6 Foods NOT to Give Up in 2017

As another year rolls around, we often turn our thoughts to resolutions and personal goals, which typically includes promising to give up something. Whether it’s smoking, cookies and ice cream, or sleeping in (so you can hit the gym or the neighborhood running track), such resolutions frequently have a negative connotation, even though they are associated with positive outcomes.

Rather than focus on eliminating things from our lives, what if we made a list of things not to give up in 2017? Here's what you should keep in your life in 2017.

Chocolate. Chocolate is sometimes referred to as a guilty pleasure, but there’s nothing sinful about enjoying dark chocolate on a regular baiss. Choose unsweetened or semi-sweet dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of at least 70 percent, as the higher the cocoa content, the lower the amount of sugar. Also reach for chocolate that is organic or free-trade, which means it is non-GMO and pesticide free.

Organic dark chocolate can contain added sugar and even milk so be sure to read the label if you are trying to avoid or limit either of those. The good news is that dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and has been associated with lowering bad cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, among other health benefits

Read about the health benefits of chocolate

Eggs. Controversy surrounding cholesterol, eggs, and cardiovascular disease has been around for decades, but many experts believe they have fried that debate, at least for the time being. Besides the fact that we need some cholesterol for digestion of fats, as insulation for nerve cells, to produce vitamin D, and to produce critical hormones, research also suggests cholesterol from eggs is not a risk factor for cardiovascular disease for everyone.

The meta-analysis, which appeared in the British Medical Journal, involved nearly half a million participants and time spans from eight to twenty-two years. Researchers found that eating one egg daily was not associated with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, although people with diabetes did have a higher risk of heart disease associated with eating one egg per day. When choosing eggs, select those from free-range chickens who have been fed organic feed, or support your local free-range chicken farmer!

Read about pasture-raised eggs and why it’s a healthier choice

Fat (the healthy kind). So much has been written about healthy versus unhealthy fats, yet it can be easy to lump them together and worry about eating fats at all. Yet healthy fats, which include monounsaturated fats, medium chain triglycerides, and to a smaller extent polyunsaturated fats, are different from the unhealthy varieties, which include trans fats.

Polyunsaturated oils such as safflower, walnut, and sunflower and can help lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol and should be used in moderate amounts because they contain higher levels of omega 6 which most of us already get enough of.

My favorite type of fats (and in my opinion the healthiest) are coconut oil (medium-chain triglycerides), and extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil because both are rich in monounsaturated fat.

Of the essential fatty acids (a type of polyunsaturated fat), omega-3s are especially known for their cardio protective and anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3s are found in cold water fish, walnuts, and flax seed, among other foods. 

Potatoes. These earth-loving tubers continue to get a bad rap, especially among people who are trying to lose weight. Yet banning potatoes—white, purple, or sweet—from your diet is not a healthy move! A small baked potato (with skin) provides 128 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams cholesterol, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 22% Daily Value (%DV) vitamin C, 21% DV potassium, and 21% DV vitamin B6. A small sweet potato with skin is 54 calories, 0 grams fat and cholesterol, 448 mg potassium, 231% DV vitamin A, 2 grams fiber, and 20% DV vitamin C. 

If you allow a cooked potato to cool, it produces high levels of resistant starch, which helps the body burn 25 percent more fat. In a study of overweight adults, it was shown that eating 5 to 7 servings of potatoes per week resulted in modest weight loss, not gain. 

The secret to enjoying potatoes is to skip the sour cream, gobs of butter, or frying and savoring their goodness with herbs and spices, salsa, onions, or drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. You also can combine mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower for a real treat!

Read about the surprising health benefits of potatoes

Salt. Conventional iodized table salt is a nutritionally dead product that has been exposed to toxins, pollutants, and other chemicals, and is composed of 97.5 percent sodium chloride and 2.5 percent iodine, absorbents, and sugar. A healthy alternative is Himalayan salt, which harbors the same 84 natural elements and minerals present in the human body and has no impurities because it has been in the earth for more than 250 million years in an environment free from contaminants. 

Himalayan salt also has a unique structure that allows it to house vibrational energy, and its minerals are minute enough for easy absorption by the body. Some of the health benefits attributed to natural Himalayan salt may include promoting blood sugar health, facilitating vascular health, regulating water levels in the body, enhancing bone strength, and reducing incidence of sinus problems. 

Saturated fat. For years, we were told that eating saturated fat was unhealthy and associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. As we’ve learned more about saturated fats, it appears that some saturated fats are good for us while others, not so much. In the former category are medium-chain fatty acids (e.g., capric, caprylic, lauric acids), which improve body composition, boost energy, and may enhance cognition and insulin sensitivity. They are found in coconut and palm oil, as well as butter.

Short-chain fatty acids (e.g., butyric and caproic acid) have anti-inflammatory and gut health benefits and are found in dairy foods from grass-fed animals (not factory-farmed animals). The saturated fats we want to avoid are the long-chain varieties (e.g., myristic, palmitic, stearic acids), which are found in processed foods and factory farmed meats and dairy products. These saturated fats are associated with cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

Eating moderate amounts of foods from the short- and medium-chain fatty acids list can provide a healthy level of saturated fat in your diet. Saturated fats are necessary for helping calcium incorporate into bone, protecting the liver from drug affects, coating the airspaces in the lungs, facilitating brain function, and assisting with nerve signaling. 

AHealthBlog. 10 proven health benefits of potatoes you need to know
GlobalHealingCenter.com. Himalayan crystal salt benefits
Mercola.com. 7 reasons to eat more saturated fat
Rong Y et al. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke; dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. British Medical Journal 2013; 346:e8539

By Andrea Donsky| January 08, 2017
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Andrea Donsky

Andrea Donsky

Founder & Chief Passionista at NaturallySavvy.com. See my full bio here.

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