Though it may come as a surprise to some, many of the dietary and lifestyle 'villains' that we have all been told to avoid for the sake of our health are actually good for us. However, a constant onslaught of misinformation from regulatory and health authorities on the subject has bred considerable confusion, which is costing many people their lives and livelihoods. To help clear the air on the matter and perpetuate truth, here are five so-called "bad" things that are actually really good for you:
1) Sunshine. One of the more common myths that still saturates popular thought is the idea that exposing your skin to natural sunlight is harmful and can cause cancer. While overexposure to the sun can cause very serious sunburn, especially when the body is deficient in antioxidants, natural sunlight is crucial for triggering the production of vitamin D inside the body, a necessary nutrient that is blocked when sunscreen is used.
Exposing your skin to as few as 15 minutes of sunlight a day during the summer (after you have gradually accustomed your skin to direct sunlight exposure) is enough to generate optimal vitamin D levels in the body. One powerful way you can build tolerance to natural sunlight exposure is to supplement with astaxanthin, an antioxidant nutrient that has appropriately been dubbed a natural, internal sunscreen.
2) Saturated fats. The phrase "low in saturated fat" has become a quintessential demarcation of health, when in fact quite the opposite is true. A large percentage of the human brain, it turns out, is composed of fats, and a steady intake of saturated fat is necessary in order for it to remain in tip-top shape. Beyond this, saturated fats have also been shown to actually improve cardiovascular risk factors, as well as improve organ, bone, nerve, and immune health.
3) Dirt. There are numerous fundamental flaws with the widely-accepted germ theory of disease, which has led many parents to guard their children from the natural elements in the name of protecting their health. But dirt, the stereotypical embodiment of germs, is actually quite beneficial and necessary for proper immune development. As explained in the documentary Dirt! The Movie, dirt contains microorganisms and other natural elements that improve health and promote life.
4) Cholesterol. Like saturated fat, cholesterol is another dietary bogeyman with a legitimate place in health. The brain needs cholesterol in order to function, and a chronic lack of it can lead to dementia and various other cognitive abnormalities that just so happen to be on the rise. High circulating levels of cholesterol are indicative of an underlying inflammation problem caused by other factors -- cholesterol itself is actually used by the body to repair damage caused by chronic inflammation.
5) Meat, dairy and eggs. Not surprisingly, meat products, as well as dairy and eggs, have been lumped into the same category as both cholesterol and saturated fat when it comes to health because they are typically high in these two substances. But when they are derived from grass-fed, chemical-free sources, meat, dairy, and eggs can be highly beneficial for building lean muscle, promoting brain health, and boosting cellular function.
"Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals," explains the group Eat Wild about the health benefits of grass-fed animal products. "Omega-3s are called 'good fats' because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat .. are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack ... are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer's disease ... and they may reduce your risk of cancer."
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