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These Foods Have Bad Reputations; They Aren’t Really Bad for You…

Veggie Basket

Here’s a short picture-article online that lists nearly a dozen foods that have developed a bad reputation over the years, but are in fact quite healthy. How did they get the bad rap? I’ll go out on a limb here and say it’s usually bad science, or worse yet, fair science that gets mangled in the popular press and the “corrections” never see the light of day in the near-panic induced in the public by insane journalism. [sound effects of soapbox sliding back under the desk]

What are these foods? Here’s the list:

Mushrooms: The “rap” is that they add flavor but little or no nutritional value. Not so! For instance, they’re the only vegetable source of Vitamin D. They also supply B vitamins.

Pork: Two parameters to the reputation here; trichinosis and dietary fat. The former is ancient history in farm-raised and inspected pigs (not so in wild meats), and the latter can be managed nicely by choosing lean cuts, like loin chops. (Bacon’s not on the list, but it’s sacrosanct so I won’t say anything against it here.)

Chocolate: “Makes you fat.” Well, it’s not the chocolate’s fault! High cacao content chocolates, especially in moderation, are good for cholesterol reduction and diabetes risk reduction.

Beef: Knocked as a poor red-meat choice (Go with buffalo! Or elk! Or fillintheblank…), beef tenderloin has the same fat content as skinless chicken thighs, and less than skin-on chicken breast meat. Beef is a prime choice for protein, iron, B vitamins, lots of necessary trace elements (selenium, zinc, etc.), and more. Tenderloin too expensive for your budget? Go with sirloin or top round; even flank steak.

Eggs: Bad, bad, bad, these little ovoids are killers, right? Clog your arteries. Wrong. New research shows eggs have a place in healthy diets. They provide good levels of over a dozen vitamins, and they’re high in protein. Yolks contain most of the cholesterol, while the whites have the proteins; go with whites if you’re worried. Besides, they’re great for the budget! Where else can you provide a major portion of a meal for four for under a buck, total?

Coffee: Sure, over-indulging can have consequences. However, coffee in moderation has been demonstrated to improve memory, and appears to have roles in reducing both Type II Diabetes and Parkinson’s risks. Experts now believe the health benefits of coffee outweigh its detrimental possibilities.

Spices: Some have cancer-risk scares. However, there’s little current evidence to support this in almost all instances. Many, such as garlic, turmeric and cinnamon provide just the opposite; they appear to fight cancer, and many reduce inflammation from other sources. Besides, studies have shown that you’ll eat less food if it’s properly seasoned and spicy (not hot, necessarily), aiding in portion control for dieting. Use plenty!

Pistachios: “Nuts are very fattening.” (I’ve heard this from so many directions.) Actually, almost all nuts provide omega-3 fats, a known beneficial fatty acid source. Pistachios are the lowest-fat and lowest-calorie option too. You like pesto? Don’t have it because of the pine nuts? Switch to pistachios; more flavor, less fat, more nutrition.

Avocado: Yes; a source of fat. Almost all of it heart-beneficial, however. Half an avocado provides about 120 calories too; not a huge amount! So use that green fruit, just be sure to include it in things like salads, sandwiches and more. By all means, don’t give up on your guacamole!

Potatoes: These ubiquitous vegetables are seen by many as fattening and nutrient-empty. Like chocolate, it’s not the potato’s fault! It’s what we add to it that causes the problems. Potatoes themselves are nutritious (potassium, fiber, vitamins) and low-calorie (160 or less). Cheap too; or maybe you prefer budget-friendly? Whatever. Just go light on the toppings, limit eating fried potatoes, and when you roast them, go light on the oil. Done.

Hot Peppers: Okay, this one isn’t on the list. Many folks avoid them like the plague, though; some for taste reasons, others because they’ve heard (wild tales) that they’re bad for you. Not so! They produce a thermogenic fat burn, they help to control appetite, and they’re a good source of vitamins, minerals and flavor. Eat’em up! (This advertisement brought to you by the Elves here at the Underground; they made me do it, honest.)

On the flip side, here’s a list of foods that sound healthy but aren’t

Enjoy the (Healthy Foods Again) Heat!

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