oysterWhat would you do if you found out that eating something disgusting could improve your health? Would you do it? If you go by a study done at the Institute of Medical Education and Research in India, an upped intake of zinc within a day of the onset of cold symptoms reduces the length and severity of your snuffles.

You know what food has a lot of zinc? Oysters. Six medium-sized pearl-producers have a whopping 76 mg of zinc. For those keeping track at home, that's 513 percent of your recommended daily intake.

Just thinking about the texture of the mollusk going down my throat and the awkward crunch of the insides makes me shudder. But when comparing that grossness with less face-time with a box of Kleenex, you know what I say? I'll have mine with garlic and butter, please.

The whole concept got me to thinking, are there other equally as gross foods that have outstanding health benefits? And so ... I did some research:

1. Blood sausage: The name alone makes me cringe. Often referred to as black pudding, the casing is filled with cooked pork meat mixed with gelatin, beef blood, and tasty spices. Nothing caps off a good day at the office like some blood, right?

The benefit: What if I told you that this encased delight is rich in both iron and zinc, and relatively low in calories, especially when compared to other sausages? Upping your iron intake helps you sleep better, prevent fatigue, and treat chronic diseases like diabetes and arthritis. And in a 3.5-ounce serving of the puddin', diners receive more than 50 percent of their recommended daily iron intake.

2. Marmite: Been to the UK lately? Well if you have, you probably sampled this popular (but gag-worthy) paste. Made of concentrated yeast, the product smells wretched, is super salty to taste, and is an unattractive dark brown color.

The benefit: The spread is a huge source of vitamin B12 and 100 percent vegetarian. An increase of vitamin B12 in the diet helps maintain healthy red blood and nerve cells, as well as prevent anemia and improve brain function and cardiovascular health. A 4-gram serving of marmite has 45 percent of your recommended daily allowance of B12. Maybe you'll be thinking a little more clearly after this salty indulgence, no?

3. Liver: Liver and onions will forever make me think of dinnertime torture at my great grandmother's house. The smell was wretched, but the taste? I gag just thinking about it.

The benefit: The meat is a high, high source of iron. Your muscles, organs, and tissues all need iron to function properly. Chicken liver will give you 70 percent of your daily value for iron intake, the highest of any animal liver -- just under 13 grams for a 3 1/2-ounce serving.

Would you splurge on a gross food to improve your health?


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