When it comes to food, it can be hard to know what is actually good for us.
As new research on what we eat emerges every day, registered dietition and nutritionist Maya Feller breaks down some of the surprising health benefits of foods that often get a bad rap, but she says can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation.
Here Feller discusses the surprising virtues of four of our biggest dietary vices.
What to skip and swap at the grocery store
Can drinking coffee help promote weight loss?
Getty ImagesA woman displays a bowl of free range eggs in this undated stock photo.
In the recent past, some health professionals cautioned the general public against consuming eggs. The thinking was that consuming more than three whole eggs per week contributed negative amounts of dietary cholesterol and fat, and would hurt cardiovascular health, as well as weight, according to Feller.
Recent research, however, has found that the consumption of eggs is associated with better satiety, which results in a decreased risk of overeating, Feller told ABC News. Eggs are also a great source of protein as well as Vitamin D and Vitamin B12, and leucine, an important amino acid that your body needs for muscle synthesis.
Feller recommends combining eggs with non-starchy vegetables. Here is her simple recipe for enjoying eggs with any meal.
1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
1/4 bunch of chopped Swiss chard
1 clove of garlic
1/8 vidalia onion
Heat a pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil and cook onions and garlic until translucent then add the Swiss chard and cook until tender. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then pour into a pan. Scramble together and enjoy with a side salad.
Feller also recommends enjoying a hard boiled egg as a snack with mixed vegetables such as cucumber, bell peppers, green beans and cherry tomatoes.
2. Full-fat, plain dairy products
Getty ImagesA container with yogurt with raspberries and oats is pictured in this undated stock photo.
Full-fat, plain dairy products refer to dairy products, such yogurt, that do not contain any added sugars or salts, Feller told ABC News.
Some health professionals encourage patients to steer clear of full-fat dairy, because many believe that whole dairy products can contribute to too much total and saturated fat in your diet, as well as calories, to be considered healthy, according to Feller.
Some recent research, however, has found that consuming full fat dairy products is associated with better satiety, meaning people are less likely to over-eat and make poor food choices after consuming full fat dairy products, Feller told ABC News.
In addition, yogurt possesses many unique properties, according to Feller, including containing lactic acid bacteria, which may positively affect your gut microbiota.
Plain, whole yogurt can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways. Feller recommends using it as a topping for bean chili, as a pairing with fresh berries, as the base of chia pudding or as the base of a cucumber salad.
Getty ImagesA cup of coffee is pictured on coffee beans in this undated stock photo.
There are two sides to the coffee debate. Some evidence supports the theories that coffee can disturb sleep and may decrease your body’s absorption of calcium and iron, and that drinking coffee can be habit forming, Feller told ABC News.
New research, however, has uncovered evidence that drinking coffee, and decaf coffee, may be associated with a decreased risk of developing some degenerative diseases and even some cancers, according to Feller.
While the research is still evolving, Feller recommends that people drink no more than two to three cups of coffee per day, and to drink it before noon so as not to disturb their sleep patterns. In addition, Feller recommends skipping the added sugar and opting for cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla or dairy.
4. Peanut Butter
Getty ImagesA jar of natural peanut butter is pictured with peanuts in the background and a spoon full of peanut butter in this undated stock photo.
Peanut butter has gotten a bad rap in the past because of its high calorie and fat content, according to Feller. New research, however, has found that peanuts are a good source of healthy fatty acids, plant-based protein, phytochemicals, and vitamins and minerals.
The key to keeping nuts healthy is to have them without added sugars or fats, and for those that are salt-sensitive without added salts, according to Feller. Raw or roasted, one serving per day can be a nutritious snack and part of a well-rounded healthy diet.
To eat nuts as a snack, Feller recommends enjoying one serving of nuts with one whole fruit of your choice or with a snack-sized bag of non-starchy vegetables of your choice.
To eat nuts as part of a meal, Feller recommends enjoying one ounce of nuts sprinkled over non-starchy vegetables of your choice and served with one serving of starchy vegetables or whole grains.