Do you remember that time when you were just placidly enjoying that dark, yummy chocolate bar and your gymaholic friend scolded you for it? If you’ve been working on getting fit, eating healthier or losing some extra weight, you have surely heard that sort of comment at any moment during your journey. “Don’t eat bananas—they are filled with sugar”, “ban carbs of your shopping list”, “say goodbye to bread.” These rules that somehow we just accept—no matter how hard—because we really do strive to be thinner, stronger or healthier might not be actually necessary. We tend to follow our super-fit senior friend’s advice since they supposedly know better, but here it’s the good news: as it turns out, nutrition is relative; it changes its rules depending on what you want to achieve for your body or your overall health. So, easily put—there are no set-in-stone rules. Nutrition can be misleading on occasions, especially with so much information online. As a consequence, tips and diets have gotten all mixed up, and some actually healthy good have been labeled as “don’t-even-think-of-it” options. Here we will be debunking some myths about the food you love but maybe you have stopped eating fearing it might mess up with your diet.
Before you say “you’re kidding”, let us explain. Yes, chocolate is the first snack we scratch out of our list when we set our minds to be fitter. Nevertheless, this tasty and sugary friend can become even a better option than high-calorie or over-sugary protein bars. In fact, doctors often recommend eating dark chocolate, which is made mostly from cacao beans. Dark chocolate has a high antioxidant content, it may help to prevent cancer, improve your heart health and even your cholesterol profile and blood pressure. It is considered a superfood that will boost your focus and memory, studies reveal. Do not remove it from your list completely!
First thing you read about avocados: they are high, really high, in fat. Reason enough to avoid guacamole at parties or stop adding this delicious fruit to your meals. But, let’s rewind a bit. After all, your body still needs fat to work properly, around 25% of your daily food intake in fact. We cannot suppress fat from our meals—the key is to eat just enough and to eat the healthy ones. And guess what? Avocados are just that. They are monounsaturated fat which is good for your body and your cholesterol. They also have fiber, potassium and vitamins. You can actually eat avocados every day if you measure your portions right (about two or three slices. Nothing more, nothing less.)
If you told a marathon runner they couldn’t eat pasta because it is unhealthy, you would probably get the most confused-looking reaction. Ever. This is actually a popular meal for that sort of sport, since it contains enough carbs to fuel the body for an upcoming race. It is undeniable true though that pasta is high on carbs, thus why it is generally not included on diet plans. However, it is not black and white when it comes to noodles—it all lies in just how smart you are when you eat it. If you choose whole-grain pasta (which is delicious by the way) instead of regular pasta, you will benefit from a lower-calorie meal that contains fiver, selenium, and micronutrients. Pasta is also cholesterol-free and low in sodium.
Among all the fruits there are grown in this world, bananas contain one of the highest amounts of sugar, along with pineapples or pears. They are, however, very nutritious with lots of fiber and antioxidants. There is a whole debate whether this meal is good or bad for your body. Something to keep in mind: when you eat bananas, you’re getting potassium, vitamin B6, C, magnesium, fiber and other healthy nutrients to your body. In other words, it is a cocktail of benefits for your health! It’s a great option to eat to recover after workouts, for example, or as a snack. Be careful though: just one banana is more than good, two or three are an excess of carbs you don’t want.
What would the world be without that just-baked bread on your breakfast table? Nevertheless, we are banned from eating bread when we want to lose weight. While it is a fact that white bread does not bring enough nutrients to the table for the calories it provides, there are healthier options we can turn to if you feel like eating a slice once in a while. How to make bread healthy? Let’s just search for the whole-grain options on the market; they are a good source of fiber and will provide your body with more fuel to go through the day. Be alert: do not be fooled by the package. There are a lot of “healthy” breads out there that are actually not healthy at all. Check the nutrition facts label and confirm they are made of whole wheat flour entirely and not just a little bit. This ingredient should be the first one listed if the bread was truly made out of whole wheat completely.
It is the stress of not knowing what is good and what is bad what makes people give up healthy eating or their fitness goals… even more when we have to say goodbye to all we knew as food. The key, what is really important, is to balance the scale—we can eat chocolates once in a while without feeling like traitors, we can eat avocados as long as we are aware of our portions, we can snack fruits but just the amount we need, and surely we can eat pasta or bread once a week, our body and mind will thank us! Diets vary if a person wishes to lose fat, gain muscle, be thinner, be healthier. Although sometimes it might feel overwhelming to know the entire nutrient information of something before taking a bite, it might help if you just look at it the simplest way possible. American author Michael Polland defines it just perfectly: “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” A short phrase to say eat the less processed food you can find, the more veggies the better, and always leave the table a little hungry—that is all you need!
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