There are a lot of “bad foods”–foods that will do your body harm. Think high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, trans fats, and MSG, and you’ve got the picture. And then there are foods that most of us think are bad, but they’re really not. It’s all just a big misunderstanding! Here are a few of the foods I’m talking about:
When most people think of saturated fat, immediately they think of heart attacks and strokes. For decades, nutritionists and dieticians claimed that too much saturated fat was guaranteed to cause heart problems. But in recent years, the tune has changed. Saturated fat is no longer “demonized” as it once was, but it’s now understand that trans fats are the enemy. Yes, too much saturated fat can be a problem, but that’s more because it’s high in calories. You still want to limit the amount of saturated fat you consume (via animal proteins, eggs, fish, and dairy products), but it’s not the dangerous food you once thought it was.
Yes, candy is absolutely 100% terrible for your health! Anything with a lot of sugar is going to have a negative effect on your waistline, your glucose level, and your heart. But chocolate isn’t the villain. In fact, chocolate is actually a supremely healthy treat once you take the sugar out! Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids, making it one of the healthiest superfoods to eat to combat disease, aging, and a wide variety of cancers. It’s only once the sugar has been added that things start to go wrong. Dark, bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate will be wonderful for your health. As long as it’s 70% cacao or higher, you’re in for a superfood treat!
Ask any dietician or nutritionist if you should eat potatoes, and their answer will likely be “no”. Potatoes are high in starch, making them a “high carb” food–one that is almost always eliminated from low carb diets. But the starch in potatoes is actually good for your health, and the fact that potatoes are loaded with fiber means that the starch will take longer to be digested. You will find that eating potatoes gives your body a hefty chunk of energy that will get you through your tough workout, so it’s a good idea to have a bit of potatoes before training. As a bonus, they’re loaded with B vitamins that will boost your metabolism!
Caffeine is one of those things you’re supposed to avoid if you want to be healthy, right? Wrong! Coffee has been proven to offer some pretty amazing cardiovascular benefits, and may even help to reduce your glucose intolerance–leading to a reduction in your risk of diabetes. The antioxidants and flavonoids in coffee will do wonders for your brain and overall health. As long as you don’t have more than three cups of coffee (the weaker American-style stuff, not the powerful European espressos), you should have no problems!
Unless you have seriously high blood pressure, salt isn’t a problem. Healthy people have no need to worry about eating too much salt, provided they keep it around the 2,500 to 3,000 mg per day mark. Sodium helps to replace the electrolytes that you lose during a tough workout, ensuring that your body has enough liquid to avoid dehydration. Once again, as long as you don’t overdo it on the salt, you have nothing to worry about. Salt can be a great addition to your meals, and can even help you to perform better if you are working out for more than 90 minutes a day.