5 'Unhealthy' Foods That Actually Aren't That Bad For You
Thought chocolate, coffee, red wine and butter were bad for you? Think again.
Obviously, stuffing your face with all of the above isn't the best idea for your general wellbeing, but just like how some 'healthy' foods aren't so good for your body, some 'unhealthy' foods have surprising hidden health benefits.
We spoke to nutritionist Eve Kalinik to get the low-down on the health benefits of our favourite 'treat' foods - it's good news if you're a fan of butter.
Coffee is officially good for your brain, heart and liver.
Research suggest that coffee has neurodegenerative preventative properties linked to conditions such as Parkinson’s and Dementia. It has also been associated with protecting against Type 2 diabetes and liver and heart diseases.
But it's also good for keeping you super alert: Eve says: "Coffee blocks the inhibitory brain chemical adenosine - this switches your other neurotransmitters up a notch and hence sharper thinking. That doesn’t mean five cups a day but for most people 1 cup in the morning is a good guide to getting the benefits."
And before you reach for that pot of coffee in the kitchen, listen up: Eve recomments her clients go for for "fresh, organic and where you can fair trade. Instant doesn’t count!".
Eve reveals that red wine "can be supportive in terms of its anti-coagulant and cholesterol reducing potential". Hurrah!
But don't reach for the bottle just yet - this is ONE glass per day though and obviously not if you have any history of conditions where alcohol may be contra-indicative or you are pregnant.
"If you can go for the biodynamic and even better no added sulphite ones its the cleanest and purest stuff you can get. Check out purewineonline.co.uk for more info" says Eve.
High percentage cocoa is apparently a decent source of magnesium and iron - which is why we crave it at certain times of the month. Therefore Eve is all for eating chocolate - albeit a bar with "a minimum 70% cocoa content with no added sugar":
"Cocoa is also loaded with antioxidants and there are some suggestions that it can have cardiovascular benefits such as helping to improve blood flow" she says. "Even better is to add pure raw cocoa or cacao powder into your own recipes to really get its health benefits".
Yay! Butter is good for you. "Organic unsalted butter (in moderation) is one of the best fats you can have since it contains vitamins A, E and K as well as butyrate fatty acid" Eve says.
So don't fear fat - and use butter in cooking. "We do need healthy saturated fats in the diet as they help support metabolism as well as many other vital processes. And aside from coconut oil, butter should really be the only fat you are heating at high temperatures" Eve adds.
"Yes that bottle of olive oil may look nice next to the stove but you should really keep all these cold pressed oils in dark glass bottles, dark cupboards and drizzle over AFTER cooking to prevent denaturing and rancidity."
Processed meat is in the papers for all the wrong reasons at the moment - but "lean meats that are organic and grass fed are highly nutritious" says Eve. They provide "good sources of protein and omega 3 essential fatty acids that help support anti-inflammatory processes". Serve up with a side of broccoli or spinach with your meat as the two help improve the uptake of nutrients from one another.