Go ahead. Have some chocolate. Drag it through some peanut butter. Maybe wash it down with a cup of coffee.
At some point you read an article or saw a news story encouraging you to give up these foods as being unhealthy. It’s simply not true. Over-indulging in these foods — just like over-indulging in anything — can be harmful over time. But there are plenty of foods you thought you needed to avoid that you can enjoy, in moderation.
Drinking alcohol must be done in moderation. One alcoholic beverage a day for women and two for men may help protect from heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. But the moderate consumption must include a healthy diet and regular exercise to get the greatest benefit.
It’s lean with less saturated fat than 30 years ago. Replacing beef and chicken with pork could help you lose weight and body fat. Tenderloin is a great, lean cut.
It’s a whole grain that’s loaded with fiber, which helps fill you up and keeps you regular. It also has vitamin B, manganese, and magnesium, and antioxidants, which may protect you against disease and cell damage. Don’t drown it in butter or cover it in salt.
They’re loaded with good fat. The kind of fat that is linked to a healthy heart and good cholesterol levels. Eating avocados regularly can help your eyes and skin and may even help with belly fat.
Lean red meat with the fat trimmed away is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, and iron. Eat it occasionally and in small portions and it’s been shown to lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Chicken (Dark Meat)
Thighs and legs may have more fat, but they also have more minerals like iron, zinc, and selenium. There are more vitamins like A, B, and K. It’s also high in taurine, which breaks down fat and helps with inflammation and blood pressure.
Dark chocolate is the healthiest because it has the least sugar and is made mostly of cocoa and that’s where there are flavonoids. These plant chemicals may help protect against cell damage. They could also lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and make you less likely to have certain kinds of heart disease. Remember, only eat a little bit.
They are rich in protein with a full range of B vitamins and amino acids. They also include vitamin D and selenium. They are NOT calorie dense, meaning they help you feel fuller longer.
This can also be healthy when consumed in moderation. It can help reduce heart disease, help you process sugar, reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease, help protect your liver, strengthen your DNA, reduce your risk of colon cancer, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and reduce your risk of stroke. Just don’t load it up with a lot of sugar and creamer.
The full-fat variety isn’t likely to raise your risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes if it’s part of a balanced diet. Foods like yogurt, whole milk, and brie can be good for you. Just watch the calories or they will pile up.
Pasta fills you up, it’s a good source of energy, is low in salt, and low in fat. Just don’t cover it with heavy sauces. Try whole-grain pastas for an even healthier alternative.
Cooled potatoes have something called “resistant starch,” which acts like fiber and can help keep you regular and your gut healthy. Potatoes — whether hot or cold — have lots of nutrients, like potassium and magnesium. Choose low-fat, low-calorie mayonnaise for potato salad.
It may be full of sugar, but it’s a natural sweetener with plenty of antioxidants to protect your cells. It’s also good for inflammation. It mixes well with the bacteria in your gut which helps with digestion. Local honey can also help with allergies.
It may have saturated fat, but it’s 80% unsaturated fat, which isn’t bad. Eating nuts or peanut butter regularly reduces the risk of heart disease or type 2 diabetes. It also has potassium. Get it unsalted for a healthier option.
They’re affordable, convenient, and they have the same benefits as fresh vegetables. They may even be better because you can store them, so stock up when you can.
Dietician Consultations Available
No matter your age, what you eat has a huge effect on your overall health. Healthy eating isn’t hard – especially when you have someone to empower you to make good decisions and teach you how healthy food can be delicious. Our registered dietitians provide individually tailored nutrition plans to members of every age.
Patients with the following are encouraged to see a dietitian: diabetes, heart-related conditions, those considering bariatric surgery, pregnancy, gastrointestinal-related conditions, and patients with any other nutrition-related condition.
This program is available to all AltaMed patients at no cost. Ask your doctor for a referral or call (888) 499-9303 to enroll.