10 Foods That Are Healthier Than We Think (Slideshow)

Go ahead, have another spoonful of peanut butter
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Naturally occurring saturated fats, like those found in butter, are much better for you than what you’ll find in processed fats like margarine. If you stick with organic butter from grass-fed cows, the end result is high in conjugated linoleic acid, which boosts heart health and weight loss, contains vitamin K2, which helps the nervous system and heart, and has a proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

Butter

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Naturally occurring saturated fats, like those found in butter, are much better for you than what you’ll find in processed fats like margarine. If you stick with organic butter from grass-fed cows, the end result is high in conjugated linoleic acid, which boosts heart health and weight loss, contains vitamin K2, which helps the nervous system and heart, and has a proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

Pasta

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While a huge bowl of spaghetti does have a ton of carbohydrates, a moderate portion is very low in fat, has a low glycemic index (about the same as a pear), and can help you stay fuller, longer. The health benefits of whole-wheat and vegetable pastas are negligible, so just stick with the real thing. 

Whole Milk

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A lot of people can’t see past the fat and calorie content of whole milk, but the benefits outweigh any downside. Drinking whole milk has been found to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer, and it also helps muscles grow and repair themselves post-workout. And don’t forget that it’s also loaded with calcium. Milk really does do a body good. 

Peanut Butter

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Sure, the label says that it’s high in fat, but it’s high in good fat. It’s also full of fiber, protein, and vitamin E. 

Dark Meat Chicken

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Dark meat chicken does contain more fat than its lighter-hued counterpart, but the fat is super-high in healthy monounsaturated fats, the same kind of fat in avocados. The same doesn’t go for the skin, which you should probably avoid due to the high level of saturated fats in it. 

Eggs

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We’ve been told for years that there’s too much cholesterol in egg yolks, but the American Egg Board has given healthy folks the leeway to eat two whole eggs per day without seeing any bump in cholesterol. They’re also loaded with protein, the antioxidant lutein, vitamins A and D, the anti-inflammatory choline (which also helps to break down fat), and are low in saturated fat. 

Potatoes

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Because potatoes are plain, white, and starchy, people forget that they’re also very healthy. They’re absolutely loaded with iron, fiber, protein, and vitamin C. 

Mayonnaise

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Mayo might be high in fat and calories, but it’s full of nutritious ingredients: canola and olive oil are high in good monounsaturated fat, eggs have all the previously mentioned positive qualities, and the fat helps your body absorb nutrients from the vegetables that are also on your sandwich. Skip the reduced-fat versions, which are full of fillers, and stick with the real thing. 

Red Meat

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Don’t believe the hype: red meat isn't all that bad for you. There’s no proven association between red meat and cancer or increased cholesterol levels, according to nutritionist Chris Kresser, and it’s also super-high in vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and, of course, protein. 

Falafel

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Falafel gets a bad rap because it’s deep-fried, but that doesn’t mean it’s saturated with grease. The Middle Eastern staple contains just 5 grams of fat in one falafel ball, and it’s also loaded with protein and dietary fiber. Most falafel sandwiches are also paired with salad and vegetables, so altogether it’s a healthy lunch option.