Some foods get a bad rap that are actually good for you!
Many foods like eggs, avocados, and even snack foods like popcorn, once considered “unhealthy,” are now known to be just the opposite.
Despite more recent discoveries about health, diet, and nutrition, nutrition experts say certain healthy foods and beverages still have bad reputations with too many consumers.
Here are seven foods that you may be avoiding that no longer deserve their former bad reputations.
Eggs are indeed high in cholesterol, with about 200 mg in every yolk. Health groups, including the American Heart Association, long recommended eating no more than three or so a week for that reason. But it turns out that the cholesterol in our diets is only weakly related to the harmful, artery-clogging cholesterol in our bloodstream. So, recommendations have changed.
While it might seem that avocados are now a well-known superfood, many people are still concerned about their fat content. And avocados do have a lot of fat: 22 grams in a medium one, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. But “this is healthy fat … the types of fats that help to lower your heart risk,” says Lena Beal, a registered dietitian in Atlanta and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Beal says she urges clients to “go for the guacamole.”
If you feel the need for a munchy snake, skip the chips and pretzels and go for the popcorn. Since you will find it on the same aisle as other bagged snakes, people often assume that popcorn belongs in the same category as pretzels and chips, which are rarely made from whole grains. But popcorn actually is this fun food that people already enjoy that happens to naturally be a whole grain. However, we are talking about a batch you pop at home, with an air popper or a little vegetable oil, or similar bagged brands – -skip the “movie theater popcorn that is slavered in thousands of calories in butter and added salt.
A few decades ago, coffee was listed as a “possible carcinogen” by the World Health Organization. That changed when newer studies showed coffee actually reduced certain cancer risks and was probably wrongly maligned because so many coffee drinkers also smoked, according to Harvard’s public health website. Today, there’s a “flow of pro-coffee research” suggesting the brew lowers risks of diabetes and heart disease, as well as cancer. Coffee might also lower risks of depression and suicide, Harvard says.
- Frozen veggies
Decades of reminders that “fresh is best” have steered too many consumers away from minimally processed frozen fruits and vegetables “picked at the peak of freshness” and full of nutrients, but the experts say that frozen is better than none when it comes to adding veggies to your diet and you can have multiple servings of veggies with a microwave in a matter of minutes.
Like avocados, nuts are fatty foods. But most nuts, including walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and pecans, are highest in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for your heart. They also provide lots of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Macadamias and cashews are higher in saturated fat, she says, so should be more occasional treats. Just watch your portions: An ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories.
- Full-fat salad dressing
This may be the most surprising entry on our list, but if you are still squeezing lemon juice on a bowl of greens and other veggies, you may not have heard the good news — the nutrients in raw vegetables are better absorbed when your meal includes some fat. Avocados, nuts, and seeds on a salad can help, but so can a dressing made with a healthy olive or avocado oil. You don’t need to use fat-free salad dressing anymore; in fact, bottled dressings with reduced fat often have extra sugar or salt to add flavor, making them less healthy choices.
So, don’t be afraid to add these foods to your shopping cart today – your body will thank you!