[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e are constantly told to stay away from certain foods because they are deemed unhealthy. Some “bad-for-you” foods have a bad reputation, but in fact, they can play a big part in a healthy diet.
Here are 8 examples of “bad foods” you should be eating, regardless of what you’ve heard. How many are you avoiding?
Peanut butter may be high in fat, but 80 percent of that fat comes from healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. Peanut butter is a high-protein food and a source of fiber, lots of vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidants. When consumed in moderation, it can help manage weight and control hunger due to the protein and fiber content. In fact, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, women who eat one serving of peanut butter two or more times per week are nearly 25 percent less likely to be obese and gain fewer pounds than women who rarely eat these foods.
To keep calories in check, be sure to watch your serving size and stick to no more than two tablespoons. Shop for natural peanut butter with no added sugar.
Alcohol, including beer, can be healthy, but moderation is key. A large number of studies have shown that moderate drinking (one drink per day for women, two per day for men) can considerably decrease your risk for cardiovascular diseases. Men who consume alcohol moderately are 30 to 35% less likely to have a heart attack than those who abstain Alcohol can also reduce the risk for Type 2 diabetes.
There are a few more cited benefits of moderate beer drinking.
It’s important to remember that if drinking exceeds healthful levels, alcohol swiftly becomes bad for your health.
Chocolate or more specifically dark chocolate has been found to provide numerous health benefits. An ounce of chocolate a day has been shown to reduce risks for heart disease, and an ounce and a half may help reduce stress. Dark chocolate also decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and is associated with better cognitive performance in the elderly. Look out for dark chocolate with a 60% cacao or higher, it has more antioxidants and less added sugar.
Unfortunately, even dark chocolate is calorie rich so stick to one to two ounces per day to avoid weight gain.
Pizza is classified as junk food, but it doesn’t have to be. Going overboard with toppings or binging on pizza won’t do you any good, but if done right, it can pack a load of nutrients. The key ingredient in tomato sauce is lycopene which is a potent antioxidant and can help prevent cancer and protect you from heart disease. Lycopene is best absorbed by your body when hot, so eating cold pizza is not preferred. Another great thing about pizza is that you can get your entire daily recommended dietary intake in one meal. Fruit, vegetables, dairy, lean meat and grain can all be covered in one pizza!
We recommend you go for a thin whole grain crust as it will make you feel fuller. Choose toppings such as broccoli, parmesan cheese and peppers which all offer nutritional benefits.
Coffee doesn’t just get you alert for a busy day, it can also help you burn fat and improve physical performance. Caffeine both raises metabolism and increases oxidation of fatty acids. Your morning brew is packed with antioxidant and is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Further, coffee has even been shown to protect you against Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
The Public health experts recommend a safe range of 3-4 cups of coffee per day. Skip the sugary flavored creamers and choose almond or coconut milk instead.
Although many types are high in sodium, you can purchase low sodium varieties or rinse your canned veggies in a colander to remove the excess sodium. Canned vegetables are on par nutritionally with their fresh counterparts. In fact, in comparison with some produce items, the nutrition in canned food is even greater. Vegetables are very fresh when they are canned, so they are at their peak nutrition, while fresh vegetables may have spent weeks traveling to your supermarket, leading to some loss of nutrients. Further, canned vegetables are inexpensive and much easier to prepare.
Nuts are high in fat and calories but if eaten in appropriate portions, research shows they may actually help you lose weight. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who replaced other foods with nuts in their diets lost more weight (about 1.4 pounds more) than those who did not. In addition to weight loss, nuts are also heart-healthy and numerous studies showed eating them can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Walnuts, rich in omega-3 fats, are a particularly good option. Additionally, nuts contain plant sterols, which have cholesterol-lowering properties.
Many of us still avoid eating potatoes because of their reputation as a waist-widening starch. The truth is, potatoes are one of the most nutritious foods. They are rich in potassium, fiber, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Most importantly they help keep you full. The key is to rethink your add-ons and cooking method. Whenever possible, go for sweet potatoes. They have more vitamin C, fewer calories, more fiber and fewer total carbs. But don’t forget white potatoes, they are less expensive and more versatile in cooking. Do not be fooled about the so-called ‘superfoods’ or ‘food villains’. But this does not mean you should be eating pizza and drinking beer every day.
MODERATION IS KEY
Moderation is always key to health. What is your favorite food on the list? Share this on Facebook with your friends and family who may have told you to avoid a particular food!
Learn more about healthy foods that actually bad for you if you want to lose weight on our blog, too.