Many foods have developed undeserved reputations for being dietary disasters or nutritional wimps. But the latest research proves they have a place on your plate.
The bad rap: It's a beverage that makes you anxious and jittery.
The healthy reality: With more antioxidants per sip than green or black tea, your daily mug of java -- caffeinated or decaffeinated -- may actually protect against age-related diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. It may also reduce the risk for heart disease, breast cancer, asthma, gallstones and even cavities and diabetes. Just make sure you limit the add-ins--sugars, syrups and cream--that can negate coffee's healthy benefits.
The bad rap: Every bite is chock-full of artery-clogging saturated fat -- and tons of calories.
The healthy reality: It's fine for women to eat up to four 3-ounce servings of lean beef a week. (The least fatty cuts are marked "loin" or "round.") Plus, beef contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy fat that may lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, control weight gain and inhibit cancer, researchers say. That means topping a plate of mixed greens with 3 ounces of thinly sliced sirloin or pairing the same portion of steak with a sweet potato for dinner may actually be a step toward disease prevention. And, not only does that modest serving provide 39 percent of the vitamin B12 your body requires daily, but it also delivers 36 percent of your daily zinc and 14 percent of your daily iron -- two minerals that few women get enough of. Choose "grass fed" beef whenever possible: It contains twice as much CLA and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as grain-fed varieties.