Nutrition and Fitness Tamar Raucher | one year ago

“Bad” Foods That Are Actually Good

Don’t throw out that pasta yet! These six foods are surprisingly healthy.

With all the misinformation out there surrounding health (chocolate is good – wait, is it really? And what about carbs?) it’s no wonder there’s so much confusion. Here are six “bad” foods that have a definite good side:

Eggs

Great news! Whole eggs are actually better for you than egg whites. The yolks are vilified because they’re fairly high in cholesterol, but recent research indicates that saturated fat – not cholesterol – is the primary contributor to poor heart health. In addition to keeping you full longer thanks to high protein levels, eggs are also packed with vitamin D, phosphorous, riboflavin, choline and selenium, which help keep your memory sharp and your mind focused.

Pasta and White Rice

If you’ve given up pasta and white rice because it has a high glycemic index, you might want to think again. For pasta’s part, white durum wheat has a glycemic index of 45 to 50, which is actually considered low. That means it won’t cause a quick spike in blood sugar, so you’ll avoid the energy crash (and subsequent cravings) later on. As for white rice, it has a higher glycemic index than pasta, but not when it’s eaten with lean proteins and vegetables. Use it as a vehicle to help your body absorb more vitamins and minerals from these healthy foods. The key is to keep both your pasta and rice portions fairly small – no more than 1 cup cooked.

Potatoes

Spuds often get a bad rap, but much of this is due to the way they’re prepared – especially in America, where French fries are on almost every menu. The truth is that a medium-sized potato has just 170 calories and is a rich source of potassium and fiber. More power to you if you like the skins: they’re packed with antioxidants, which slow the aging process and provide heart-healthy and cancer-fighting benefits. Lastly, potatoes have 4 grams of fiber which is the same amount as a medium apple. This helps regulate blood sugar and keeps you full longer.

Frozen Vegetables

It’s hard to believe, but numerous studies have proven that frozen veggies pack just as much (if not more) of a healthy punch than their fresh counterparts. This is because they’re picked and packaged at peak freshness, while “fresh” veggies often travel for days, only to sit in the supermarket for a few days more. Since fresh produce loses nutrients for every day that it’s not eaten, it’s not uncommon for frozen vegetables to have more nutrients per serving at the time of consumption. It’s often cheaper to buy frozen as well, which makes purchasing organic more cost-effective. Bonus: frozen veggies don’t contain added sodium and preservatives.

Beef

Meat lovers rejoice! If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, you’ll be happy to know that moderate amounts of lean beef can help you lose weight and improve the quality of your diet overall. How? Because today’s beef is overwhelmingly classified as lean, meaning the cuts provide up to 10 grams of total fat and no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat in a fist-sized serving. If you can spring for grass-fed organic beef, all the better. Beef provides several essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, zinc and protein.

Butter

You may have heard of “bulletproof coffee”, which is currently taking the pro sports world by storm. Bulletproof coffee is made with grass-fed butter, which is touted as a healthy source of dietary fat. And while we may not be pro athletes, butter can have an appropriate place within our diets (when used in moderation). Here are the facts: butter is rich in vitamins and minerals, including the most easily absorbable form of vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health. It contains lecithin, which is essential for cholesterol metabolism, and it contains linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder and immunity booster.   Reviewed by: Carolinas HealthCare System's Elaine Jones, RDN, LDN and Kelly Campbell, MS, RDN, LDN.