Members of the Bad Food Gang are being vindicated by science

At long last, the mighty egg has been vindicated. As probably too many of my readers are aware, I have been defending (read ranting about) one of my favorite foods and a food that is a life saver for many older adults.  Now the experts agree that the egg is a nearly perfect food and so easy to prepare in so many ways.

Their research also has shown that eggs do not contribute at all to heart disease or stroke in healthy people (who, today, qualifies as healthy?)  Eggs actually raise good HDL and mitigate bad cholesterol.  The English have had a reputation for bad food habits, but their one-time custom of a poached egg on toast at supper is a great idea.

Eggs are among seven foods various news media have been informing us that once were considered bad for our health but now are recognized for their health benefits. The list will grow, I am sure.

Ticos should be delighted since almost all of these foods are native to Costa Rica.  Eggs, of course, are available anywhere chickens live.

There is also coffee. Gee, those of us who think coffee wakes us up and makes us more alert are right.  It seems that caffeine has antioxidants, boosts energy and improves memory and even reduces the risk of diabetes. A long time ago a friend of mine insisted that a cup of coffee and a cigarette in the morning kept him regular.  Perhaps one day (after more research) he can substitute a joint and keep the coffee for a healthier and happier beginning to his day.

Whole milk, it seems, also has had a bad rap.  Studies (I don’t know how extensive) have shown that youngsters who drink skim milk are more inclined to eat junk food and sugar instead of fat, which is having its reputation repaired.

Speaking of fat, coconut oil, once banned in many countries with the enthusiasm of vampire hunters, has emerged as good for just about everything that ails us.. It is practically magical.  It even is a good mouthwash. It is the hydrogenated coconut oil that is bad for us.

I have heard that the coconut water one sees so many people drinking fresh from a coconut at the ferias, is excellent for our health, too.

And chocolate!  Dark chocolate, we know, is loaded with anti-oxidants.  Cambridge University studies support the possibility that chocolate probably lowers stroke and coronary heart disease rates, and lowers blood pressure.

The Aztecs, Mayas and Toltecs knew the benefits of chocolate long before Europeans discovered the New World. The Aztecs called it the food of the gods, and besides its other properties, was considered an aphrodisiac.

Beware, though, chemically laden sugar-filled milk chocolate is still bad for us.

And finally, that once present-in-everything-we-eat villain, SALT! Salt was one of the most valuable commodities sold by the traders around the Mediterranean in ancient times. Roman soldiers were given an allowance, or salarium, to buy salt. And from that comes the word salary.

Unrefined salt and raw sea salt have more than 60 valuable minerals. And it is a natural antihistamine.  Dr. Andrew Weil might argue with this.  I recall in his book, “The Natural Mind,” he claimed that eating with South American tribes who did not have salt, he became accustomed to enjoying food without it.  I think at the time he thought that was a good thing. But now they say that salt actually helps us digest our food.

It is the high sodium processed foods where salt becomes a member of the Bad Food Gang.

Which brings me to popcorn.  I didn’t know it was thought bad for you. My siblings and I grew up and eating homemade popcorn and fudge while listening to our favorite radio programs in the evening.

Movie and microwave popcorn are still considered bad because most have chemicals and artificial flavorings, but homemade popcorn is still good.

I am sure in the near future more so-called unhealthy foods, as well as alternative treatments used in the past for what ails us will be appreciated.  I actually heard a doctor, being interviewed about the current epidemic of addiction to prescription pain killers, say, “We are trying something new to treat pain – acupuncture and yoga – and having good results.”

In a very short time medical researchers will take off the straight jacket of their discipline and their disdain for all that was learned and known about health and treatments before modern times.  We continue to be blinded by what I call “the myth of Progress.”  I hope we all regain our senses before it hardens into “the god of Progress.”

Some may argue that it is progress in medical science that has uncovered the foods that are really healthy.  Maybe my big concern is the assumptions that even scientists have that influence how they view whatever they are investigating. One great assumption we humans have is that we can improve upon nature.

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