12 Foods Dubbed Unhealthy That Are Nutrient Powerhouses

Over the years, plenty of foods have been villainized by your parents while growing up or what you saw on TV commercials and in movies. However, you will be surprised to know that many of these foods are healthy.

Read on to learn about 12 foods that seem unhealthy but surprisingly are healthy.

Egg Yolks

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For the longest time, it was believed that egg yolks are high in fat and cholesterol and they are harmful. However, the medical fraternity has confirmed that dietary cholesterol does not translate into high levels of blood cholesterol. 

While Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not specify the number of eggs to be eaten per day, eating an egg every day is not a problem. Egg yolk also contains protein, vitamins, and minerals. Hence, ditch the trend of egg-white omelets and go for the real deal. Remember not to pair it with processed meats such as bacon, which is high in sodium and saturated fats.

Frozen Vegetables

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Frozen vegetables have long been vilified for lacking nutrition. Frozen pizza or ice cream can be unhealthy, but not frozen vegetables. These vegetables are picked and harvested at their ripest state when their nutrient content is highest. They are then flash-frozen with all their minerals intact making them more nutritious than fresh produce. Frozen vegetables are a convenient addition to your diet if you avoid those packed with salt and sugar.


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Plenty of people steer clear of bread because it’s high in carbs. However, your body gets energy from carbohydrates. Also, grain-rich, millet-rich, or fiber-rich breads offer more nutritional value and sometimes are lower in carbs. Also, pick your bread wisely; it should have more than 3 g of dietary fiber per serving. 


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Potatoes are seen as starchy vegetables and are often maligned. Potatoes are complex carbs that break down slowly, and as a result, provide long-lasting energy. Potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should eat starchy vegetables several times a week. However how you cook the potatoes matters. Baking, broiling, and steaming work well, especially if you leave the skin on. However, fries or baked potatoes slathered in butter or saturated fat ruin the purpose.


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Chocolate receives a lot of bad press because of its high fat and sugar content. Its consumption is also associated with medical conditions including diabetes, coronary health disease, and hypertension. However, eating dark chocolate has a lot of benefits. It contains high levels of antioxidants and flavanols. It also lowers cholesterol levels, prevents cognitive decline, reduces the risk of strokes and cardiovascular problems, and boosts fetal growth and athletic performance. It is better to stick to dark chocolate and consume it in moderation.


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Popcorn can be one of the unhealthiest snacks, especially movie theatre popcorn, cooked in cheap oils and saturated with artificial butter or cheese or coated in sugar, which is very high in salt and dense in calories. On the other hand, air-popped corn or corn popped at home with minimum use of oil or butter is a healthy snack because it’s whole grain. According to the American Heart Association, popcorn is rich in fiber and low in calories. Just make sure not to load with unhealthy toppings.


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No food group has received such a bad rap as gluten. But gluten isn’t evil. It is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye that gives dough structure and stretch. Gluten is linked to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and boosting heart health. Gluten also acts as a prebiotic feeding the “good” bacteria in your body. Unless you have celiac disease or are gluten-sensitive, it doesn’t make sense to avoid it. Maybe it’s time to enjoy your whole-grain pasta or bread.

Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat, which is a higher percentage than butter, beef fat, and even lard. Too much saturated fat in the diet can raise your LDL (or bad) cholesterol. However, coconut oil can raise your HDL (or good) cholesterol. However, consume coconut oil sparingly and rotate it with other oils like olive and avocado.


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Early studies suggested that coffee could lead to heart health issues. However, as per the 2021 paper at Harvard’s School of Public Health, moderate coffee intake (about 2-5 cups a day) is linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, liver and endometrial cancers, and depression. Exercise caution while adding cream, sugar, syrups, MCT oil, and butter.

Peanut Butter

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Peanut butter has saturated fat, but so does olive oil, tofu, and wheat germ. Look at the entire content of nutrients that peanut butter offers like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Stick to unsalted peanut butter with 5 mg of sodium.

White Rice

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It is a common misconception that white rice is empty calories because it loses all its nutrition when the bran and germs are removed. While it is true that brown rice has more fiber, magnesium, and phosphorous compared to white rice, white rice is packed with iron and B vitamins. Even when you eat refined white rice, you still get a good dose of soluble fiber and less arsenic vis-à-vis brown rice.


happy family at kitchen, daughter with father sitting at table with pancakes and looking at each other when daughter drinking milk
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Dairy got a lot of negative publicity because of its lactose content. However, even lactose intolerant can enjoy certain types of dairy, especially fermented products such as yogurt, aged cheese, or buttermilk. 

Furthermore, dairy contains important nutrients like vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium. It is also a good source of protein and can help with weight loss, muscle gain, and bone health. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy eating pattern includes fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, cheese, and yogurt.

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