Unexpected Health Benefits From Eating Ice Cream

Is there anything more delicious than the nights you get to put on your coziest sweatpants and curl up on the couch with a bowl of your favorite ice cream? In a perfect world, a heaping mound of ice cream would be considered a balanced and healthy meal, and kale would be the number one cause of weight gain. But alas, a perfect world it is not. Instead, we are constantly inundated with the unfortunate information that sugary snacks can take a toll on our health. But what if we were to tell you that there are some real health benefits to be gained from indulging in one of the world's favorite sweet treats?

Naturally, any of the health benefits ice cream has to offer should be considered alongside its drawbacks. Healthline details how ice cream is high in added sugars and calories, noting that many brands contain 12-24 grams of added sugar per half a cup. That means a single serving puts you well on your way toward the daily recommended limit of 50 grams of sugar for a 2,000 calorie diet. Nonetheless, to say that ice cream is totally void of nutrition would be incorrect, and leaning into that fact just feels right. Keep reading for the scoop on the unexpected health benefits of ice cream.

Benefits of ice cream

Ice cream can be high in sugar, calories, and fat, but it can also be an excellent source of certain key nutrients. According to Eat This Much, one cup of vanilla ice cream offers 18% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin A, 22% for B-12, and 17% for calcium. Our bodies need vitamin A for cell division, reproduction, vision, and immunity, to name a few (per Mayo Clinic). We also need vitamin B-12 for proper brain and nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and the regulation of DNA (via Medical News Today). Calcium helps us to build strong bones and teeth, regulate muscle contractions and heart function, and ensures our blood clots properly (per National Health Service).

In a 2021 article published in Nature Food researchers at Tufts University introduced a Food Compass they developed which ranks foods on a scale of one to 100 — with one representing the lowest nutritional value and 100 the highest. The Daily Mail compared the Food Compass results for a granola bar and a chocolate ice cream cone with nuts and found that the granola bar had a score of 15 while the ice cream cone came in at 35.

Anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet should eat ice cream only in moderation. However, the next time you find yourself reaching for a granola bar to tide you over, you may consider treating yourself to an ice cream cone instead!