or spinach (really, what food is?), but this seemingly ubiquitous head of lettuce still deserves a place in your cart. For one thing, it adds fiber to your plate without driving up your grocery bill. It is also very low in calories (one cup chopped contains only 8 calories) and rich in water (96 percent of the weight is water), helping to rehydrate you in the summer months. Finally, iceberg lettuce is an option your entire family will eat, which means that everyone at the table will take in just a bit more folate, iron and potassium by the time the meal is done.

More: Which Are the Best Leafy Greens?

Potatoes

Did you know that the humble potato (the exact same one you pass up in the grocery, even though it's extremely versatile, a great source of complex carbohydrate and relatively inexpensive) is one of the top sources of potassium in the American diet? As a runner, you could likely benefit from more potassium since this critical electrolyte helps maintain fluid balance and influences muscle contractions. The "Adequate Intake" recommendation for potassium is 4,700 milligrams each day. A medium baked potato supplies 926 milligrams, a cup of au gratin potatoes supplies 970 milligrams, and a cup of homemade mashed potatoes can supply up to 684 milligrams. See? Told you it was a versatile.

More: Why the Sodium-Potassium Balance Is Critical

OJ

We don't usually recommend heavy fruit juice consumption, but if it's 100 percent juice and takes the place of soda pop or Kool-Aid, then we're all for it. Many consumers have started choosing exotic fruit blends over orange juice for varied reasons. But if you're on a tight budget or just looking to get back to your roots, then look no further than Florida's finest. Obviously oranges offer a wallop of vitamin C, which is critical for muscle and collagen repair (handy, if you are fighting off an injury or healing a wound). They also contain folate, which helps produce and maintain cells, and if you grab a carton of fortified orange juice, you can also boost your intake of calcium and vitamin D.

PLUS: Best Drinks for Your Workouts

Cauliflower

Sure, it's not as brightly colored as some of the other members of the cruciferous family, but cauliflower packs a punch when it comes to disease-fighting and immune-boosting capabilities. It's packed with phytonutrients, as well as the essential nutrients, vitamin A and C and folic acid. Enjoy cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies raw or parboiled; too much heat can destroy some of the vitamins and phytochemicals that make these options nutritional powerhouses.

More: Get (Most Of) Your Vitamins From Real Food

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