7 Foods You Might Avoid But Should Eat

Eat More of These Foods
Eat More of These Foods

Do you avoid certain foods but don't have a good reason for doing so? Perhaps they bring up unpleasant memories from childhood—like Brussels Sprouts—because your parents refused to let you leave the table until you ate every single one on your plate.

But this list is a little different; it’s mainly about foods we might avoid because of myths or misunderstandings about them, or you may have never heard of them. So here are 7 foods to try this year:

Avocado

Avocado is a super source of potassium and 25 essential nutrients. Research indicates that avocados can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides while also raising good cholesterol (HDL). The fruit also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Moderate consumption—one-half per day for example—is suggested. So if you have been avoiding this luscious food, it’s about time you reconsidered.

Read about the delicious health benefits of avocados

Durian

Although it smells funny, Durian tastes great and has a buttery pulp that attracts many consumers. Its nutritional value is nothing to scoff at either: packed with , C, B6, and folate, as well as potassium and tryptophan, which is a precursor to the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter called serotonin. It’s hard not to be impressed. If you get an opportunity, try durian!

Egg yolks

No one can deny egg yolks are high in cholesterol; about 212 mg per yolk as a matter of fact. That’s relatively close to what was once the suggested daily limit (300 mg), although that recommendation was dropped when experts determined that the idea that cholesterol causes heart disease was found to be untrue. In fact, a study showed that most people who suffer a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels.

However, that does not mean you should be having three-egg omelets every day or getting your eggs from chickens raised in inhumane conditions. There is a middle ground. Moderation is the key. Cholesterol is a necessary substance and the body synthesizes it regardless of how much you consume through food. Unless you are especially hypersensitive to cholesterol, it is likely safe for you to consume egg yolks occasionally while also maintaining a whole, natural foods diet as much as possible.

Read about 12 egg substitutes, vegan style

Kefir

Kefir is a great source of , more than found in yogurt and with a wider range of strains. That fact alone makes it worth investigating.

A recent (2017) report appearing in Medical Oncology noted that “dietary probiotics such as kefir have a great potential for cancer prevention and treatment.” More specifically, the authors pointed out that “kefir act on different cancers such as colorectal cancer, malignant T lymphocytes, breast cancer, and lung carcinoma.”

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi could be a contestant in an ugly produce contest, and its unusual appearance is a big turnoff for some people. This strangely shaped cruciferous vegetable has a taste similar to that of broccoli stems and has essentially the same nutrients and anticancer ingredients (isothiocyanates) as other veggies in its class. It also is low in calories, a big plus for those looking to drop a few pounds.

Try kohlrabi, either raw in salads, stir-fried, grilled, or sautéed. Appearance aside, kohlrabi is one of the more nutritious and interesting vegetables on the market.

Natto

This fermented soybean food would not win any beauty contests either: it is slimy, sticky, and stringy. That is not exactly an ad to convince you to eat it. Yet natto, which is made by soaking and steaming soybeans along with bacteria known a Bacillus subtilis until it is fermented, is a healthy way to eat soy.

This traditional Japanese food has a nutty taste, albeit an acquired one. It is rich in protein, manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, vitamin K, , potassium, zinc, and selenium. Eating natto can help with digestion, support heart health (by lowering blood pressure), and strengthen bones. If you have never tried natto, begin with a small portion, add your favorite condiments, and enjoy!

Potatoes

Potatoes have gotten a bad rap for a long time, and it needs to stop! Many people associate eating potatoes with weight gain and having a high glycemic index value. However, potatoes are not very high in calories, and their glycemic value depends on the type of potato, where they are grown, and how they are prepared. Since potatoes are relatively inexpensive and easy to find, they are and can be an essential part of your diet.

For example, the glycemic index of potatoes is significantly lower when you eat them slightly cooled rather than hot and when they are boiled and eaten whole rather than mashed. In fact, the negative view of potatoes has much to do with how they are prepared and served—often with butter, sour cream, gravy, fried in oil, and covered in cheese.

However, potatoes themselves are a great source of energy. The starch in potatoes restore glycogen after exercise as well as restore leptin levels. They also can help you curb your desire for sweets. Potatoes served with herbs and spices and/or salsa can be a nutritious addition to your meals.

Sources
Champeau R. Most heart attack patients’ cholesterol levels did not indicate cardiac risk. UCLA Newsroom 2009 Jan 12
El Asmar MS, et al. Vitamin K dependent proteins and the role of vitamin K2 in the modulation of vascular calcification: a review. Oman Medical Journal 2014 May; 29(3): 172-77
Horie M et al. Evaluation of probiotic and prebiotic-like effects of Bacillus subtilis BN on growth of lactobacilli. Journal of General and Applied Microbiology 2018 Mar 27; 64(11): 26-33
Kim JY et al. Effects of natto kinase on blood pressure: a randomized, controlled trial. Hypertension Research 2008 Aug; 31(8): 1583-88
Sharifi M et al. Kefir: a powerful probiotics with anticancer properties. Medical Oncology 2017 Sep 27; 34(11): 183
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Deborah is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. Currently, she lives in Tucson, Arizona.