What seems like it should be the simplest thing in the world — knowing what to eat — isn’t always so cut and dry. Some food that’s previously gotten a bad rap has turned out not to be so bad after all. But can be hard to decipher what is and isn’t OK to eat when the rules seem to be ever-changing.
These five foods were considered questionable for a time, but nowadays, health experts say they deserve a second chance, because they actually are healthy. But keep in mind that those same experts say that as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to eat whole foods that are rich in nutrients, unprocessed and free of chemical additives.
Though they were previously given a bad rap for their cholesterol content, it seems experts’ opinions on eggs have come full circle. These individually-sized powerhouses pack a whopping 6 grams of protein and only 75 calories per serving. An excellent source of vitamins A, D, B12 and choline, eggs are a healthy option for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Although they have roughly 210 milligrams of cholesterol, the cholesterol in eggs don’t negatively affect the body the same way other sources of cholesterol do. Just don’t eat eggs regularly with other “best-in-moderation” items like cheese, butter or bacon.
Despite what the critics say, not all carbs are bad, and consuming bread is typically A-OK. Whole wheat or whole grain bread is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, as well as B vitamins, magnesium and iron. Whole-grain foods help lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease and can create a feeling of fullness that can help with weight loss due to their fiber content. In total, whole wheat slices should grant you about five grams of fiber.
Be sure to swap white bread for a whole grain alternative to maximize your nutrition intake. Look for labels with simple, recognizable ingredients and watch out for added sugars.
In some ways, soy has been hailed as a health food, known to calm hot flashes, protect against osteoporosis and some hormonal cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer. However there are other schools of thought that say too much of it can be a bad thing. Some of the confusion about the health benefits of soybeans stems from the ways in which it’s been studied. However scientists largely agree that this nutrient-dense source of protein is safe to consume several times per week. This is especially true when it’s used to replace eating other animal proteins that are high in saturated fat. Experts say to focus on consuming whole soy food, such as edamame, tofu and soy milk, rather than soy protein powders.
Rich in protein and fiber, peanuts have been shunned in the past because of their high fat content. However, most of the fats they contain are “good fats” that can help lower cholesterol levels. You might be surprised to hear that peanuts aren’t actually nuts, they’re classified as legumes, along with soybeans, lentils and green peas. These little nuggets of goodness have been known to stop small blood clots from forming and reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Given a bad rap for years now, red meat is actually quite healthy when eaten in moderation. A great source of vitamin B12 and zinc, red meat comes from non-fowl mammals like cows and bison.
Beef protein is complete, meaning it contains the essential amino acids that humans need to receive from food. However, it can also high in saturated fat, which can cause adverse health effects. Choose leaner, unprocessed cuts of meats that are hormone free, organic or free-range when possible to help up the health factor. Processed cuts, like deli meats, are high in nitrates and sodium, which can be bad for you. When eating red meat be sure to keep consumption to a max of 2 servings per week.