3 "Bad" Foods That Are Actually Good for You

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Most of us already know that lean meats, fruits and vegetables are good for you, but you may be surprised to learn that there are some seemingly “bad” foods that are actually good for you too.  

Turns out, reaching for foods you may think are unhealthy, like butter and cheese, could actually be good for you because they contain essential nutrients, says NYC-based registered dietitian Keri Glassman.  

Here are three foods you may have been avoiding that you SHOULD be eating. Not only are they delicious, but they have TONS of nutritional value, and are an important part of a healthy diet, according to Keri. 

1. Pecorino Cheese 

"This is a cheese made from sheep’s milk and follows [the animal’s] natural grazing cycle. It’s rich in protein and calcium, relatively low in fat, and contains a valuable fatty acid called linolenic acid. This is an unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that has been shown to lower bad cholesterol," says Keri.  

"My favorite way to eat it is on top of a salad (like her Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecorino and Almonds) or on roasted broccoli," she adds.  

MORE IDEAS: We also recommend trying pecorino in this Raw Zucchini Pasta Salad with Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Rach’s Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Semi-Dried Tomatoes

2. Dark Meat Chicken 

"This has more minerals and vitamins than white meat chicken, and it's high in taurine, which breaks down fat and helps with inflammation and blood pressure," Keri explains. 

"I love to make a honey mustard marinade for chicken thighs and either bake or air fry them," she says. (Get our recipe for basic baked chicken thighs here)

MORE IDEAS: Check out Dr. William Li’s Spiced Chicken, Rice, and Kale, this One-Pot Lemon-Dill Chicken with Rice & Peas and Rach’s Sticky Chicken Tray Bake

3. Grassfed Butter 

This is definitely not one we were expecting. "Grassfed butter is butter that's made from cows being fed grass rather than grains. If you compare grassfed to regular butter, you’ll see that it looks more yellow, while grainfed looks more white," Keri says.   

"It tastes better, is loaded with nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and conjugated linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid). It's beneficial for your heart (in moderate amounts) rather than potentially harmful like grainfed butter can be," she adds.  

"The fat in it will help you feel satisfied and full, and fat from grassfed butter is much better than fat from processed oils like vegetable oil or canola oil. The fat is working for you rather than against you," Keri explains.  

Case in point: As part of his intermittent fasting routine, personal trainer Jorge Cruise adds grassfed butter to his morning coffee. He says it tastes “so rich and delicious!” and that having “healthy fat” first thing helps suppress his appetite the rest of the day.

Bonus: Sardines  

Ok, you probably didn’t think sardines were unhealthy or bad for you—but they are SO good for you that you really should try them. "Sardines are super high in omega 3s, protein, calcium and low in mercury. I like to sauté some with olive oil, garlic, and onion and [put them on] top a cracker," Keri explains. 

MORE IDEAS: Try Dr. William Li’s Longevity Pasta with Breadcrumbs, Capers, Sardines + Lemon

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