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How Being a Foodie Can Help You Lose Weight

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Quiz: What's the strangest food you've ever eaten? While your kimchi might make those around you wrinkle their noses, that stinky fridge could help you lose weight, according to a new study from the Cornell Food Lab, which found that adventurous eaters weighed less and were more healthy than their pickier counterparts.

Researchers asked over 500 American women about their diet, exercise, and health habits and found that those who had eaten the widest variety of uncommon foods—including seitan, beef tongue, rabbit, polenta, and kimchi—also rated themselves as healthier eaters, more physically active, and more concerned with the healthfulness of their food than people who stuck to "normal" grub.

Exactly how eating squid crackers or snake meat can be beneficial to your health isn't known, but researchers think it has more to do with being open to a wide variety of foods than the benefits of any one food. Exploring healthy foods you may not have grown up with exposes you to more nutrients and good-for-you ingredients, which helps you lose weight and be more aware of food choices. Lead author Lara Latimer, Ph.D., formerly at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and now at the University of Texas added that the foodies also reported being much more likely to have friends over for dinner—another healthy habit that's been linked in previous research with lower weight.

"Promoting adventurous eating may provide a way for people, especially women, to lose or maintain weight without feeling restricted by a strict diet," said study co-author Brian Wansink, Ph.D., in a press release. He added that changes don't have to be huge to be good for you. If you naturally don't like "weird" foods, change just one ingredient. "Instead of sticking with the same boring salad, start by adding something new," Wansink said. "It could kick start a more novel, fun, and healthy life of food adventure."

For inspiration, check out our list of the best ways to use the weirdest farmers' market veggies or click through these healthy cooking adventure trips!

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