Junk Food Can Be Good for You

Siboniso Mawandla | The Republic Mail

By Nompumelelo Nkosi

Sounds like music to your ears, right? It is possible that some of your favourite “unhealthy” foods are actually nutritionally beneficial. After all there is what doctors call “good fats.” But it all falls on choosing the right food with less health threatening ingredients. We tend to drown our sorrows with junk food; we might as well do it the healthy way.

We all know that a number of people actually go for junk food instead of a healthy cooked meal or snack and it is anywhere and everywhere plus affordable.  To enjoy the benefits of stuffing yourself silly on these foods, you need to do it wisely and pay attention to what’s added in the food. Bottom line is opting for plain, baked, less seasoned and not fried. Plain potato chips make the list.

If you are craving for a salty crunchy snack, make sure you choose plain potato chips over flavoured ones. Andre Donsky, co-author of Unjunk Your Junk Food advises that choosing a brand that does not contain MSG (Monosodium glutamate), a common additive. Look for common healthy ingredients such as fiber.

Dark chocolate contains less calories than any other type of chocolate and when it comes to a chocolate bar, choose the one that contains fruits and nuts to get less calories. You’ll love the next one- Red Wine. Yes, it has health benefits. According to Men’s health, a study found that those who had an average of two drinks every day, 5 to 7 days a week, had the lowest risk of heart attack.

And researchers found that men who consume the same daily amount have lower levels of abdominal fat. Pizza that’s topped with veggies rather than fatty meat can be packed with calcium, fiber and vitamins and also with wheat crust. French fries are healthy when made with new oil.

The Health Guide suggests that fries made with old oil are unhealthy than others. For more healthy benefits, enjoy baked instead of fried. Biltong is packed with protein and it is good for your insulin levels, a hormone that triggers fat. Look for biltong that is low in sodium and natural ingredients. It is quite expensive though. Hot sauce can help you lose weight because it contains capsaicin, a compound that can curb your appetite by reducing levels of hunger-causing hormone ghrelin and by raising levels of GLP-1, an appetite suppressing hormone, according to a study published in the Europe Journal of Nutrition.

Web MD has some tips on how to take ‘the junk out of junk food’. Choose fast-food restaurants that offer healthier choices. Choose food and beverages that offer you nutrients along with calories. Instead of Soda, opt for fresh juice. Instead of a doughnut, try a bun or baked goods with whole wheat. When it comes to pizza, choose vegetable toppings.

Choose products that are low on sugar and added preservatives. Instead of eating cheese puffs, try a fruit salad, cheese or any snack that won’t give you extra calories. TV is also guilty of your junk food cravings. Commercials and certain food shows easily trick you into craving for a nice big ‘fatty’ meal. Don’t fall for that trap.