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9 bad foods that can actually be good for you

Abandon the guilt and dig in for the sake of your health

brunch Updated: Jan 27, 2018 22:58 IST
Lovneet Batra
Lovneet Batra
Hindustan Times
Healthy foods,Carrot halwa,Ghee
Carrot halwa is one of the yummiest ways to eat your veggies while staying fit(Shutterstock)

The problem with scientific studies about food is that sometimes they get things wrong. For example, eggs were once seen as healthy, then really bad for you, and now they are healthy again. While it is ridiculous to discount every new finding, here’s a look at nine food ‘risks’ that turn out to be not risky at all.

Ghee: One of the most powerful healing foods, but sadly often seen only as a threat to your heart. It is in fact rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which helps alleviate inflammation, burn belly fat and strengthen your bones. Tired of feeling bloated with your all-time salad diet?

Ghee can be ideal for deep frying ( Shutterstock )

Try cooking your vegetables in ghee. Butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid ghee contains, promotes gut health and relieves IBS. It has a high smoke point (the temperature at which an oil begins to oxidise and form harmful free radicals), which makes it ideal for deep-frying.

Coffee: They say money can’t buy happiness but it sure can buy coffee and that’s pretty close. Research shows that coffee drinkers are about 10 per cent less likely to be depressed and just smelling coffee could make you less stressed.

You can consume coffee before workout ( Shutterstock )

It makes you feel good because of the antioxidants it contains, not simply a “caffeine high”. However, it is best to restrict yourself to a maximum of two cups a day. Avoid waking up to it, and ideally, consume it pre workout.

Pickles: Ever been asked to stay away from pickles to expedite weight loss?

Pickles can lower blood glucose levels ( Shutterstock )

Well, this method of food preservation does involve oil, salt and spices, but the by-product prepared with utmost care is a fermented fruit or vegetable, which has a probiotic effect, aids digestion and retains antioxidants. An Indian meal is incomplete without homemade pickle, and the good news is that this lowers blood glucose levels after the meal.

Potato: Since the rise of low carb ketogenic diets, consuming potatoes is almost considered a crime. Carbs are our primary source of fuel and potatoes are our source of carbs, potassium, antioxidants, Vitamin C and magnesium, which makes it a prefect pre-workout snack.

Cold potatoes are an healthy option ( iStock )

Contrary to popular myth, potatoes have zero fat. However if you are still scared to eat potatoes, enjoy them cold. Yes, cold potatoes make resistant starch, which acts as fibre, lowering sugar absorption per serving.

Cashew: Just like almonds and walnuts, cashews are rich in healthy fats, essential minerals and vitamins, but somehow they are the only nuts tagged as unhealthy. They have zero cholesterol, and help lower bad LDL cholesterol in the body while increasing good HDL cholesterol.

It is a myth that cashew nuts are unhealthy ( Shutterstock )

Being rich in zinc, selenium and antioxidants, they can give you glowing skin and stronger hair. They are a good source of copper, which is needed for proper thyroid functioning. Keep them handy in your bag for a quick, in-between meals snack.

Pinni: This Punjabi traditional sweet is made with wholewheat flour, Bengal gram flour, ghee, nuts, gondh (edible gum), ajwain, fenugreek seeds and lots of love at home.

Pinni can be a healthy snack for the ones with a sweet tooth ( iStock )

This combination of ingredients keeps you full for longer while fighting winter sugar cravings. It’s an energy booster, can strengthen your bones and muscles, and stabilise hormonal imbalance. Make it part of your morning ritual to brighten up your day.

Paneer paratha: It’s a complete package for someone too busy to eat a proper meal. It gives you just the right amount and ratio of carbs, protein and fats in one go.

Paneer paratha is as healthy as it is tasty ( iStock )

So, the next time you need to skip a meal due to your busy schedule, think paneer paratha without feeling guilty.

Carrot halwa: One of the yummiest ways to eat your veggies while staying fit. Made with carrots, milk, jaggery and ghee, it is a recipe for beautiful skin and hair. The milk proteins and fats support healthy insulin levels, leading to steady glucose absorption by the cells and warding off sugar cravings.

The yummy gajar ka halwa is packed with healthy ingredients ( Shutterstock )

Not all sugar is bad. What matters is the type of sugar you consume, how you combine it with other ingredients, and the time you eat it. Enjoy this as a snack between meals instead of indulging right after a main meal.

Rajma chawal: Something so delicious has to be sinful?

Rajma-chawal is one of the healthiest meals ( Shutterstock )

No, not at all! In fact, it is one of the healthiest meals in a bowl. Rajma is rich in plant-based proteins and fibre, which can help reduce the risk for diabetes and heart disease. However, it is low in essential amino acid methionine, which is present in rice. Together, they make a complete protein.

(The author is a clinical nutritionist based out of Delhi and is a consultant with Fortis Healthcare)

From HT Brunch, January 28, 2018

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First Published: Jan 27, 2018 20:31 IST