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8 "Junk" Foods That are Actually Good for You

When it comes to what constitutes as a healthy diet, there are a number of conflicting point of views shared by food and health experts.

There are certain foods products, like sugar, that we can all agree are bad for our health, but the verdict is still out for lot of other foods we consume frequently, like chocolate, alcohol and red meat.

The thing is anything can be "bad" for you if you eat too much of it, so the key is moderation. So if you were thinking of cutting out some of your favorite foods from your diet, check out this list first before you make up your mind:

1. Chocolate

Savory Olive

Before you get a little too excited and go on a chocolate binge, let me clarify that not all chocolate is considered good for your health. However, dark cocoa has some wonderful benefits, including improving your overall heart health and providing your body with antioxidants. If you really aren't a fan of dark chocolate, opt for milk chocolate that contains low sugar and at least 50% cocoa.

2. Cheese

There's a misconception that cheese is bad for you because it has a high saturated fat content, however, according to registered dietitian Abby Langer, this is simply not true. She explained that the saturated fats in dairy isn't nearly as harmful as the ones found in beef.

"Really, the only problem with cheese is that most people can't control themselves when they eat it," Langer said. Adding that cheese is a good source of calcium and dairy overall has anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Whiskey

As with everything else in life, if you don't over consume, you'll be able to reap the benefits of whiskey. The liquor contains high levels of "ellagic acid, an antioxidant that helps destroy cells that can cause illnesses such as cancer and heart disease," according to Daily Mail.

A study carried out by Harvard's School of Public Health also found that drinking alcohol, like whiskey, in moderate amounts can help raise the good cholesterol levels in your body. This will protect you from developing heart disease.

4. Steak

Serious Eats

Red meat is often at the center of many debates about healthy diets. While some experts argue that it should be cut out entirely, others claim that limiting your intake to once or twice a month can be good for your overall health.

Registered dietitian and health coach Jessica Cording explained that red meat contains iron, zinc, protein, and vitamin B12, all of which are important nutrients that help your body function properly. Additionally, a study from 2015 in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating just 75 grams of steak is as good for your heart as quitting smoking.

5. Beer

Like any other alcoholic drink, Beer does contain sugar and should be consumed in moderation. However, you can enjoy a peace of mind when you know that there are health benefits to drinking it. A study in Scientific Reports found that beer can actually "lower blood pressure, prevent diabetes," and even help with weight loss. This is probably because it contains vitamins like niacin, B12, B6, and folate.

In additional to all this, Xanthohumol, a major ingredient in beer, has been shown to be effective in reversing the damage done to the body by high-fat diets.

6. Egg Yolks

We all grew up being told that eating a lot of eggs, especially the yolk, is very bad for our cholesterol, but as research has shown, this is simply not true. According to multiple studies, saturated fat is to blame for bad cholesterol, so eating egg yolks have very minimal on your health. In fact, one large egg only has about 186 milligrams of cholesterol. They also contain three grams of protein, vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin, choline and selenium, according to dietitian Kelly Plowe.

7. Popcorn

Butter is the culprit that gets popcorn a bad reputation, but if you only add a dash of salt, popcorn can actually be considered a healthy snack. Not only is popcorn 100% whole grain, it contains lots of antioxidants, and three cups of it will only set you back 100 calories.

8. Coffee

While coffee isn't really food, some will argue otherwise. For years, the caffeine-filled drink was deemed bad for health, but that narrative has been slowly changing as of late. Studies have found that coffee actually has multiple health benefits, including improving your mood and energy levels, lowering the risk of type-2 diabetes, as well as a number of cancers. In 2016, the U.S. government's dietary guidelines were updated to show that drinking three to five cups of coffee per day is not harmful for health. Keep in mind that they're talking about black coffee. Adding milk and sugar will yield different results.

Do you regularly consume any of the foods on this list? Let us know!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.