Tired of the same old from your nutritionist? Check out these five food you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.
Dr. Prabhjot Singh Sidhu, Consultant in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Internal Medicine of Ramsay Sime Darby shares with UPPRE his 5 favourite food and why he won’t be removing them from his diet anytime soon.
Contrary to popular belief, both types of rice are good – brown and white. White rice has “the calories” which we need, but unfortunately does encourage weight gain. It isn’t empty calories though as white rice contains magnesium which is important for our bones, fibre which helps address constipation and the white rice glycaemic index and zinc, a mineral important for our immune system. In addition, fortified white rice is full of folate which we all need especially pregnant women. Yes, white rice has a high glycaemic index, which as we know causes a glucose spike. However the truth is, glycaemic index is usually measured in isolation (i.e. rice by itself). That means, when we eat our white rice with other food like meat and vegetables, as we usually do, the breakdown is slowed, hence reducing the “feared” glycaemic spike.
White rice being low in cholesterol, low in fat, and low in salt, which helps to keep blood pressure at safer levels, certainly is a positive in my book.
Well, it is true that chocolate has a lot of calories and a lot of sugar. But when I say chocolate I mean dark chocolate and not the milk chocolate variety. The darker the chocolate, the more bitter the chocolate, the more cocao it has, which then translates to the more antioxidants it has primarily in the form of flavonoids and polyphenols. These flavonoids have been linked to the reduction in blood pressure, a general increase in blood flow to the heart and a reduction in future cardiovascular events. Too add to this, there is also evidence that chocolate consumption improves our HDL cholesterol, the good kind of cholesterol and reduces the LDL cholesterol, the bad kind. As if the taste of it, which I love, wasn’t reason enough to have dark chocolate, studies have linked dark chocolate to improved cognitive function and a reduction in depression. Adding to this further, dark chocolate is also high in manganese, iron and copper. Chocolate is still chocolate at the end of the day, but if we have to have it, choose one that’s at least 70% dark chocolate for the best benefits.
Who doesn’t love butter? It just makes everything taste better. Butter was made a villain when it was labelled as high in saturated fats and that these fats were bad for our hearts. This claim was never really proven and more importantly recent work has found no link between these saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, during the same time margarine made an appearance. Margarine is originally grey and filled with colouring and flavouring to make it palatable. What’s worse is that it is high in trans-fats, the true, well for now at least, villain, increasing our heart disease risk. Back to butter, there is also evidence that butter improves our HDL cholesterols levels, that’s the good kind. It is also rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which has evidence to show aids weight loss and is rich in fat soluble vitamins. For me, that’s more than enough of reasons I’m spreading butter on my toast, in moderation of course.
Personally I think bacon, toast and eggs make the perfect breakfast. Let’s try avoiding those high trans-fats oils though when cooking. Firstly, bacon is an excellent source of proteins, zinc, b12, selenium and thiamine. Bacon also has omega-3. Yes, that’s the same stuff we get from fish and certain vegetables. The same stuff that reduces cholesterol. The problem with bacon is really the sodium nitrites it’s cured with. When heated, these substances become toxic and produces cancer causing substances. How to avoid it? Some shops provide bacon without the sodium nitrites. Another way is getting it fresh but without the sodium nitrites, its shelf live is in reality reduced.
Coffee is everywhere and I’m sure we have heard plenty about it but some still doubt is benefits. Coffee in its truest form is full of nutrients and antioxidants, increases your metabolism, and increases fat burning. It also reduces the risk of Parkinson’s and potentially protects against Alzheimer’s. As if that was not important enough, recent work shows that coffee drinkers live longer, have a reduced the risk of liver cancer and bowel cancer, reduced progression of some liver disease, is helpful in glucose metabolism in diabetics. I for one am ordering another black coffee with my bacon breakfast.