Healthy is a slightly subjective word when you stop and think about it, as everybody seems to have a different idea as to what being healthy is actually about. You see, for some people, being healthy means that you eat organic, raw, dehydrated vegetables and seeds every day, and that you undergo regular cleanses and detoxifications. For others however, being healthy is about eating fresh and natural foods, exercising a few times per week, and enjoying the odd treat every now and again. When we think of healthy foods however, generally there are a number of items that instantly spring to mind. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads are all considered healthy for example, along with food items such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. There are however, a number of food and drink items out there, that are very healthy, yet they actually have a reputation for being unhealthy instead. If you’re trying to live clean and healthily, take a look at the following, as we look at a number of so-called “unhealthy” foods, that are actually very good for you.
Now, we all know how popular egg whites are, especially amongst bodybuilders, due to the fact that that is where the majority of proteins and amino acids are stored. However, most health fanatics several years back, would avoid whole eggs like the plague, because of the yolks. It was thought that whole eggs contributed towards heart disease, because they contained so much cholesterol. Whilst they do contain cholesterol, the majority of cholesterol found in egg yolks is actually HDL cholesterol, which is very healthy and good for you, and helps to lower LDL cholesterol, which is the dangerous one that clogs the arteries and contributes towards heart disease. Whilst they do contain bad cholesterol, the amounts found in whole eggs are not considered high enough to put you at any risk at all. What’s more, the healthy fats in eggs also provide energy, boost the metabolism, and have been found to improve cognitive health as well, making them great for your brain.
A few decades back, butter was a definite no-no when it came to healthy eating, as people were convinced it caused heart attacks, obesity strokes, cancer, and any other awful condition you can think of. Now, butter is full of fat, there’s no denying that, and like any fat, healthy or otherwise, if you consume too much, it will damage your health and cause your weight to increase. Butter was considered so bad for us, that we went ahead and invented oil-based spreads such as margarine, which were marketed as healthy alternatives to butter. Years later however, in an ironic twist, experts found that margarine was not only much less healthy than butter, but it was actually considered one of the most dangerous and unhealthy ingredients in the entire world. The reason for this was because it was full of trans fats, and other chemicals and artificial ingredients. Butter however, is made from nothing but cream, with perhaps a little salt added if you opt for salted butter. This makes it much healthier for us. Grass-fed butter is very nutrient dense, it is full of healthy natural saturated fats, it lowers cholesterol, improves heart health, and can provide energy. Of course too much is still bad for you, but if you get just the right amount each day, butter will work wonders in regards to your health.
Whilst potatoes are generally not considered super-unhealthy (unless they’re deep fried and covered in salt, of course) most people trying to lead a healthy lifestyle will still avoid white potatoes because they have a high Glycemic Index. However, whilst they do cause a slight spike in blood glucose levels, the sugars found in white potatoes are not high enough to cause any real damage. What’s more, potatoes provide a good source of sustainable energy, they contain vitamin C, minerals, and they are naturally low in fat. What’s more, you can prepare them in ways that are much healthier than others. Rather than deep frying potato wedges for example, why not give them a spritz of olive oil and bake them in an oven instead?
Popcorn is of course synonymous with going to the movies, and this snack is generally not renowned for its health benefits. However, it isn’t the corn itself that is unhealthy, but rather how it is prepared, and what is used to help season it. Popcorn is often covered in butter, salt, sugar, and other flavourings, which ramp up the calorie content and make it far less healthy than it could be. the kernels are also popped in hot oil. If however, the kernels are popped in dry heat, and toppings are used sparingly, if at all, popcorn is actually a very healthy snack that is low in fat and calories. This wholegrain is full of nutrients, including antioxidants, making it great for the immune system.
No, we haven’t gone crazy, dark chocolate really is amazingly healthy for you. don’t get too excited however, because to reap the health benefits you can only enjoy a small amount each day, but that’s okay, because any chocolate is better than no chocolate. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that can protect you against countless diseases, including cancer, plus it is enriched with vitamins and minerals too. In terms of health properties however, the darker the better, so you should look for a chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa, though ideally you should go higher still and aim for 80, even 90%. If you’re a fan of bitter chocolate, this will be music to your ears, but remember, dark chocolate still contains fat and is high in calories, so you can only get away with a few blocks each day.