Health

“Bad” foods like cheese and chocolate can be good for you

“Bad” foods like cheese and chocolate can be good for you

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You feel guilty that you’ve already given up on your New Year’s resolution give up chocolate or cheese?

fear not Many foods that we accept as bad for us – including cheddar and candy—can actually provide our bodies with significant health benefits.

“We tend to view food as either good for us or bad for us,” Lisa Young, a registered dietitian at New York University and author of Finally Full, Finally Thin, told The Post.

However, she said, that kind of thinking isn’t necessarily helpful — or, well, healthy.

“Overall, a small fraction of [any] the food is fine,” she said.

It turns out that many of our favorite snacks are more than just good—they’re packed with vital nutrients. Look.

White potatoes


Young says there are benefits to including white potatoes in your diet.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“They get a bad rap because of French fries, which are a form of white potatoes,” Young told The Post. “But the white potatoes themselves.” [aren’t bad].”

“A baked potato has tons of fiber and potassium,” she continued. Plus, each one is a single unit, making portion control easy.

Just be careful not to go overboard with indulgent toppings. Instead of the usual sour cream and chives, replace the Greek yogurt with protein and fresh vegetables, such as chopped tomatoes or spinach.

Cheese


Maybe say yes to that cheese board the next time it sits in front of you.
Maybe say yes to that cheese board the next time it sits in front of you.
Getty Images/Image source

Sure, the favorite pre-dinner snack is high in calories, but that doesn’t mean you should never say “cheese.”

It “provides protein [and] calcium, so there’s definitely a place in the diet for cheese,” Young said.

Harder cheeses like cheddar, swiss and parmesan and blue cheeses are generally healthier than soft cheeses like brie because they contain more calcium.

Additionally, aged cheeses have been identified as helping to aid digestion and boost immunity.

“Both raw and pasteurized cheeses contain good bacteria that can be beneficial to the intestinal gut microbiota,” said Adam Brock, vice president of food safety, quality and regulatory compliance for Wisconsin Dairy Farmers. The Washington Post.

Those who consume cheese and full-fat dairy products have also been found to be less likely to develop diabetes or hypertension. And 2020 study — which surveyed more than 145,000 people in 21 countries — consumption of two daily servings of dairy products of any kind was found to reduce the risk of any condition by 11% to 24%.

Peanut butter


As long as there are no additives, peanut butter is approved by Dr. Young.
As long as there are no additives, peanut butter is approved by Dr. Young.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you choose a nut butter that’s all peanuts and no additives like salt, sugar or palm oil, it’s a great snack.

“Natural peanut butter is one of the healthiest foods for you,” Young said. “[Nuts] are high in polyunsaturated fat—so they’re good for you.”

According to American Heart Association, polyunsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

A spoonful of PB is also known to satisfy and suppress your appetite, and is a fairly balanced source of energy, containing all three major macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, all of which your the body must remain healthy.

Chocolate


Chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa contains antioxidants - so eat, for health.
Chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa or more contains antioxidants – so eat, for health.
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“It’s healthy to allow yourself to indulge in a small treat every now and then,” Young said.

She noted that dark chocolate, which contains 70 percent cocoa or more, has antioxidants that help prevent or slow cell damage in the body caused by free radicals — waste substances that can harm cells and body function.

There is more sweet news. Research published in the journal BMJ Heart in 2017 found that those who consumed chocolate in small amounts — roughly once a week — were less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

eggs


As long as you don't have high cholesterol, eggs are a healthy addition to your diet.
As long as you don’t have high cholesterol, eggs are a healthy addition to your diet.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Give them a break. Eggs are a great source of protein when eaten in moderation—and ideally without a side of bacon or deep-fried cereal.

Additionally, Young said, “Eggs have lutein [which supports eye and brain health]vitamin E, choline — it’s got a lot of nutrients.” A lot of the nutrients are in the yolk, so don’t just go for the egg whites.

Although egg yolks are high in cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic notes that eating eggs does not seem to raise a person’s cholesterol the way foods high in saturated fat do.

Even a 2019 review from the Université de Tours in France found that the peptides that the eggs contain decrease Blood Pressure.

Butter


Although you shouldn't eat a piece of butter, spreading it on toast is fine.
Although you shouldn’t eat a stick of butter, spreading it on a slice of toast is fine.
Getty Images/EyeEm

There’s not much harm in spreading a tablespoon or two of the spread on your toast every morning, Young said.

It can help build calcium and is also a good source of vitamin A — which is important for skin health and immune function — and vitamin E, which is important for vision and reproduction, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“[The health benefits of butter come down to] quantity problem,” Young said. “In moderation [it can be] be perfectly healthy.”


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