Take a second look at some of the foods you are avoiding. Some other foods that are better for you than you might think include coffee, dark chocolate, dried fruit, shrimp and lean red meats.

Some healthy foods get a bad reputation, causing many people to avoid eating them. Have you sworn off any foods that may actually help protect you from disease? Check the following list.

1. Popcorn. Now, we’re not talking about the 1,200-calorie, buttery, movie theater version or popcorn covered in salt or sugary toppings. But plain, air-popped popcorn is a whole-grain, low-calorie, high-fiber snack that you would do well to include in your regular diet. Three cups have less than 100 calories and four grams of fiber. Microwave popcorn may be convenient, but be careful to select one with no added salt or fat. Mist plain popcorn with olive oil, sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese, chili powder or any other favorite spice, and you won’t miss the butter.

2. Nuts and nut butters. True, nuts do have a significant amount of calories and fat, but they are also rich in important nutrients, including fiber and protein. Plus, the fat in nuts is the healthy, unsaturated kind. A diet that regularly includes nuts is associated with a lower risk for heart disease. Again, be sure to avoid versions with added salt or sugar, and enjoy nuts in small portions to keep the calories in check.

3. Eggs. This simple food is a powerhouse of nutrition with just 75 calories and seven grams of high-quality protein. Egg yolks are a source of cholesterol, but research indicates dietary cholesterol has a small effect on our blood cholesterol levels; it is saturated fat that causes our cholesterol levels to rise. Eggs contain just 1.6 grams of saturated fat, making them a heart-healthy choice. Eggs also are an excellent source of carotenoids, which help fight age-related macular degeneration, and of choline, which helps keep our memory sharp.

4. Avocados. Are you avoiding avocados because of their fat content? Don’t. Avocados are comprised mostly of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which help lower our bad cholesterol levels. They also have more than 20 essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, plus loads of fiber. Try spreading softened avocado on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise.

5. Canned or frozen vegetables. Fresh vegetables are not necessarily more nutritious. In fact, the processes of freezing and canning actually preserve nutrients better than the often-prolonged refrigeration of fresh vegetables. Plus, the canned and frozen varieties are generally less expensive. Just look for those without added salt or sauces.

6. Pasta. Mention pasta and most people think of bad carbs and weight gain. Pasta is a low-sodium, low-fat food that can be a part of a healthy diet. The key is portion size. Keep a serving of pasta to less than one cup, add some veggies and lean protein to make it filling, choose a tomato-based sauce rather than a creamy sauce, and you have a heart-healthy, calorie-conscious meal. Make it even healthier by choosing whole grain pasta to ramp up the fiber.

7. Potatoes. Like pasta, potatoes have a reputation for being an unhealthy, starchy, weight-gain-causing carb. Potatoes by themselves are naturally fat-free, low-sodium, low-calorie and rich in vitamin B, folate, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamin C. Eat the skin for some added fiber. It’s how we typically prepare potatoes that’s the problem. French fries, chips and loaded baked potatoes all deliver unhealthy fat, salt and calories.

8. Regular salad dressing. You might think choosing fat-free or light salad dressings is the healthy choice, but these can contain more salt and sugar than the regular version. Healthy fats are needed to help our body absorb essential nutrients from other foods. Choose an oil-based version with a short list of ingredients instead of creamy dressings. Or better yet, whip up your own.

9. Iceberg lettuce. Although it does have fewer nutrients than spinach or kale, iceberg lettuce is extremely low in calories with just 75 calories for a whole head. It is rich in water and fiber, so it helps fill you up, plus it is a good source of folate and vitamins A and C.

10. Bananas. I often hear of people avoiding bananas because they are fattening and high in sugar. One banana has about 100 calories and 27 grams of carbs. Compare this to a medium apple, which has 95 calories and 25 grams of carbs. Bananas are high in potassium, fiber-containing pectin and are a source of mood-elevating tryptophan. Bananas are cheaper and more nutritious than any 100-calorie snack pack.

Take a second look at some of the foods you are avoiding. Some other foods that are better for you than you might think include coffee, dark chocolate, dried fruit, shrimp and lean red meats.