Many nutritious foods come in appealing packages, such as the vibrant colors of juicy grapes, raspberries, and strawberries. They may be pleasingly crunchy, like a handful of protein-rich almonds, walnuts, or pecans. However, not all foods that are good for you are as tempting as a bowl of heart-healthy oatmeal sprinkled with fresh fruit, and may not have the instant appeal of a leafy green salad topped with crunchy carrots, cucumber, and chickpeas. In fact, some healthy foods can seem downright nasty. Before you turn up your nose at the following slimy, smelly, or unappetizing foods, consider the benefits they may provide to your health.
11. Blood Sausage
Just like it sounds, this culinary delight is made from pig’s blood. This food item is also known as black pudding. However, it bears no resemblance to the creamy, chocolaty dessert that your mom packed in your lunch box. Blood sausage is made by combining pig’s blood with oatmeal, encasing it, and boiling or frying it into a sausage. As you can imagine, blood is high in iron. One serving of blood sausage contains 40% of the recommended dietary allowance of iron. Also, the oatmeal provides fiber necessary for healthy digestion. If you can stomach the idea of ingesting pig’s blood, this may be a healthy option for your dinner table.
10. Bone Marrow
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue in the center of bones that produces blood cells and platelets. Red marrow is the marrow that produces red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Yellow marrow is composed of fat. Many cultures consider bone marrow a delicacy. The marrow can be sucked or scraped from the femur of a cow. It can also be used as a spread or boiled into a broth. The protein in bone marrow is in the form of collagen, which is beneficial for joint health. Bone marrow also contains omega-3 fatty acids and iron.
9. Chia Seeds
These little seeds look innocuous enough in the package, but when mixed with liquids they expand and take on a slimy consistency that some find tough to swallow. If you can get past the gelatinous texture of these seeds, you can reap many health benefits. Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and phosphorus. One tablespoon of these seeds provides 16% of your required daily dietary fiber. They can be sprinkled on cereal, added to baked goods, or used as an egg replacement in baking.
8. Cow’s Heart
Beef heart is rich in iron, packed with vitamin B12, and surprisingly low in fat. Furthermore, it is much less expensive than other cuts of beef. There is a drawback to consuming this organ, other than the creepy idea of ingesting an animal’s heart. Beef heart is high in cholesterol, so it should be avoided by those with high cholesterol levels. For the rest of us, putting aside our squeamishness and consuming moderate amounts of beef heart can have positive effects on our health.
This tangy relative of yogurt is a fermented milk drink made with yeast and bacteria cultures. This sour-tasting, gelatinous beverage contains probiotics, calcium, and potassium. Possible health benefits of consuming this drink are better blood sugar control, lowered cholesterol, and increased lactose tolerance. The bacteria present in kefir break down much of the lactose in milk, which improves digestibility for those who are lactose intolerant.Related: 9 Steps to Improve Your Cholesterol Without Statins
This spicy dish is made by fermenting cabbage and other vegetables with lactic acid bacteria. Korean red pepper is added to give kimchi its distinct reddish-orange color and spicy flavor. If you are able to overcome an aversion to the strong odor of this concoction, you can enjoy its health benefits. While low in calories, kimchi is high in vitamins A, B, C, and K. It also contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The lactic acid bacteria in kimchi may aid in cancer prevention, weight loss, gastrointestinal health, and immune function.
If you spent any part of your childhood wrinkling your nose at a plate of liver and onions, you’ve probably heard that it is good for you. The liver is another organ meat that provides many nutrients, if you are able to get over the idea of eating an organ. The liver is rich in protein needed to build and repair tissues. It contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as all of the B vitamins. It is a good source of the iron we need to produce healthy red blood cells.
You may consider these slimy sea creatures to be your favorite aphrodisiac. Conversely, you are just as likely to regard them as the grossest items to appear on a restaurant menu. Consumed raw, cooked, or simmered in a pot of stew, these little gems are packed with nutrients. They are low-fat, low-calorie, and chock full of protein. They also contain vitamins A, C, E, and B12 as well as zinc, iron, and calcium. The iron content of oysters helps your body manufacture the red blood cells you need to transport oxygen to your body’s cells. They also raise your levels of good cholesterol while lowering your levels of bad cholesterol.Related: 20 Foods That Help Lower Cholesterol
3. Raw Eggs
Who can forget the scene from the movie Rocky in which the title character consumes a glass full of raw eggs before his morning workout? Raw eggs contain the same nutrients as their scrambled or hard-boiled counterparts. They are high in essential amino acids, vitamins A, B2, B5, B12, selenium, and phosphorus. If choking down a glassful of slimy raw eggs doesn’t seem appetizing, go ahead and cook them. This will decrease the likelihood of Salmonella poisoning, and also ensures the protein of the eggs is well absorbed.
These smelly little fish are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids that are touted for their heart benefits. They are also good sources of vitamin B12, which is helpful for a strong nervous system, red blood cell formation, and DNA synthesis. The vitamin D contained in sardines is critical for the formation of strong teeth and bones. Sardines are a rich source of calcium, which is helpful for those who are lactose intolerant or unable to consume dairy products.
When considering what to make for dinner, the lining of a cow stomach probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Blanket tripe comes from the lining of the first stomach of a cow or ox. Honeycomb tripe is prepared from the lining of the animal’s second stomach. This delicacy is prepared by boiling the stomach to removing the lining. Then, the lining is bleached, the fat is trimmed off, and it is and simmered for several hours. Tripe is low in fat, but the high cholesterol content means it should be enjoyed in moderation. If you can “stomach” it, tripe provides nutrients such as protein, selenium, vitamin B12, and zinc.Related: The 10 Dirtiest Foods You’re Eating