If you pay close attention to your diet and the foods you fuel your body with, you may think it’s relatively easy to tell healthy food apart from unhealthy options. But sometimes, all may not be as it seems, and foods which you assume aren’t healthy, are, and vice versa, of course!
When it comes to determining whether a food is healthy or not, there are many things to consider, including calorie content, nutrient density and the type of fats it contains. While there are foods which are quite obviously healthy, there are some which may surprise you, as Training and Nutrition Expert David Wiener explains...
Cheese has a bad reputation due to its high calorie and fat content, however it is a good source of calcium, protein and vitamin D. Some cheeses are healthier than others, for example, feta is at the lower end of the calorie and fat scale, and as it’s a strong-tasting cheese you don’t need to eat as much to satisfy your cheese craving. Other healthy cheese options include goats cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta and parmesan.
Although popcorn is normally viewed as a snack food, it actually does provide some nutritional benefits. First off, it is low in fat and high in fibre, and it also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals including zinc, magnesium and some B Vitamins. As with any food, make sure you stick to recommended portion sizes and pay close attention to any additional sugar or salt.
Burgers that don’t contain a high amount of fat (such as lean beef, turkey or veggie burgers) can prove that eating well doesn’t have to be boring. Burgers made from lean beef contain iron, vitamin B12 and protein which all have health benefits. Don’t get too carried away though, burgers from fast food chains and lots of ‘traditional’ burger toppings, can quickly turn a burger into an unhealthy option; as always, homemade is always better.
Ketchup undoubtedly has a high sugar and salt content, but on the flipside, it does offer some surprising health benefits. According to one study, eating ketchup two or more times a week can reduce a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by approximately 20 percent. Because of its tomato flavour, ketchup contains lycopene, an antioxidant which is believed to cut cholesterol and even boost sperm count.
Years ago, butter was a total no-no with people holding it responsible for raising cholesterol levels and clogging arteries. However, in recent years butter has fallen back into favour with people instead focusing on its health benefits, especially in comparison to other heavily processed spreads. Butter is a good source of CLA, a type of fat which could reduce the growth of certain cancers and can also decrease body fat percentage. It also contains butyrate, a short chain fatty acid which can reduce inflammation and promote digestive health. It is still important to remember that butter is high in saturated fat and calories, so as with everything else, enjoy it in moderation.
The key to a healthy diet is enjoying everything in moderation, and the same goes with the foods listed above. If you’re working towards a health or fitness goal it is important to pay close attention to your nutrition, but no food should be off limits.