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What are The Best and Worst Foods You Can Eat?

What are The Best and Worst Foods You Can Eat?

Healthy vs unhealthy foods

We’re constantly being told we should eat a ‘balanced diet’. But what exactly does that mean?

Does it mean it’s okay to eat junk food if you offset that by eating healthy food? Is that the ‘balance’? Or does it mean having a lot of variety in your diet to get all the necessary nutrients?

Here are some common foods that frequently appear at the top of healthy and unhealthy food lists:

Unhealthy: pizza, donuts, hot dogs, french fries, sausages. Anything deep fried, highly processed and containing high levels of saturated fat.

Healthy: Spinach or leafy greens, fish, broccoli, avocado, almonds, milk. Anything natural, unprocessed, high in protein and nutrients.

The Bad

 

Processed meat is one of the worst foods you can eat and that is why foods such as hot dogs are considered bad for you. You could take this one further of course, and deep fry your hot dog. Or you could go the whole hog (no pun intended) and wrap your hot dog in bacon and then deep fry it... yikes. Eating foods like this is fine on occasion, it’s just when this becomes too much part of a person’s main diet that it becomes a problem. That’s why it is necessary to strike a balance among what you put into your body.

Let’s just take a look at one of the unhealthy foods we listed above; pizza. If we made a pizza with a fish and spinach topping (2 of the healthiest foods), does that make it a healthy option? Of course the pizza still contains the usual other ingredients that make it ‘unhealthy’, ingredients that contain a lot of saturated fat and sodium. But it is still going to be a much better choice than a pizza laden with processed meat and extra cheese. Pizza gets a bad rep because a lot of the store-bought and frozen pizzas have poor nutritional qualities, but that doesn’t mean all pizzas are or have to be bad. It really depends how they are made and what they contain. Okay, next!

 

Who doesn’t enjoy a scrumptious donut? And please, don’t hold back on account of this article. If however, you’re a paranoid health freak, who thinks dinner should be a plate of vitamins, head over to this She Finds article for an education on why you should never eat a donut again, like ever. This article is irritating and it made me want to actually eat a donut after I’d read it. I mean, I’m not advocating snacking on donuts every day, or even every other day, but to suggest you shouldn’t enjoy a donut ever again because they are rarely served fresh or because they may lead to weight gain, is just silly. Like duh.

 

French fries… Another ‘are they really that bad?’ food. What’s unhealthy about potato? It’s a vegetable and potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Well, it turns out anything that is deep fried and showered with salt cannot possibly be good for you. My advice is just not to eat fries too frequently, but…… if you never ever want to eat French Fries again, like ever, She Finds have done a number on this one too. For an interesting comparison however, check out the part of this article on avocados, below. I was totally surprised.

So that’s four ‘bad’ foods you shouldn’t eat too often, but what about the foods on the good list?

The Good

Let’s go! Spinach. There’s a reason Popeye gets his insane strength. Yes, he’s strong to the finish because he eats his spinach, just ask Olive Oyl. Seriously though, spinach is packed full of nutrients like iron, vitamin E and C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Spinach may not be everyone’s favorite, but there are loads of ways this can be cooked and incorporated into many dishes. For 40 spinach recipes that absolutely don’t suck, head over to Delish.

 

When it comes to food that isn’t a fruit, vegetable or nut, it seems there isn’t much else healthier than fish. Fish has been part of man’s diet throughout human history, in all parts of the world. Fish is a good source of easily digestible protein, omega-3, and many other nutrients. There are two main categories of fish people eat, and those are whitefish and oily fish, with the latter being a much richer source of omega-3, while whitefish contains much less fat at around 1% or less. Both have the same amount of protein at 23g per 100g.

 

Everyone knows broccoli is healthy, and it’s even been suggested that it is the only vegetable you need to eat, why is that? Broccoli is nutrient-rich, and high in fiber and vitamins that boost the immune system. It also contains more protein than most other vegetables. It’s versatile and can be cooked and used in dishes in a variety of ways. The Times of India have an in-depth article on the benefits of eating broccoli. For the culinary inclined, head to Delish again for 38 recipe ideas that, according to Delish, even broccoli haters won’t hate!

 

Rarely are foods that are high in fat good for you, but the avocado is an exception. In fact, as surprising as it sounds, an avocado contains the same amount of fat per 100g as french fries, about 15g. Even the saturated fat content is more or less the same, as french fries come in at 2.3g and avocados just a tiny bit less at 2.1g per 100g. In fact, in a side-by-side comparison, french fries contain more protein, vitamin B6, potassium and slightly more iron and magnesium than avocado. So why are avocados healthy and french fries deemed unhealthy? The difference comes down to calories, carbohydrates and dietary fiber, with the first two significantly lower in the avocado, and the last one, fiber, being almost double that of what’s in french fries. And let’s not forget sodium, which is of course way higher with the fries, although this is an added ingredient to the finished product and could be easily reduced or eliminated.

Take a look at the side by side nutrition sheets for a comparison. Salt content aside, are french fries really that bad? Let’s not forget that avocados are touted as one the best foods you can eat and french fries as one of the worst. There are several nutrients where the humble potato beats the avocado.

Avocados vs french fries, per 100g

 

What’s your opinion on the healthy vs unhealthy food debate? Of course eating healthy food is important, we all should. But that shouldn’t stop us from sometimes enjoying foods deemed unhealthy, just don’t make the foods on that list become take over your whole diet! And indeed, exercise is pretty important too for a healthy lifestyle.

Thanks for reading. Let us know if you have any thoughts about what we’ve posted here, or if there are any particular foods, healthy or unhealthy that you can’t get enough of, or you avoid completely.

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