“Taboo” Foods You Can Enjoy


Eggs have staged a turnaround. The British Heart Foundation recommends eating around three to four a week. What about cholesterol?  Saturated fats are the culprits when it comes to raising blood cholesterol, and eggs are low in these fats. Instead, they have many beneficial nutrients, including lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help to ward off eye diseases such as cataracts.

Eggs are especially good for pregnant women — as long as they are properly cooked to avoid the risk of salmonella — since they have large amounts of choline, which is critical to fetal brain development. "To top it all," says Dr Beckie Lang from Cambridge's Resource Centre for Human Nutrition Research, "eggs are relatively low in fat, contain vitamins A, D, B12 and E, zinc and iron. A medium-sized egg contains just 75 calories."


Avocados are said to be high in fat; a medium avocado has around 30 grams — roughly the same as a quarter-pounder with cheese. But this comparison is misleading. Two-thirds of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated, which may be good for the heart, while the burger is packed with saturated fat, which we know is responsible for raising cholesterol levels.

Avocados are also a good dietary source of glutathione and phytosterol, says David Heber, director of the University of California's Center for Human Nutrition. Phytosterol appears to be a potent cholesterol-lowering agent, he says, and research shows glutathione may help prevent certain types of cancer, most notably of the mouth and pharynx. Avocados are also rich in potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K and B vitamins.


Chocolate. University of California researcher Carl Keen says, "Cacao beans are rich in flavonoids, the same antioxidant compounds found in red wine and tea." A standard milk chocolate bar with about 20 per cent cocoa contains roughly the same amount of flavonoids as a glass of red wine. Keen and Penny Kris-Etherton, a researcher from Pennsylvania State University, have done studies hinting that these flavonoids offer heart benefits.


Mixed Nuts. Mike Loewen, 53, enjoys these treats, but two years ago he had unhealthy levels of a blood fat called triglyceride. Initially Loewen cut back on fat and stopped eating nuts. However, his doctor advised him to get healthy amounts of protein, including nuts, and not overdo carbohydrates. "My triglycerides were halved," he says. High in fat, nuts often end up on the must-avoid list. Scientists now say this is too simplistic. "Nuts are energy dense, so you shouldn't over-indulge. But they're a good source of fiber, essential fatty acids and protein," says Sara Stanner, a nutritionist at the British Nutrition Foundation. They also contain many vitamins and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.

In a study of 86,000 nurses, women who munched on at least 150 grams of nuts a week had 33 per cent fewer heart attacks than those who rarely ate nuts. And a recent clinical trial found that replacing dietary fat sources with three ounces of almonds reduced artery-clogging LDL "bad" cholesterol by 12 per cent.

Chestnuts are much lower in calories than other types of nuts. Almonds, macadamias and pecan nuts contain the highest proportion of monounsaturates and hazelnuts have the highest level of vitamin E.


The underlying theme for these "dietary reprobates" is that they're good — in moderation.


Although some people think that prawns are good for you, the truth is that prawns are a health hazard — they pick up heavy metals and nuclear waste from the nuclear powered submarines.  Leviticus 11 regards them as no go food.   If people crave shellfish they are short of iodine, which can be taken in the form of kelp tablets (about 5 a day).


— contributed by Dr. Barbara Boss, barbaraboss@worldonline.co.za.