Eggs have lots of protein and other good-for-you nutrients. But what about all that cholesterol? A single egg has more than 400 milligrams. Even so, there's little evidence that eating eggs ups your risk for heart disease or stroke. One egg a day is probably OK. Just pay attention to the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat. That's what raises cholesterol.
Many people like to jumpstart the day with a fresh cup of coffee. It doesn't raise your risk of cancer or heart disease (but research shows unfiltered, or French press, coffee may raise cholesterol). It might even have benefits, like curbing your appetite and lowering the risk of certain conditions, including Parkinson's disease and gallstones. Up to five cups of coffee a day is OK if the caffeine doesn't bother you, you're not pregnant, and you're not loading it with cream, sugar, or syrups.
Is that milk chocolate candy bar good for you? No. But dark chocolate is a little better. It has antioxidants. And there's evidence it can help with heart health, diabetes, brain function, and more. But be sure to read the label. These benefits don't apply unless the chocolate is at least 70% cacao.
Red wine contains heart-healthy resveratrol. So do grapes, apples, raspberries, and other fruits. But the amount of resveratrol you get from the occasional or even daily glass of wine isn't enough to make any real difference to your health. It's fine to drink red wine in moderation if you enjoy it. But if you don't already, there's no need to start. Keep in mind that drinking too much alcohol, even red wine, isn't healthy.
A small steak has more than 40 grams of protein along with nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B12. But it also has a good bit of saturated fat and cholesterol. There's evidence that red meat comes with a greater risk for stroke, heart disease, and some cancers. Processed meats like sausage, bacon, and salami are especially unhealthy. Limit red meat to about 12 to 18 ounces per week. Choose leaner cuts and avoid processed versions.
The whole grains in bread can be a good source of nutrition and fiber. They also lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other conditions. But most packaged breads don't have much, if any. One clue the grains are refined and not whole is if the package says "enriched." Experts recommend that at least half the grains you eat come from whole grains.
It's best to choose dark leafy greens over iceberg lettuce. Avoid things like croutons or wonton strips. Dress your salad with vinegar (or lemon juice) and heart-healthy olive oil instead of high-fat ranch or other creamy condiments.
They don't seem like health food. But potatoes are actually a good source of low-fat carbohydrate energy with some protein. They have plenty of vitamins including vitamin C and potassium. And the skin is a great source of fiber. Sweet potatoes are even better with four times your daily vitamin A. But watch how you cook and top them. A baked or roasted potato is a better choice than fries.
They're a good source of protein. But beware of added sugar, salt, and fat. Processed and packaged foods generally aren't as good for you as whole foods. If you eat well for the most part, chances are you don't really need the extra protein. Read the label to help you decide if your bar is truly healthy. If you're not sure, try a handful of nuts instead.
Orange juice has lots of vitamin C and potassium. Some orange juices also have added calcium. But fruit juices can have as much sugar as soda. It's OK to drink them in moderation. But it's even better to eat whole fruits, which have the fiber that's missing in juice. Eat an orange or blend one into a smoothie instead.
Diet and Nutrition: Are These Foods Good for You or Not?
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