You can’t have too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to food. When it comes to eating, moderation is key. But we’re a nation that loves to eat. Eating is a very social activity that we do without friends and family, and sometimes we end up making “bad” choices with what we eat. However, are these food items really that bad for us?
Below are 10 of the most common foods that we Filipinos eat that are actually good for us. Again, keep in mind moderation.
Come on, we eat at an average two and a half cups of rice a day. Many say rice is bad for us because it contains a lot of carbs which turns to sugar which causes extra pounds if you don’t burn it. However, many healthy nations, such as Japan, enjoy rice with almost every meal. Rice is also often eaten with vegetables and proteins which is good for us. White rice contains important amino acids, which means if it’s served with a meat dish, the meal is fairly complete in terms of required muscle building amino acids. Although white rice is more processed compared to brown and red rice, they’re often enriched with the nutrients that are lost during processing. It also keeps us feeling full for a longer time, which minimizes that chances of you grabbing that back of chips when you’re feeling hungry. So eating rice isn’t all that bad.
Growing up, we were told that eggs were bad for us because it contained a lot of cholesterol. However, recent research showed that saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, is the main contributor to heart health issues. Eggs are being wrongly accused as being unhealthy because we often serve them with fatty pieces of protein like bacon, tocino and sausages. A recent study showed that eating eggs for breakfast helps with appetite control. This is mainly due to the high protein content of eggs. Also, don’t skip the egg yolk. It’s packed with nutrients and vitamins like selenium, choline, riboflavin, phosphorus, and vitamin D.
Avocados are often in season during summer here in the Philippines, and we love to mix them in shakes, smoothies, and cold drinks. Avocados have a bad rep because of their high fat content, but they’re not really that bad. These creamy fruits contain more than 20 different essential minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients, which includes vitamins A, C, D, E and K, B vitamins, potassium, and a good amount of fiber. They also contain heart-smart monounsaturated fats, which is difficult to find in other foods, as well as antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein, which are known to help keep your eyes healthy and fight age-related macular degeneration.
We love nuts. They’re one of the most popular snacks here in the Philippines, and we use them in a ton of recipes, adding them to everything from kare-kare to maja blanca and peanut kisses. Although nuts are known to be high in calories and fats, it doesn’t mean that munching on them is going to make you gain weight. In fact, research shows that people who eat nuts on a regular basis are leaner and thinner. They don’t contain saturated fats, which makes them a heart-healthy snack option. They also contain plant sterols, which have cholesterol-lowering properties.
Speaking of nuts, we love nut products like peanut butter. It may be high in calories, but when eaten in moderation, peanut butter can help you manage your weight and control hunger better. Peanut butter is packed with fiber and protein, which helps you stay fuller longer. Two tablespoons should be enough to satisfy your cravings. Keep in mind though that you’ll only want t eat natural peanut butter and not the type that comes with added flavorings and sugar. Check the label and only choose peanut butter brands that only contain peanuts.
Coffee gives us a jolt of energy in the mornings, but the caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines, or the stress hormones. It can also decrease our insulin sensitivity, making it difficult for cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar. But even so, coffee contains Flavonoids, which is known to help protect cells from the effects of aging and improve heart health. Coffee may help reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease from developing. Heath authorities agree that two to three cups of coffee a day may have modest health benefits and no real heath risks.
Ok, alcohol as a really bad rep for making people do a lot of crazy things while being intoxicated by it. But a moderate amount of alcohol actually has heath benefits (moderate amount is about one drink for women and two for men a day). It’s shown to help minimize the chances of heart attack and heart disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, consuming a glass or two of wine can help your brain to stay sharp. Red wine and dark beers are antioxidant-rich, which makes them a better choice compared to other drinks. Obviously, drink responsibly.
We prepare beef in so many ways, but we often eat it well-done which illuminates the health hazards of eating beef cooked medium or rare. A moderate amount of lean beef in your diet can give you more than enough of your daily protein needs and it keeps you felling full longer. Beef provides several 10 essential vitamins and minerals including B-vitamins, iron, zinc and protein. Lean cuts of beef must be chosen though (good bye bulalo), and organic grass-feed beef is your best choice.
Animal organs are commonly saved and cooked. They’re edible and we don’t want to waste them. Although eating innards is connected to higher uric acid levels in your blood, which is bad for your kidneys, organ meats like the heart and liver are packed with nutrients that are good for your diet. Organ meats are rich in high quality amino acids, CoQ10, good fat, B vitamins and B12, minerals, and “fat-soluble activators” (vitamins A, D and K), which is important for mineral absorption. It’s also extremely high in natural vitamin A, which is crucial for your health and may even prevent birth defects. Liver also contains a lot of iron, which helps with those who are iron deficient.
Too much sugar form chocolate is not good, but a moderate amount of dark chocolate is good for your health. Dark chocolate reduces blood clots, decreases LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and is known to help cognitive performance. Choose a dark chocolate brand with a high cacao level (60 percent cacao or higher), as this indicate more antioxidants and less added sugar.
Portion control is key to avoid any unwanted effects like weight gain. So which of these food items do you often have? Leave your comments and suggestions below. Don’t forget to share this article to your food loving friends and family.