“Unhealthy” foods that are actually good for you | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 01, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 01, 2018

“Unhealthy” foods that are actually good for you

It's about time someone told you that eating chocolates isn't really all that bad for you. Read on to learn about how all the “unhealthy” food that you have been avoiding all this while is actually good for you.

PEANUT BUTTER: Even though peanut butter is high in fat content, 80 percent of it is made up of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils that are essential for the regular functioning of the body. It is also rich in protein with lots of vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, magnesium, and antioxidants. If eaten in moderation, it can help you control your hunger and manage your weight. However, it is essential that you shop for natural peanut butter made from only ground peanuts and no added preservatives, trans fats or a lot of salt.

EGG YOLK: People often avoid egg yolks thinking that they contain too much cholesterol. They are certainly mistaken. Egg yolks are a nutrition powerhouse and one of the richest dietary sources of choline - essential for neurological functions. Choline helps to secrete the “happy” hormones serotonin and dopamine. Egg yolks are also helpful in preventing vision loss as they contain lutein and zeaxanthin.

POTATO: Potatoes have a bad reputation for making people gain weight, but it is mostly because of the way they have been prepared and consumed. For instance, baked or roasted potatoes are definitely healthier options than French fries or potato chips. Potatoes can provide a feeling of fullness for much longer and also provide nutrients such as potassium, fibre, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium. Potato skins are also a source of antioxidants that benefit the heart and prevent cancer.

BANANA: Bananas are often thought of as unhealthy due to its high carbohydrate and calorie levels compared to other fruits. However, bananas are low in fat and sodium but rich in potassium, vitamin A, folic acid, and fibre. Bananas also have a low glycemic load, so they do not raise the blood glucose level much after a meal.

WHITE RICE: While this is the ultimate comfort food for most Bangladeshis, many on a healthy diet may decide that curbing white rice can lead to their body goals. Surprisingly however, white rice is consumed by the healthiest nations, including Japan for its several benefits. Known to keep hunger at bay for long, it is a rich source of carbohydrates and when taken with vegetables and lean proteins, can help keep glycemic levels under control. Even though white rice is more processed than brown rice, the latter contains phytic acid which prevents minerals such as zinc and iron from being absorbed into the body. White rice also contains lower levels of arsenic than brown rice.

COFFEE: Not only does a cup of this magic drink in the morning make you ready for the day or help to keep you awake the night before exams, it also keeps your heart healthy and protects cells from the negative impacts of aging. Coffee is also thought to keep the risks of Type 2 diabetes at bay, along with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Studies show that coffee improves athletic performance and drinking moderate amounts of coffee regularly can have many health benefits.

DARK CHOCOLATE: Yes, you read it right. Chocolate, dark chocolate in particular, has been researched extensively for its health benefits with positive results. Dark chocolate has been found to reduce Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels which are popularly known as the “bad” cholesterol. It reduces the risk of blood clots and high blood pressure and improves cognitive abilities. However, when buying dark chocolate, look for the kind with higher cacao levels as it indicates more antioxidants and less added sugar.

BEEF: Even though beef contains saturated fat, eating moderate amounts of lean beef can actually help you lose weight and improve your overall diet quality. Beef is packed with protein, niacin, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, selenium, and other nutrients. However, red meat should be trimmed of visible fat so that the daily limit of saturated fat is not crossed.

NUTS: Nuts are rich in fat and calories, but that doesn't mean they make you fat. Nuts contain mainly unsaturated fats which are good for the heart and plant sterols which have cholesterol-lowering characteristics. Studies show that people who enjoy nuts as a snack tend to be thinner and have a better quality diet than those who don't.

SHRIMP: While shrimp is high in dietary cholesterol, it contains almost no saturated fat and hence does not raise blood cholesterol levels. It is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acid which helps reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Shrimp also has one of the lowest amounts of mercury compared to the other sources of Omega-3. However, those allergic to shrimps should steer clear of this delicious sea food to prevent severe reactions.

Go ahead and grab some healthy food, but this time it'll also be one of your favourite foods.

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