Here are 5 foods with a big “health halo” that may be fooling you
1. Dark Chocolate
You have probably heard that dark chocolate is good for your heart, and maybe even your brain. But really, it’s the flavonols in cocoa that offer the health benefits. Research suggests that cocoa flavonols improve the health and flexibility of our arteries as we age and may help reduce your risk for heart disease and they may even help keep us sharp as we age.
But, unfortunately, not all chocolate contains cocoa flavonols. Often they’re destroyed during the manufacturing process, so it’s hard to tell if you’re getting enough of them in your chocolate to give you a health boost.To make sure, look for sources that guarantee the amount of cocoa flavonols and can deliver a healthy boost without loading up on calories and fat.
2. Energy Bars
If you’re a fan of the energy bar for a quick pick-me-up, choose wisely! Not all energy bars are bad for you, but some are filled with added sugars and artery-clogging saturated fat. Plus, some of them can pack in more than 300 calories—much more than most people need for a between-meal nosh.
You can be sure you’re getting a healthy bar that has not more than 200 calories and contains less than 2 grams saturated fat and under 10 grams (2 ½ teaspoons) of sugar or, instead of grabbing a bar, consider fueling up with a mix of high-quality carbs and protein, like a quarter cup of trail mix (nuts mixed with raisins) or fruits.
3. Flavored Yogurt
If you are not careful, yogurt can quickly go from a healthy choice to a calorie bomb. Plain yogurt naturally contains about 16 grams of naturally occurring milk sugar per cup. Naturally occurring sugars are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products but are not considered a health threat. However, if you eat flavored yogurt, you could be getting 15 or more extra grams of added sugar and 60 or more extra calories.
Keep yogurt healthy by choosing plain, low-fat, or nonfat varieties and stir in a teaspoon of honey, maple syrup, or all-fruit spread for a hint of sweetness.
4. Gluten-Free Foods
Now a days it’s believed that a gluten free diet will improve their health and many people have start--ed buying gluten-free products or try to avoid gluten. Please understand. Unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, you probably don’t need to exclude gluten from your diet. Going gluten free without need, could be a diet disaster. Gluten-free foods often have more calories, fat, sodium, and added sugars. Often lacking in several nutrients including B-vitamins, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.
5. Bottled Salad Dressings
A salad is a great way to get more veggies into your diet, but in a bid to make your salad tastier, you may end up tossing hundreds of extra calories and more than a day’s worth of saturated fat onto your healthy greens if you opt for some bottled dressings.
Think that by skipping high calorie, creamy salad dressings (like ranch or blue cheese) and choosing oil-based varieties that you’ve made a healthy choice? Not so fast! While olive oil and other plant-based oil dressings may be better for you, some are loaded with added sugar and sodium. If you’re buying a packaged dressing, look for one with 110 calories or less, under 1.5 g saturated fat, 100 mg or less sodium, and no more than 4 g sugar per serving. For a simple and healthy dressing, skip store-bought mixes and put 1 tsp olive oil and lemon juice over your greens.