Lauren Becherer | HealthGreatness

Your dietary health is a big part of your overall health. Although we’re constantly told to stay away from certain ‘bad’ foods, some of them are actually beneficial to your health. Here are 4 bad foods that are good for you.

BEEF JERKY

Smoke Flavored Beef Jerky

Why we think it’s bad: Red meat is high in saturated fat and loaded with preservatives.

Why it’s actually good: The saturated fat in beef decreases the risk of heart disease by helping to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol. The other type of fat in beef is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that can also be found in olive oil. Beef jerky is high in protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. This snack won’t raise insulin levels, which are the hormones that signal your body to store fat.

Eat this: Jerky made from lean, grass-fed beef. Look for brands that are chemical-free and made from all-natural ingredients, which will have less sodium.

CHOCOLATE

Stacked chocolate bars

Why we think it’s bad: This classic sweet is high in fat and sugar, leaving us feeling guilty after indulgence.

Why it’s actually good: Cocoa is rich in flavanols, compounds similar to antioxidants, which have healthy qualities that include lowering blood pressure, increasing blood flow to the brain and heart, and reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Eat this: Dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa. Avoid candy bars that are packed with added sugar and removed of bitter-tasting flavanols.

SOUR CREAM

bowl of sour cream

Why we think it’s bad: 90 percent of calories are derived from fat, at least half of which is saturated.

Why it’s actually good: Sour cream consists of lactic-acid bacteria that is fermented within regular cream. It’s a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin B12. Although the percent of fat is high, the total amount isn’t. Two tablespoons is only two grams of saturated fat—that’s less than a tablespoon of mayonnaise and a 12 ounce glass of two prevent milk.

Eat this: Full-fat sour cream. The low-fat versions contain trans fat rather than natural animal fat and have added carbohydrates.

CHEESE

Various types of cheese

Why we think it’s bad: It’s packed with calories and fat.

Why it’s actually good: The calories and fat in cheese are actually good because they are filled with protein and leave you feeling full. Cheese is high in protein, calcium, and K2 vitamins that help build strong bones.

Eat this: Aged, hard, full-fat cheese. Non- and low-fat cheeses are higher in lactose and therefore lower in flavor. Avoid highly processed cheese in fast foods or powdered for macaroni, which don’t contain the same health benefits.