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Health consciousness is a prominent feature of the 21st century. In the past decade, great emphasis has been laid on what to eat; more so on what not to eat. A whole gamut of diets has emerged, with people constantly trying to strike a balance between a perfect figure and a healthy lifestyle.

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Dietitians belonging to various schools of thought and swearing by certain diets for weight loss, for perfect skin and hair and for a healthy heart have created a skewed notion of healthy and unhealthy food.

As a result, we now have jumbled up diets that have sacrificed many essential foods at the altar of ‘dieting’, a term that has acquired a negative connotation in the bargain. Here are some foods that you thought were bad for you but actually aren’t.

Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is probably the most notorious foodstuff in weight loss and skin-related diets, probably because chocolate is widely used in desserts such as cakes, ice-creams and puddings which contain large amounts of sugar, butter and other saturated fats.

However, dark chocolate in small quantities is actually instrumental in maintaining cardiovascular activity. Chocolate reduces the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), thus maintaining cholesterol and making heart strokes less likely to occur.

Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that decelerate the aging process and reduce the risk of cancer. Chocolate is also believed to release serotonins in the blood which uplift the mood. Besides, dark chocolate contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as potassium and iron.

Coffee

With stress levels running high and sleep-cycles being disturbed left, right and center, most people require a regular dose of coffee to kick-start the day. Whereas excess consumption of coffee is highly deteriorating to the brain tissue, a moderate consumption of coffee is miraculous for the heart, reducing the risk of heart failure by over 10.9%.

According to the Harvard Health Letter (2012 issue), a research conducted in 2011 showed that the consumption of coffee dramatically reduced the probability of clinical depression in adult women and of prostate cancer in adult men. Studies are being conducted to also explore the possible effects of coffee against Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

Alcohol

Alcohol

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This may seem deliberately rationalized, but alcohol in moderation could be better for you than you think. However, if you don’t drink, there is no reason for you to start. On the other hand, if you do drink, socially or otherwise, these health benefits could become a great excuse for you to limit the drinking to your own health.

An article that appeared in Future Cardiology in 2009 equated a single drink of alcohol to a breathalyzer, which is instrumental in maintaining the longevity of life. Drinking in moderation is heart-friendly, with a single pint of beer being capable of bringing down the risk of cardiovascular malfunction by almost 30%, the operating word being ‘moderation’. A glass of red wine consists of antioxidants that kill free-radicals and helps maintain youthfulness.

Eggs

Eggs are generally associated with high cholesterol and heat-generating foods that lead to several skin-related problems. However, it has been found that it consists of dietary cholesterol that is less harmful than it is useful. Egg-yolks are a powerhouse of vitamins of all kinds, except vitamin C and eggs are a brilliant source of protein.

Eggs are high in antioxidants that are particularly responsible for reducing the risk of eye-related disorders and cataracts. They are cheap, easily available and are helpful for the normal growth of children. In addition, the Harvard University Gazette and other related journals have asserted that eggs have no relation to heart diseases whatsoever.

Thus, some foods that have been innocent, and even a boon in disguise, have fallen under the category of ‘What Not to Eat’. These foods are a crowd-puller, consuming them makes you feel guilty, and therefore these are associated with the cliché that all foods that you love are unhealthy for you.

However, what many dietitians fail to tell you is that the key to healthy living is nothing but moderation.

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