Everyday, there is someone out there that is unnecessarily avoiding certain foods. They don’t have an allergy and they don’t dislike the food, but in the name of weight loss or health, they are choosing to discriminate against them.
Blogs, news outlets and media figures like Dr. Oz are busy using scare tactics about perfectly-good-for-you foods, and with far fetched promises of shedding 20 pounds in a week. Some processed foods are marketed as “healthy” but they are far from it (see one of my previous posts) while other foods are given a bad reputation, sometimes based on studies that are simply taken out of context. Well I’m here to tell you that unless you have a real food allergy or intolerance, you shouldn’t be avoiding these whole foods based on what the uninformed word is on the street.
Below is a list of 5 foods that you may be avoiding unnecessarily, when in fact they are super good for you!
Did you know that avocados are fruits? People find it kind of strange that they are a fruit and a fatty fruit at that, but you should know that while 100 grams (about half of an avocado) usually has around 15 grams of fat, the majority of this is monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to be much more likely to be used by the body as a slow burning energy source than stored as body fat when compared to saturated fat.
Avocados also contain anti-inflammatory and cholesterol reducing phytosterols, powerful antioxidants that reduce free radical damage that leads to aging and disease. They also contain a broad spectrum of vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and B vitamins like B5, B6 and folic acid. Depending on the soil they are grown in, avocados also contain valuable minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium and potassium, not to mention all of the beneficial levels of dietary fiber.
Worried about wasting a whole avocado when you only need a quarter or half an avocado? (the other half goes brown so fast!). Either brush the leftover fruit with an acidic agent such as lemon, lime or vinegar or place the leftover avocado along with half a red onion in an air-tight container in your refrigerator to delay the oxidization process.
Dieters often shy away from bananas because of the high sugar and carbohydrate content, but bananas are ridiculously healthy because they contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals and fiber. A small banana has the same calories, carbs and fiber as an apple, but also packs a mean punch of potassium (necessary for regulating fluids in the body, which is even more important for those dieting or weight-training).
For those looking to add some muscle and beat the skinny fat syndrome, the potassium in bananas helps muscles contract, releases energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates during the metabolic process, aids in the waste removal process and enhances muscle growth and control.
To most people, potatoes mean starch, lots of starch, and is the big reason they avoid them. The starch in Potatoes is quite high, but then so are the many nutrients. A medium potato has 165 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 10% of your daily iron and 70% of your daily vitamin C requirements.
The trick is to stay away from store bought fries and buy a real spud from the grocery store. Try preparing potatoes by roasting them in the oven or frying them in clarified, grass fed butter. A baked potato topped with grass-fed butter and chives is also a great healthy side dish to any protein source, since it is a complex carbohydrate and necessary for post workout muscle synthesis. Just be sure to watch your portions.
The long time misconception that eggs contain cholesterol and their yolks should be avoided has finally been debunked. It is true that a single egg has about 212mg of cholesterol (recommended daily intake has long been 300mg) but new evidence has shown that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t necessarily raise cholesterol in the blood. According to the American Egg Board, healthy individuals can eat up to two eggs per day without significantly affecting blood cholesterol levels.
In addition to being the tastiest part of the egg, yolks have as much protein as the whites, in fact a whole eggs is full of vitamins A, B5, B12, B2, D and the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin which build up in the retina and help to prevent eye disease. Eggs that are from pasture raised hens tend to have yellower yolks and higher nutrient content, so be weary of what kind of eggs you are buying.
5. Chicken Thighs
Chicken breast is lean and thus lower in calories compared to the poor chicken thigh, which has gotten a had reputation as being fatty and cheap. What most people don’t know is that dark meat is high in monounsaturated fats (that’s the good fats) and iron (the iron is what makes the meat dark) and the fact that it usually has a lower price tag is yet another reason to add this option to your diet.
The healthy fat in chicken thighs also adds taste and gives a feeling of satiety, which means that it is less likely you will overeat on carbs and fillers once you’ve finished your meal. The trick here is to skip the skin, which is actually what holds the majority of the artery-clogging fats that you should avoid.
With all this said, some people may see weight gain after eating some of the foods in the list above. This is because they are not optimizing the timing of meals or being cognizant of the portions they need for their body composition, daily exercise and activity needs. When creating meal plans for clients, I look to incorporate all of these foods into creating a balanced diet, while keeping in mind any taste or religious preferences and the all important macronutrient requirements of each individual based on specific needs of losing body fat or gaining muscle mass.
To eating Positively Well,