“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are” – Adelle Davis
Grocery shopping is a confusing task when you are trying to eat foods that are good for you. Advertisements and packaging can make you believe that what you are purchasing is good for your body, when this may not necessarily be the case. Surprisingly, foods labeled “healthy” or “natural” may not necessarily be the best choice. Such terms are amibiguous enough that they are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other foods may have a bad reputation and people avoid them when really they aren’t that bad. Some foods out there that may sound unhealthy but they can actual help our bodies. Read on for the 10 foods you may be avoiding unnecessarily:
10 Foods You May Be Avoiding Unnecessarily
As we discussed in a previous blog post, avocados get a bad reputation as they are said to be high in fat and calories. While this is true, avocados provide the “right” kind of fat so it influences your health in a positive way. Monounsaturated fat, (the kind of fat present in avocados) helps to reduce cholesterol, cardiovascular related illnesses, strengthens eye health, and prevents oral, breast, and prostate cancer. So go ahead, enjoy your avocado! (Just think about sticking to one per day.)
2. Spaghetti and Meatballs
If you stick to a cup of cooked pasta and three ounces of meat for one portion size, a dish of spaghetti and meatballs can be a wholesome and complete meal that is filled with nutrients. The beef provides iron and protein, the tomato sauce brings you lycopene, and the pasta provides energy-producing carbohydrates.
While sometimes criticized for their high sugar and carb content, a small banana is best known as a great source of potassium. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure, maintain your heart health and also benefits your skeletal and muscle systems as well. They also come packed with vitamin C and B6.
4. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is also a food that is thought to be high in fat and calories but if you know what to look for on the labels, you can buy peanut butter that is really good for you. It is a great source of monounsaturated “good” fat and eating peanuts can lower your risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health conditions. It’s also a great way to get protein, fiber and antioxidant vitamin E.
(Read this article about Peanut Butter by Prevention Magazine for more great tips on why peanut butter is so good for you.)
Many people drink coffee because the caffeine adds some pep to your step, but decaffinated coffee may offer the same benefits as the caffinated kind. The real health benefits from coffee come from the antioxidants, magnesium and chromium that are found within. Research has linked drinking coffee to a decreased risk of type-2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It has also been found that people who drink coffee on a regular basis have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems and strokes.
Corn is rich in fiber, lutein and zeaxanthin. Eating fiber helps reduce your risk of diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease. The lutein and zeaxanthin are compounds found in yellow and green vegetables that help keep your eyes healthy as you age.
Like spaghetti and meatballs, a burrito can provide a complete meal filled with nutrients. When filled with vegetables, rice, beans and small portions of meat, these treats can cover all your nutrition bases in one tortilla.
8. Chicken Thighs
Dark meat, like avocados, is high in healthy monounsaturated fats. Thighs are also more affordable than skinless chicken breasts, so they’re an all around smart addition to your weeknight dinner routine.
People have snubbed potatoes for their high carbohydrate content. Depending on what you eat them with and how they are prepared, they can provide essential vitamins, minerals and fiber (especially if you eat the skin).
Since food advertisements and labels can be confusing and misleading, try researching the foods you are eating to find the truth about it’s nutrients and read the nutritional labels. Most foods, if containing little to no additives, can be healthy in moderation.