It can be difficult to keep up with what’s ‘good’ for you and what’s ‘bad’ these days. With so much nutritional information flying around out there, it’s no wonder people get confused about what they can and can’t eat.
Some foods have copped a bad rap for years now, with claims they will make you pack on the weight. Now though, these foods are stepping out of the darkness as their health benefits are being heralded for their nutritional value and healing properties.
Potatoes have been branded as a somewhat ‘evil’ carb for a while now, and while it’s true they do contain a higher level of carbs than other veggies they also have a lot of health benefits and antioxidant activity.
Potatoes are packed with carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as tuber storage proteins which help fight against free radicals.
The real issue with potatoes usually stems from the way they are cooked, with many people choosing to deep fry them or cover them with fatty topping like cheese, butter and sour cream.
Try mashing them with roasted garlic, steaming and adding to a tuna salad, or teaming with olive oil and other veggies.
This nutty-tasting spread is made by removing the milk solids and impurities from butter, leaving a caramel-coloured spread that’s perfect for frying or topping on toast.
“Ghee has been used in Ayurvedic diets for hundreds of years and would have been used by Western societies up until fat was deemed evil,” says Rachael Javes, a nutritionist at Bodypass told The Juice Daily, adding that ghee is now making a major comeback due to its incredible health benefits.
“Ghee is rich in Butyric acid which helps to develop a strong immune system,” she says. “It has huge anti-inflammatory benefits and is a rich source of anti-oxidants.”
Ghee is also helpful if you’re trying to lose weight as it contains medium chains fatty acids which are absorbed into the liver and help burn energy and fat.
People have been debating the benefits of coffee for years, but now experts say there are many great positives to knocking back a cup of the good stuff every day.
Coffee is known to boost the metabolism and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s important to keep it healthy though, and try drinking it black or with just a little milk to top it up. If you need something to sweeten the deal, try using an artificial sweetener or honey instead.
While many people are now hailing peanut butter as the ultimate snack food, it pays to keep it to a small serving everyday.
Peanuts contain lots of protein and are rich in folate, niacin, vitamin E and manganese, and have also been linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing colon cancer in women. However, if you’re going to start eating it has a snack it’s important to buy natural versions that don’t have any added sugar.
Try topping your morning toast with a teaspoon-full of the spread, or scoop it right out of the jar with celery, carrot or apple!
While chocolate is often named as the ultimate diet nemesis, there are ways you can still enjoy the sweet treat without packing on the kilos.
A lot of chocolate you find in the supermarket aisle is laden with sugar and bad fats, but if you stick to chocolate with a coco content of 70% or more you’ll get plenty of health benefits and less of the bad stuff.
“The darker the chocolate the better and this often correlates with lower sugar content. There are some great chocolates on offer these days such as Pana Chocolat,” says Rachel.
Research has shown that eating dark chocolate can lower cholesterol levels and reduce cardiovascular problems. Remember though, everything in moderation.
Egg-white omelettes have become popular in recent years thanks to people fearing the fat and cholesterol content in egg yolks. The truth is though egg yolks are full of nutrients that promote neurological function and produce serotonin, which is known as the ‘happiness’ hormone.
They are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help protect against vision loss. It’s important to not to go overboard though and health experts recommend sticking to four yolks per week.
Honey is still regarded as a ‘bad’ food by some people who say its high sugar content is can contribute to increased fat in the body. However, honey is also full of properties that can boost the immune system and fight infection.
“Whilst approximately 80% of honey is sugar, 40% fructose and 40% glucose, honey in its rawest, most unrefined form contains lots of beneficial nutrients. It is packed full of antioxidants, has antibacterial properties and can reduce inflammation.”
Substitute sugar for honey in your tea and coffee or spread it on toast instead of jam; this way you’ll cut back on refined sugar and get all the health benefits that come along with the golden nectar.
Have you ever been told any of these foods were unhealthy? Do you know of any other ‘bad’ foods that are actually good for you?