Do you feel guilty for having already abandoned your New Year’s resolution to give up chocolate or cheese?
Fear nothing. Many foods that we assume are bad for us — including cheddar cheese and candy bars — may actually provide our bodies with significant health benefits.
“We tend to view food as either good or bad for us,” Lisa Young, a New York University registered dietitian and author of “Finally Full, Finally Thin,” told The Post.
However, she says, such thinking isn’t necessarily helpful — or, well, healthy.
“Usually a small portion of [any] the food is okay,” she said.
And it turns out that many of our favorite bites are more than okay – they’re packed with vital nutrients. Looked.
“They get bad press because of the fries, which are a white potato shape,” Young told the Post. “But the white potatoes themselves [aren’t bad].”
“A baked potato has tons of fiber and potassium,” she continued. Plus, each is a single unit, making portion control simple.
Just beware of going overboard with indulgent toppings. Instead of the usual sour cream and chives, substitute protein-rich Greek yogurt and fresh vegetables, such as chopped tomatoes or spinach.
Sure, the beloved pre-dinner snack is high in calories, but that doesn’t mean you should never say “cheese.”
It “provides protein [and] calcium, so there’s definitely a place in the diet for cheese,” Young said.
Harder cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, and blue cheeses are generally healthier than softer cheeses like brie because they contain more calcium.
Additionally, aged cheeses have been identified as helping to aid digestion and boost immunity.
“Raw and pasteurized cheeses contain good bacteria that can benefit the human gut microbiota,” said Adam Brock, vice president of food safety, quality and regulatory compliance for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Washington. Post.
Those who consume cheese and whole dairy products have also been found to reduce their risk of developing diabetes or hypertension. A 2020 study – which surveyed more than 145,000 people in 21 countries – found that consuming two daily servings of dairy products of any kind reduced the risk posed by either condition by 11% at 24 %.
If you opt for a hazelnut spread that only contains peanuts – and does not contain additives such as salt, sugar, almonds or palm oil – this is an excellent snack.
“Natural peanut butter is one of the healthiest foods for you,” Young said. “[Nuts] are high in polyunsaturated fats – so they’re good for you.
According to the American Heart Association, polyunsaturated fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
A scoop of PB is also known to satisfy and suppress your appetite, and is a fairly balanced source of energy, containing the three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which your body needs to stay healthy.
“It’s healthy to indulge in a small serving of a treat every once in a while,” Young said.
She noted that dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more contains antioxidants, which help prevent or slow damage to cells in the body caused by free radicals – waste products that can harm cells and function in the body.
There is more good news. A study published in the journal BMJ Heart in 2017 found that those who ate chocolate in small amounts – around once a week – were less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.
Give them a break. Eggs are a great source of protein when eaten in moderation — and ideally without bacon or fried hash browns.
Additionally, Young said, “Eggs contain lutein [which supports eye and brain health], vitamin E, choline – there are a lot of nutrients. Many nutrients are found in the yolk, so don’t just go for the whites.
While yolks are high in cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic notes that eating eggs does not appear to raise a person’s cholesterol the way foods high in saturated fat do.
A 2019 study from the University of Tours in France even found that peptides eggs contain reduce blood pressure.
There’s little harm in spreading a tablespoon or two of the creamy stuff on your toast every morning, Young said.
It can help build calcium and it’s also a good source of vitamin A — which is important for skin health and immune function — and vitamin E, which is important for vision and reproduction, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“[The health benefits of butter come down to] a quantity issue,” Young said. “In moderate amounts [it can be] to be in perfect health.