Sunday, 4 September 2016

7 “Unhealthy” Foods That Are Actually Healthy

White Rice
The differences between white and brown rice are small, and really only matter if you’re only eating rice all day, every day, says Alan Aragon, M.S., Men’s Health nutrition advisor. In fact, some research suggests that eating white over brown leads to better nitrogen retention—which can help protect against muscle loss. A Japanese study also found that nutrients like potassium and phosphorus are better absorbed from white rice—the extra fiber in brown rice could make nutrients less available to your body, says Aragon.


Sour Cream
Yes, most of its calories are derived from fat—and while the percentage of fat is high, the total amount isn't. A serving (2 tablespoons) has only 52 calories—that’s half the amount in one tablespoon of mayo. It also has less saturated fat than a 12-ounce glass of 2 percent milk. Unless you actually prefer the light versions, eat the classic version; it tastes richer, and the fat will keep you full longer.


Coffee
Your cuppa Joe will likely do more good than harm. Just keep your fix in check: While researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston found that about two 8-ounce cups of coffee lowered people’s risk of heart failure by 11 percent, more than five cups a day increased the risk. In moderation, researchers believe java’s antioxidants could reduce your type 2 diabetes risk—a common risk factor for heart failure.
Salsa
A plate of nachos might put a bulge in your belly, but don’t blame the condiment! Salsa is packed with vitamins A and C from its tomato base. It also contains the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene. Harness the many powers of salsa by adding it to eggs or spicing up the flavor on a fish dish or burger.
Beer
Move over, red wine. According to a recent review of research, beer is just as good for your heart as vino. A little more than a pint a day could make you 30 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke, heart attack, and heart disease than non-drinkers. Credit the alcohol and polyphenols (antioxidants) in beer, but leave the keg stands in your past: Overdrinking—four or more glasses of wine or beer a day—brings you out of the protective window and puts your heart at risk, the research found.


Red Meat
Studies of the cause-and-effect of eating red meat never find any difference in health outcomes between red meat and chicken or fish, says Michael Roussell, Ph.D., author of The Six Pillars of Nutrition. Many times, red meat eaters tend to be unhealthier in general—they smoke, drink, exercise less, and eat fewer disease-fighting fruits and vegetables.

In fact, red meat in a healthy diet could improve cholesterol levels, according to a 2012 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Stearic acid (a saturated fatty acid) and oleic acid (a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat) may play a role in those “good” HDL cholesterol changes. “Beef brings a unique, heart-healthy blend of fats to the table that you won’t get from other foods,” says Roussell. Choose lean cuts (strip, sirloin, tenderloin, or T-bone steaks, and 95 percent lean ground beef) to control calories, says Aragon.


Spicy Foods
Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that hamsters fed capsaicinoids—compounds that lend flavor to chili peppers and jalapenos—showed lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol than animals that ate capsaicinoid-free meals. Capsaicionoids could block the gene that causes your arteries to contract. The result: Relaxed muscles and better blood flow to the heart, researchers say. Spice up a salad with half a chili pepper, and sip that Bloody Mary guilt-free—it’s packed with the capsaicinoid cayenne!

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