{Summer Re-Post} Four “bad” foods that are actually good for you

Originally posted July 28, 2011

If you’ve ever read a women’s magazine, then you’ve probably come across an article about “good” foods versus “bad” foods. What if I were to tell you that most “bad” foods aren’t bad for you—that there are no good foods or bad foods?

All foods have health benefits and many of the foods that we as a population consider to be “bad” are actually quite good for you…not to mention delicious!

Here are my top 4 good for you “bad” foods:

1. Egg Yolks

A few crazy scientists once told us that the dietary cholesterol in egg yolks was giving us high blood cholesterol and heart disease. It turns out that eating food items that contain cholesterol does not influence the levels of cholesterol in our blood. Egg yolks are jam packed with nutrients including 100% of your daily value of carotenoids, vitamins A,D,E, and K, and essential fatty acids.  Egg whites, on the other hand, do not contain 100% of any nutrient and are nutritionally incomplete without their yolks. Next time you have eggs for breakfast make sure to eat the whole egg! Your body will thank you.

2. Butter

Those margarine/butter substitutes may taste like butter, but they are actually far from it. These highly processed butter-like spreads are actually made from poor quality vegetable oils that have been partially hydrogenated to make them solid. Studies show that using butter substitutes can increase heart disease, and you may have read that margarine is only one molecule away from being plastic. Butter, real, high quality, pastured butter (like Kerrygold) can be delicious and nutritious— a great source of fat soluble vitamins and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to protect against cancer and play a role in building muscles.

3. Bacon

Okay, so I know that bacon is a controversial breakfast item: conventional health nuts shun it, while primal rebels seemingly eat pounds of bacon per day. My stance is this: while bacon is not the healthiest choice, eating 2 slices of bacon has more health benefits than eating a blueberry muffin. You’re getting fat, some protein and, most importantly, you’re choosing a whole (hopefully minimally processed) food over a baked good.

Eating bacon with your meal every now and again will not hurt you. You might even enjoy your breakfast more if you allow yourself to indulge without guilt. Aim for bacon made from pastured pigs– the animals were humanely raised and the meat/fat is healthier. Eating fat doesn’t make us fat, so enjoy your delicious bacon with a smile.

4. Chocolate

You’ve heard it before: chocolate is good for you! Dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) is full of healthy antioxidants and flavonoids that can help reduce free radicals and lower blood pressure.

The physical health benefits of chocolate aren’t the reason it’s on my list. I believe that instead of depriving yourself of chocolate in an effort to be “healthy,” it’s important to be kind to your body and to eat the darn chocolate if you’re really craving it. Two squares of organic dark chocolate will not make or break the weight loss bank. It’s important to feel satisfied and to have fun while striving to reach your health goals!

What are your favorite good-for-you “bad” foods?

2 Responses to {Summer Re-Post} Four “bad” foods that are actually good for you

  1. nbongo July 10, 2012 at 3:59 PM #

    Hey Alison, you’ve got it! These foods really are good for you, and I’m glad “conventional wisdom” is swinging back towards real food. Now we should focus on getting the word out that good fat (butter, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, full-fat greek yogurt, avocados, etc.) is good for you and good for your brain, and pretty much anything that says low-fat is going to be LOADED with sugar – and that’s bad for your weight, metabolism, and inflammation.

    • Allison July 10, 2012 at 4:45 PM #

      Awesome, nbongo! You’ve hit the nail right on the head. Thanks so much for your input! Now, to spread the word…

Thoughts? Feel free to comment below!

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