It’s healthy!

Unfairly labelled ‘unhealthy’, potatoes, peanut butter, dark chocolates and the likes, are actually loaded with benefits, writes Luke Coutinho

ghee

Fresh vegetables, fruits, whole foods, dairy products, nuts, and meat are all meant to provide nourishment and energy. A lot of them do good to a human body, a few of them not quite, but none damage the body as processed junk foods are loaded with an excess of salt, sugar, trans fat and other preservatives.

There are a lot of real edible food items that have also been written off as unhealthy. We make a case for a few of them who are misleadingly accused and are actually healthy and may do you a whole lot of good.

Potatoes 

Potatoes, when not deep fried, offer a lot of health aids. One of the healthiest foods, the big old potato comprises of 160 calories and is filled with important nutrients like Vitamin B and iron, Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and fibre. Their reputation as a waist-widening starch is what is feared; however, they are also a source of a fat-burning carb called resistant starch, that triggers the body to burn more fat. The best way to preserve the nutrients when cooking potatoes is to bake and roast them rather than boil. Since potatoes are alkaline in nature, drinking raw potato juice helps neutralise stomach acids and soothe stomach aches. Being one of the best anti-inflammatory juices, it also helps reduce inflammation and alleviate pain in cases of arthritis.

Ghee

Ghee is an ingredient which can also be associated with mother’s love in every Indian household. This super nutritious element is also known as clarified butter. It has five calories more when compared to a teaspoon of olive oil, but delivers an intense taste. Ghee is full of fat-soluble vitamins and healthy fatty acids, and offers an amazing spectrum of health benefits that can range from building stronger bones to enhancing weight loss. A butyric acid is a group of short-chain fatty acids found in ghee that is beneficial to the gastrointestinal tract. Consuming foods like ghee that are high in butyric acid, helps digestion, lubricates joints, fights gut inflammation and improves overall gastrointestinal health.

Egg with yolk

Not just whites, not just yolks, but the whole egg with the whites and yolk is extremely healthy. These golden orbs are a nutrition powerhouse and contain three grams of protein, Vitamin D, phosphorous, riboflavin, choline, along with many other vitamins and minerals. Choline, an anti-inflammatory nutrient vital for neurological purposes helps produce the ‘happiness’ hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Egg yolks are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that protect against vision loss. Also, contrary to popular belief, the yolk has unsaturated
fat in it. 

Peanut butter

Most of the processed peanut butters have added sugars and oils that can have addictive, harmful effects. So, we aren’t talking about the processed ones which one may find at the supermarket. The healthy gooeyness made at home are the ones which you can opt for. Peanut butter contains healthy fats, protein and fibre that helps you stay satiated for long. The healthy unsaturated fats reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and lower the risk of heart disease. It is also a high-protein food with lots of Vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Dark chocolate

The healthy alternative of sugar-laden milk chocolate is dark chocolate, it’s like a lighter sibling which is loaded with nutrients and can positively affect your health. It is rich in micronutrients like fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Dark chocolate is overloaded with powerful biologically active organic compounds like polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins that function as antioxidants. The sour tasting chocolate may help lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease as well. Apart from these, the bitter treat can help enhance the mood and stimulate production of endorphins. The ingredient gets its aphrodisiac properties from tryptophan and phenylethylamine that helps in boosting sexual wellness.

Popcorn

Did you ever imagine that your favourite movie snack, if devoid of the excess salt, butter, caramel, and other flavourings is one of the most nutritious foods containing fibre, antioxidants, Vitamin B, and manganese? These translate to health benefits that include regulated blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, improved digestive process, offer protection against osteoporosis, prevent cognitive decline, prevent premature ageing, and help in weight loss. To gain the right health benefits, it is imperative
that you use quality kernels, from organic, non-genetically modified maize corn and pop it the right way in a microwave or in a pan. As usual, it’s time for a mandatory disclaimer now. Even as the above-listed foods are healthy, anything consumed in excess may harm your body. Always adhere to a small portion or serving size and avoid overindulgence.

(The author is adviser, Integrative Lifestyle & Nutrition, Purenutrition.me)

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