Believe it or not, bacon is good for you and that's not all that's sizzling. Gobble up other highly demonized foods including butter, coconut oil and chocolate ice cream. And add a slice of cheese, too! According to celebrity dietitian Dr. John Salerno, bacon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.
"Besides being high in protein for energy, muscle and brain function, studies have shown that bacon actually lowers blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Chock full of vitamins, bacon contains choline, a whole slew of vitamin Bs, and important minerals for mood.
"As long as your bacon is nitrate free and organic, it can be a powerful food for optimum health," says Salerno, adding bacon has been shown to alleviate the effects of diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
Viewed by many as an unhealthy pleasure, Salerno, New York-based author of The Silver Cloud Diet, says bacon is also an excellent source of low-carbohydrate energy that helps to reset the metabolism, and it's filled with amino acids delivered without the risk of dangerous levels of mercury, which can be found in many fish. Although a recent study connects processed meats, like sausage and bacon, to early death, Salerno counters that "the study, which does little to shed light on healthy foods, is linked directly to processed meats. In order for it to be considered healthy, meat must be unprocessed, grass-fed, hormone-free, and completely organic."
Add to your grocery list other unlikely good-for-you foods, including eggs, butter, coconut oil, grass-fed/finished steak, and cheeses. Be sure to buy organic.
"Eating lots of foods that are good for your health isn't bad for you. Rather, eating foods high in carbohydrates, processed additives and high sugar content is," says Salerno, who has worked with actress Suzanne Somers and Hollywood producer Stephen J. Cannell. Indulge in a healthy way. Don't reach for sodas, unhealthy boxed foods and quick fixes. "If you find yourself hungry and deprived, it's likely you're consuming too many refined carbs, which cause fatigue, hardening of the arteries and memory problems," says Salerno, of thesilverclouddiet.com.
Once you consume these formerly off-limits foods that are high in fat, your body's hunger will subside, portion control won't be an issue and you can finally stop counting calories, Salerno says.
So give your diet a little pat of butter. It contains a high amount of butyric acid, which plays a starring role in cellular health, antioxidant protection and metabolic properties; it also increases energy and may prevent cancer, says Salerno, who recommends butter derived from natural, grass-fed animals. Flip for an omelette: Although eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fats, the positives - vitamins, minerals and proteins - far outweigh the negatives, says Salerno, a protégé of Dr. Robert Atkins, creator of the Atkins Diet. Up the nutritional value of that omelette by topping with some natural, unprocessed cheese.
Pick up some ice cream made with organic egg yolks, heavy cream and a small amount of stevia herb for taste, instead of sugar. "Fats are fine, with the exception of trans fats, so long as dieters control their carbohydrate intake. Our bodies are used to high amounts of natural fat and a limited amount of unprocessed carbs."
And bring home the bacon, too. Bacon is the new beef, declares the doctor. "Consider this: bacon, which contains natural Omega-9 fatty acids (same as olive oil), contains less hazards of heavy metal toxicity than most fish. It's healthier, it's tastier - it's bacon!"
What are the benefits?
Eggs: Vitamin B
Bacon: Prevents heart disease
Coconut oil: Saturated fats for healthy skin (topical/oral)
Butter: Vitamin K2, reduces plaque
Steak: Contains CLA, a potent antioxidant and anti-carcinogen
Butter: Butyric acid, boosts energy and fights disease