5 foods that are a lot of healthier than you think

We aren’t about ‘fad diets’ at Beattitude, nor are we fans of calling foods ‘bad’ – it’s not as if they’ve done something naughty! 

Looking at food in a negative way can be damaging and could see you lacking in essential nutrients and ultimately end up doing more harm than good. We are going to take a look at some foods which are commonly avoided and thought of as ‘unhealthy, but these are foods that you really don’t need to be taking out of your diet. Despite what you might read online, these 5 foods are actually packed full of nutrients!

 

DAIRY

Unless you are vegan or have an intolerance to lactose, dairy is great to include into your diet. There is often a misconception with dairy products that they are fattening. However, dairy products contain many essential nutrients. 

Milk, cheese and yoghurt are all great sources of protein. Not only are they the main building blocks of our bodies and therefore essential but also will help you to feel fuller for longer, which may help prevent you from overeating. Due to their protein content, they also help to repair and rebuild muscles, which is going to help with recovery and prevent injuries occurring. 

Dairy is also one of the primary sources of calcium in our diets, which is vital for building and maintaining strong bones throughout life. Maximising bone health in earlier years is going to help to prevent developing osteoporosis later in life, which will also help prevent fractures. 

If you do avoid dairy products due to an intolerance or following a vegan diet, then be sure to include plant alternatives into your diet that are fortified with nutrients such as calcium, B vitamins and vitamin D. 

 

MEAT

Whilst a plant-based diet can sustain us, there is no need to completely avoid meat if you enjoy it. 

Red meat, eaten in moderation, is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, zinc and haem iron. Adequate iron intake is vital for blood production and particularly important for women. The iron found in meat is more easily absorbed than iron in plant sources such as in beans. Lean meats such as poultry are also a great source of protein and B vitamins, as well as being low in saturated fat. 

The bottom line is that meat can definitely be included as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Simply try to choose lean cuts where you can and limit your portions throughout the week. 

 

BREAD

Possibly the most talked about food in the ‘fad diet’ world. A food that is so often feared and completely avoided yet it offers so many nutrients. 

Particularly looking at wholegrain breads and those which are packed with seeds, these can provide us with a great source of fibre. On average, fibre is something we don’t consume enough of in the UK. As a nation we consume, on average, between 18-20g per day, yet we are advised to consume 30g per day. Having a slice of wholegrain toast with your eggs in the morning is definitely going to help boost your daily fibre intake. 

Fibre is important for good gut health and helps to keep things moving through your body, preventing constipation, as well as helping to support good gut bacteria. 

As well as fibre, choosing whole grain versions of bread is going to help provide essential heart-healthy fats as well as grains and seeds which will provide protein. Both fats and protein together help to slow the release of energy from the carbohydrates found in bread, helping to manage your blood sugar levels. Whereas a slice of white toast with honey for example is simply going to provide you with a brief spike of energy. 

So you can definitely include bread as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Make sure to opt for whole grain versions where you can and be mindful of portion sizes throughout your day. 

 

PASTA 

Just like bread, patsa is another food which is commonly feared and often removed from our diets. However, just like bread, pasta is another great source of carbohydrates. 

Many associate pasta with being high in calories, however, I can promise you it isn’t the pasta itself. We tend to have a thing for consuming double portions when it comes to pasta, as well as thick, creamy sauces – oh and not to mention the mountain of cheese that gets thrown on top!

So next time you cook pasta for lunch or dinner, just be a little more mindful. Weigh out your dry pasta portion size so that you don’t end up eating for two. Then focus on your sauce and opt for tomato based sauces using whole tomatoes or fresh tomatoes and use low fat creme fraiche instead of double cream. Then when it comes to cheese, try not to go overboard. Just a sprinkle of low fat cheese will do the job. These simple tips can take your pasta dish of up to 1000 calories down to under 500 calories. 

Just to put things into perspective for you, the pesto penne pasta found in a very common pizza chain restaurant (not calling anyone out here but you should be able to guess which one I’m referring to) comes to over 1000 calories! That is just one meal, and not including the garlic bread you had before, the chocolate pudding after… or the glass of wine!

So don’t say no to pasta entirely, just think of your portion size and what you are choosing to serve it with. 

 

POTATOES

The humble potato is another great carbohydrate source. In case you haven’t caught on yet, I want you to know that carbs shouldn’t be feared and it’s important that you include them as part of a healthy, balanced diet. 

Nowadays, all we seem to hear about is sweet potatoes being superior to ordinary white potatoes. Yes, sweet potatoes are delicious and they have a great depth of flavour, as well as being a great source of vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. However, I am not sure what happened to our trusty white potatoes because they are also packed with nutrients. Eaten with the skin on provides a great source of fibre as well as many vitamins and minerals. A great source of potassium, vitamin C, folate and vitamin B6. 

So you can include all types of potatoes in your diet and they are also fairly filling, which is great if losing weight is your goal. 

 

BOTTOM LINE

See how your body reacts when eating these foods. How do you feel before and after? Look at the composition of your meals, and make sure you are fuelling your body in a balanced way!

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