Since we’ve already taken a look at foods that seem healthy but really aren’t, let’s do the opposite and look at foods that we have been told are ‘unhealthy’ but, it turns out, are actually good for you. There is a big misconception about a lot of food out there – butter is good for you, then bad for you, then back to good for you and so on and so forth. But food science is getting more and more sophisticated and a lot of the old school notions of food are changing. Here are 4 ‘unhealthy’ foods that are actually good for you:
Poor red meat, blamed from everything from cancer to heart disease. But new research is emerging that red meat is not necessarily the villain it has been painted to be. Cholesterol and saturated fat has been the bane of any health conscious person for decades. We have been told that cholesterol causes heart disease and have been told to stay away from even a whiff of cholesterol rich foods like red meat. Well, it turns out cholesterol doesn’t really cause heart diseases, according to some. And saturated fat doesn’t really raise cholesterol levels. In fact red meat is an excellent source of heme iron – a form that is absorbed and utilized more efficiently than non-heme iron (found in vegetables). Zinc and Vitamin D are also easily absorbed and utilized from red meat. When eating red meat, whenever possible get grass-fed beef as it contains a healthier omega-6/omega-3 ratio. So fear no more. Go out and get yourself a nice juicy steak!
Bacon is only the best thing ever invented. Yet somehow it seems to have the worst reputation when it comes to food. Oh, probably because it is super greasy and super salty! As we know from above, cholesterol and saturated fats haven’t been the popular kids on the block for a while. People are slowly coming around, but in general, still view them with distrust. So we know now that saturated fat isn’t the big devil it was painted to be but there is the issue of excess salt. But if you’re not abusing salt normally in your diet and eat organic bacon (hormone free) as opposed to the commercial version (which has more salt), than bacon can be a good addition to your diet.
Another victim of the ‘fat is bad’ movement. Ghee, which is clarified butter, so often used in traditional Indian cooking is 100% saturated fat. What have we learned so far about saturated fat? It’s not the cause of your heart disease. In the past we’ve been told to use more unsaturated fats in our diet because doctors believed that it would help reduce the risk of heart disease (not true). The thing is fats like canola oil are very susceptible to oxidation and should not be used when cooking food. Yes, while olive oil is great for you, it also falls into this category. What? Don’t use oil for cooking? Yes, you heard me. These oils are not for cooking in high temperatures. However Ghee, the lovely fatty oil, is very stable at high temperatures. Perfect for cooking! It also is full of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K and according to Ayurveda, Ghee promotes learning and memory retention. All good stuff if you ask me!
How many of you have been carefully separating your yolks from the whites? Or skipping eggs all together because it was ‘unhealthy’ for you? Well, time to start eating your eggs whole again. The verdict is in, and eggs are good for you! Remember when doctors actively warned you against eating egg yolks because of their high cholesterol content? Well, it turns out eating eggs doesn’t actually do anything to your cholesterol levels. It turns out that’s not how cholesterol works (FYI: your body synthesizes its own cholesterol, no matter how many eggs you eat or don’t eat). The body needs cholesterol to function. Of course you still want to keep your LDL levels low while raising your HDL cholesterol levels.
I really hope that this will help you bust through some the food myths we’ve been fed over the years. Happy eating!