In recent decades, the proliferation of processed and junk foods, along with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, has given rise to a variety of lifestyle diseases and chronic health problems. As we struggle to cope with these pressures of modern life, we turn towards healthy and natural choices. Most notably, we try to include natural foods that are known for their tremendous health benefits.
Unfortunately, in our enthusiasm to embrace healthy eating habits we sometimes tend to go too far, overeating some foods and restricting others. While we tend to overlook the ill effects of over-consumption of healthy foods, they are not without their risks.
Healthy Foods That Pose A Risk When Eaten In Excess
1. Spinach & Beets
“High levels of oxalates in these foods can increase the risk of kidney stones”
Although both foods are exceptionally healthy, they are also high in oxalates. These compounds help sustain healthy gut bacteria, but high levels of oxalates pose a problem, as the kidneys are burdened with filtering the compounds. If you are already at risk of kidney stones it would be a good idea to moderate your intake or look for lower-oxalate alternatives.
“Coumarin in cinnamon can cause liver toxicity & cancer”
Cinnamon isn’t just healthy; it is in many ways a food cure that can help fend off health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. However, cinnamon contains a significant amount of coumarin, a compound that can cause liver toxicity and cancer if the intake exceeds 0.1 mg per kilo of body weight.
3. Nutmeg (Jaiphal)
“Myristicin in nutmeg is a psychoactive substance that can cause seizures & hallucinations”
Widely used in Indian sweets, chai, and in Mughlai cuisine, this tropical spice gives food a unique flavor and is also renowned for its medicinal properties. It should be kept in mind that nutmeg contains myristicin, a compound that can cause serious side effects when consumed in excess. The compound is a known psychoactive substance and an overdose can cause seizures, nausea, light headedness, and hallucinations. Experts strongly advise against consuming more than 10 grams of nutmeg at a time.
“Isoflavones in soy can put you at risk of developing uterine cancer”
Soy has gained immense popularity as a healthy substitute for meats and certain dairy products, but these benefits come from moderate intake. It can help regulate cholesterol and blood pressure, but in excess it can impede iron absorption, causing anemia. A more threatening risk comes from its isoflavones, which work like estrogen. High intake increases the risk of uterine cancer because it causes a proliferation of the uterine lining.
“Water intoxication can cause sodium levels to fall, threatening brain function”
We are often told about how it’s so important to drink more water, but a less known fact that no one talks about is that drinking too much water too rapidly can cause water intoxication. Although this doesn’t happen too often there have been cases of people dying as a result of water intoxication.
This is because blood sodium levels plummet with excess water intake and this impairs brain function. For most of us, this risk is fortunately pretty low.
When it comes to healthy foods and essential nutrients, more is not necessarily better. Balance and moderation are key to better health. All of these foods are exceptionally healthy, but they should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
August 3, 2018