Jun 5

I always learn something when I read bon appetit magazine and the June 2009 issue was no exception.  There’s an article written by Daniel Duane on “The Terrific 10” on foods and their health benefits.

Next time you are at a cocktail party you can spirng this little bit of knowledge, buckwheat is actually not a grain but rather an herb related to rhubarb and sorrel.  Sharing this gem is sure to get someone to offer to get you another drink!

The article focused on 10 foods with healthbenefits — that buckwheat is included is no surprise, nor is the appearance of watercress, leeks, anchovies and strawberries. No Paula Dean, I’m sorry, but butter was not on the list.   But there were two foods that thrilled and surprised me:   whole milk and bacon!

Before you run off clicking your heals and yelling there’s no place like home — the key is in moderation.

Bacon

It turns out that 45% of the fat in bacon is monounsaturated (the kind that can help lower bad cholesterol) oleic acid, the same fat found in olive oil.  Bacon is so flavorful that a few strips go a long way in adding flavor to a dish.  Nobody here (especially not me) is suggesting that you go out and cook a pound of bacon a day.  What I am saying is that you shouldn’t fear bacon or use that gruesom turkey bacon (which we know is not bacon and I’m not convinced that it’s turkey).

Whole Milk

I remember reading an article many years ago that doctors were starting to ask women of childbearing age to drink full fat milk because many of the vitamins in milk are absorbed by the body through fat (A and D) and absorbing vitamin D helps absorb calcium.  Duane asserts in his article that studies monitoring women who ate one serving of whole milk or cheese a day gain less weight than women who did not.

I’m not suggesting anyone throw caution to the wind when it comes to fat consumption.  You may want to rethink any recipe that starts with two sticks of butter (unless it serves 24 people) and bacon should be a flavoring just like olive oil.

I am suggesting that the fear of unprocessed whole foods (fat being a prime example) has been overblown by the media.  I’m more afraid of the health implications of eating boxed   “potato flakes” than the whole milk and butter which would go in them to make mashed potatoes.  In countries where processed foods are kept to a minimum people enjoy natural fat and even some sugar with out the health implications we have in the US.  Eating unprocessed whole foods doesn’t take much longer to prepare, is often less expensive and provides your body the nutrition it needs.

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