It seems that nutritionists and health conscious foodies tend to change their mind a lot in regards to what is healthy and what isn’t. We are constantly being told about new ‘superfoods’, or certain foods we should stop eating because of the health risks they may pose. However, we are now realising that many of the foods that have been given a bad rap in the past (perhaps due to their ‘fat content’, or other misconceptions) are really not as bad as was once thought. In fact, many of them have numerous health benefits that far outweigh any negative thoughts associated with them.
Let's have a look at 5 (of my favourite) foods that have gone through the social cleaner, and come out the other side looking sparkly and inviting!
Avocados - I cannot advocate enough for this fruit (Yes, fruit!). They have been given a bad rap in the past due to their high-fat content. However, it is important to point out that this is mostly monounsaturated fats, which are the good kind. Not only do you need these fats in your diet to help with cell growth, and to keep your hair, skin and nails strong and healthy, they also help to reduce the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or ‘bad cholesterol’ in your body. They contain a wide range of other vitamins and minerals including a healthy dose of vitamin A, E and C. Avocados are also creamy and delicious, making a fantastic spread alternative to butter and margarine (both of which contain high levels of saturated fats or trans fats). They are diverse in use and can be used in salads, dips, smoothies or simply enjoyed just as they are!
Eggs - These delicious protein packed parcels of goodness are yet another food item that has gone in and out of vogue in the health industry. Initially being given a bad rap because of their high cholesterol content, we now know that the dietary cholesterol they contain actually helps increase your body’s HDL levels. The HDL cholesterol actually works to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in your body, keeping your arteries healthy and clear. Let’s not forget all the delicious nutrients they contain, including high levels of protein. Though you may have heard it is best to skip the yolk, you should know that though the yolk contains the saturated fat, it also contains the majority of the other nutrients including vitamin D, Choline, Selenium, phosphorus and riboflavin.
Peanut butter - Peanut butter is another food that has been given a bad rap due to its high-fat content. Though it contains about 50% fat (though only 10% saturated fats), it essentially all comes from the peanut itself. Good quality, healthy peanut butter has little to no additives outside of the peanuts and it incredibly rich in protein, vitamin B6, magnesium, iron and even calcium.
Coffee - Thought that coffee was bad for you? Think again! Coffee is rich in flavonoids, which actually help your body fight against negative effects associated with ageing. It is also a natural source of caffeine, which not only boosts your energy levels, it also increases your metabolism and helps your burn fat! Okay, I should point out here that not all coffee gets my gold star of approval. It really depends on how you have your coffee, and of course how much coffee you drink (3 or less p/day is fine). If you add cream and sugar to your coffee, then you need to take this into account when considering if your coffees are healthy or not. If you are looking for a healthy version of coffee, try finding a nice organic, shade-grown coffee that is sustainably grown, and enjoy it black, or with some delicious almond milk for a naturally sweet and nutty flavour. Yum!
Chocolate - Again, before you get too excited, I am not trying to say that all chocolate is healthy. Some chocolate (white chocolate) isn’t really chocolate at all! Dark chocolate (70% cocoa +) contains no cream, yet still has loads of the free radical fighting antioxidants. It is also believed to help naturally lower your body’s LDL cholesterol levels and is believed to help lower high blood pressure. Make sure you read the ingredients though because many manufacturers substitute the cream or milk for extra sugar!
I have always been a firm believer in allowing yourself to enjoy what you really enjoy, as long as it is with awareness and in moderation (after all, life is for enjoying!). Even though these food listed here offer numerous health benefits, I still suggest that, like with all foods, they are best eaten in moderation.