By Kristin Kirkpatrick
WHEN YOU ENVISION foods that might
wreck your diet or sabotage your health, what
pops into your mind? Chances are the list
includes options that could actually help you
reduce stress, prevent heart disease and ward
off certain cancers. Unfortunately, though,
once a food gets labeled as bad for your
health, it never seems to lose that description,
despite numerous studies that may contradict
previous claims. What if you could enjoy
some of your old favorites again (in sensible
amounts, of course)? Here are six foods to
consider adding back to your diet.
Old thinking: It’s so good, it has to be bad.
Dark chocolate (with a cocoa content of
at least 70 percent) is loaded with flavonoids,
the same beneficial compounds found in ber-ries, red wine and tea. An ounce of chocolate
a day has been shown to reduce risks for heart
disease, and an ounce and a half daily may
help reduce emotional stress.
Old thinking: Coffee will harm your growth
and bone density.
Actually, studies show that the more coffee we sip, the more benefits we enjoy. Regular
consumption of coffee has been associated
with a lowered risk of developing diabetes, as
well as cancers of the mouth, endometrium,
prostate and skin. Coffee consumption has
even been associated with a decreased risk of
dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Old thinking: Eggs will raise cholesterol
and your chances of developing heart disease.
Eggs are loaded with antioxidants, protein and nutrients vital to good health. A 2011
study found that regular egg consumption
may be associated with reductions in the risk
of cardiovascular disease and cancer due to
Surprisingly healthy foods
Tablet or smartphone?
Scan or click here to see a
video about a seven-year
survivor of malignant
mesothelioma. (See page 5.)
Rethinking what’s good and bad for you
their high antioxidant content. Additional
studies have found that eggs may help reduce
blood pressure. Further, new research out of
Yale University has found that eggs can be
incorporated into a heart-healthy diet without negative effects on cholesterol, weight or
Old thinking: Nuts are fattening.
The truth is that any food consumed in too
great a quantity will cause weight gain. However,
the protein and healthy fats found in nuts may
actually help you lose weight. According to several studies, in addition to weight loss, eating
nuts has been associated with reducing the risk
of heart attack and stroke.
Old thinking: Potatoes are fattening.
Potatoes may actually play a role in
reducing the risk of a silent killer. A 2012
study found that purple potatoes helped
lower blood pressure in hypertensive, obese
individuals without causing weight gain.
Additionally, potatoes are naturally high in
fiber and contain virtually no fat.
Old thinking: Eating soy increases your
risk for certain cancers.
While the newest controversy is associated with genetically modified soy, numerous
research studies looking at isoflavones and
protein in whole soy sources demonstrate the
vast benefits associated with this legume.
Highlights include reduction in cancers of the
breast, prostate and colon and improvement
in heart health. C
Costco member Kristin Kirkpatrick is the
manager of wellness nutrition services at the
Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute (http://
MALIGNANT MESOTHELIOMA is a cancer that starts in the mesothelial cells,
which are found in the linings of certain
parts of the body, especially the chest or
abdomen. This type of cancer is rare, with
about 3,000 new cases diagnosed each
year. The majority of those cases can be
traced to workplace exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos is a heat-resistant fibrous
silicate mineral that has been mined for
commercial use in North America since
the late 1800s, with use increasing during World War II. It has been a common
insulating, fireproofing or soundproofing
material in many industries, including
construction, automobile manufacturing
and shipbuilding, and was found in gardening and insulation products containing vermiculite until the 1990s.
The disease can take from 20 to 50
years after exposure to asbestos before it
shows obvious symptoms, including:
• Shortness of breath
• Weight loss
• Chronic pain near the tumor
The outlook for patients with this
cancer depends on how early the disease
is detected and how aggressively it is
treated. Often, by the time diagnosis is
made, the disease has progressed to a
point where patients do not respond well
to conventional treatment—surgery, radi-
ation and chemotherapy. A major goal of
treatment is to reduce pain and suffering
and prolong a patient’s life with the
highest quality of life possible.
Smoking alone is not linked to mesothelioma, but smokers who are exposed
to asbestos have a much higher chance
of developing asbestos lung cancer.
To learn more about this disease,
visit these resources:
• Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance,
• National Cancer Institute, www.
cancer.gov, search “mesothelioma”
• American Cancer Society, www.
cancer.org, search “mesothelioma”