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    ‘Unhealthy’ foods that are surprisingly healthy

    17 September 2014

    Thank you, oh thank you, dear scientists, for rehabilitating these dietary dangers:

    Chocolate Previously dismissed as full of sugar and fat, chocolate is now claimed to have all sorts of health benefits. Researchers have found that it helps guard against heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It may also stave off type 2 diabetes, as well as improving mood and enhancing cognitive skills.

    The secret of its success appears to be the presence of flavonoids, an antioxidant which prevents cell damage. Opt for dark chocolate which has a cocoa content of 60 per cent or more, as this has the most flavonoids. And eat it in moderation – just a few squares a day, not the whole bar.

    Cream Anything dairy, including cheese, butter and full-fat milk, used to be considered too high in saturated fats to be good for you. But these products are finding their way back onto the menu. A new study which looked at data from 27,000 people in Sweden found that those who ate eight portions of full-fat dairy a day had a 23 per cent lower incidence of type 2 diabetes than participants who ate just one.

    And Taiwanese research suggested that people who ate three two seven portions a week of dairy products were less likely to die of cardiovascular causes.

    Eggs Remember that old scare about cholesterol in eggs? Turns out it’s little more than a myth. It’s true that eggs are packed with cholesterol, but the effect eating one has on the levels in your blood is minimal. If you’re still unconvinced, consider the Harvard study in which researchers looked at the diets of 118,000 people – they couldn’t find any connection between eggs and heart disease. In fact, they’re rich in protein, B vitamins and other minerals.

    Red meat Eat too much red and you’re dead, seemed to be the thinking for a number of years. Red meat has been slammed as fatty, and thought by some scientists to be linked with colon cancer and breast cancer. But health gurus are now beginning to eat their words. Eating lean red meat has been found to have no adverse effect on cholesterol levels, and recent research from Australia suggested that a diet incorporating three or four servings of red meat a week combined with strength training helped elderly women increase muscle size and strength.