Superfoods that make you sick

“Superfood” is a tricky buzzword similar to “toxins” or “energy” which can basically mean anything you want. Concepts like “superfoods” serve simple goals: to keep you fat, chronically dieting and making money for snake oil salesmen. Here’s how.

Some foods are packed with nutritional value and contain elements that improve our health. In fact, pretty much anything humans ever ate has a pinch of something that can be called “miraculous” – after all we eat our food and we grow and sustain ourselves, our sores heal and energy replenishes. Chemistry is fascinating and miraculous enough already. Eating right is half the job if you want to be healthy and fit.

But the moment you follow the media’s “superfood” craze you start harming yourself. What happens is you are taking an element normally present in your diet and overdosing yourself on that. The results are the same as with all “magic pills” – temporary improvement, placebo, undesired side effects. Superfoods are part of the problem, not the solution.

Below is a list of foods labeled as “superfoods” or “miracle foods” by everyone and his uncle. Usually the same people that praise the miracles of these superfoods are selling you handy extracts from them – these extracts will supposedly make you fit, pretty and happy. Welcome middle ages!

lemons superfoods

Lemons are a superfood too. Also, a great addition to the best weightloss smoothie.

Avocado

Avocado is packed with healthy plant-derived fats. Along with nuts it’s one of the few easily available “good fat” sources so many people can overdo eating it. The dangers of eating too much avocado are stemming from its’ benefits – it’s a very nutritious food full of fats, so dose it carefully as a side dish or a separate snack. Don’t just throw it into anything.

Blueberries

Blueberries are amazing for you, but watch out for where they come from. Blueberries accumulate pesticides easily and can be toxic to you. Try to get them from a farmer you trust, otherwise you can get unhealthy doses of pesticides.

Brazil nuts

These nutritious nuts contain a lot of selenium, which is no good for you if you have to much of it. Eating more than 3-4 nuts per day may overdose your body with selenium, causing nail, hair and cholesterol problems. Moreover there’s the aflatoxin danger – these are carcinogens stored in most nuts that have been exposed to mold.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793123/
http://suppversity.blogspot.de/2013/07/brazil-nuts-selenium-are-you-nuts-if.html

Broccoli

Very much like kale, broccoli is eagerly accumulating heavy metals and other toxic substances like thiocyanae that might be too hard on your thyroid function. Moreover, the amount of healthy nutrients such as vitamin A in broccoli has been re-evaluated recently. In a nutshell, treat broccoli as your regular staple, not a substitute for all other foods.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14757960
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-14052/The-bad-news-broccoli.html

Goji berries

First, Goji berries are nightshades just like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers, so they are a bit hard for your digestive system. All the health-woo shamans say they are causing a leaky gut syndrome, but that is more likely just a made-up condition. The fact is, you don’t feel very well after too many goji berries. There’s an array of other side effects as well .

http://www.topix.com/forum/med/naturopathy/TNHHV394Q71VPQGG9/p7
https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/leaky-bowel/

Green tea

Green tea is an amazing drink that is full of antioxidants and other healthy nutrients. It’s actually my #1 drink of all times and for any occasion. But for anything holy in this universe, don’t swallow your tea in powder form, enjoy it the way people did for millennia!

Any tea contains caffeine, though the the amount of it is different between kinds of green tea. In any case, never abuse tea to cut your heart some slack.

Remember that the Chinese tea ceremony supposes that you strain & dump the first (shortest) brew of your tea and enjoy the second brew (keeping it also short at 1 minute). That helps to not only wash any possible dirt out of the leaves, but also flushes away excess caffeine.

Once again: with full leaf teas (ditch the teabags!) you got to strain the first 5-10 second brew and add boiling water to the hot leaves again. You’ll love the milder and clearer drink that results from this procedure.

Kale

Surprisingly enough Kale is on the most toxic list along with blueberries. Related plants like broccoli or cauliflower are actually some of the least toxic plants but kale is not. Kale is also happy to absorb all the heavy metals it can find in the environment. All that together with potential to cause thyroid gland problems is enough to treat kale with caution.

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/cruciferous-vegetables

Lentils

Lentils are legumes and legumes are heavy foods no matter how many vitamins they got. Eating any beans in excess are scoffed upon by many dietitians. Also, lysine contained in lentils may affect kidneys negatively.

Pomegranate

Pomegranate is very rich in sugar and pretty acidic for your stomach if you eat a lot of it. Pomegrenate also lowers blood pressure and that can cause problems if you’re already suffering from low blood pressure or chronic fatigue. This fruit is great for occasional snacking or as a seasoning addition to cooked dishes, but definitely not a substitute for everything you normally eat.

Quinoa

Quinoa really seems like it’s not been studied enough. With all the benefits (mostly the fact that it’s gluten-free and we’re only recovering from the anti-gluten craze) quinoa contains a lot of saponins that are a bit too heavy on your digestive system. Try these seeds to see if you like them, but don’t place high hopes on quinoa as your #1 health food.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/25/quinoa-good-evil-complicated

Soy

Soy beans and the plethora of soy products have been the go-to foods of anyone fallen for the vegetarianism fad about 15-20 years ago. Soy was considered the best meat substitute, but it’s not nowadays. Science is no longer that excited about soy, since it’s a bit heavy for the body and weakens our system.

Turmeric

Turmeric, containing Curcumin is a part of all Asian cuisines and has been one for ages. However, Curcumin supplements and extracts are giving you doses unheard of by any ethnic eaters. Stay clear from any extracts or concentrates to avoid gall bladder and kidney damage.

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/who-shouldnt-consume-curcumin-or-turmeric.html

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is another “detox” product with very little science behind it. Eating wheatgrtass is about as benefical as eating other salads or greens but it’s definitely not a substitude for real foods. Since wheatgrass is usually consumed raw, watch out for how clean it is and pay attention to how it was grown.

 

superfood extras are not good for you

All these superfood extracts and I’m still fat!

What to do about this

Learn to see the marketing.

If you read a huge article about wonders of Omega 3 supplementation and the author sells krill oil on another page of his website, you take that advice with a grain of salt.People need to make a living.

Pushing food supplements is a great way to earn your bread and butter: the supplements are usually not dangerous since they are just concentrated food extracts, they sell well because they are “natural” and trendy and most importantly they promise you “the easy way”.

This has worked with weight loss supplements – garcinia cambogia extract, green tea extract, red pepper extract, green tea extract, yacon syrup extract – the list goes on and on. A trend starts, millions chronic dieters spend their cash, someone gets rich, then the press dies off because, well, it doesn’t work, it’s not how you get in shape. Give it a month and another miracle extract starts trending.

I’m pretty sure once they run out of exotic plants they’ll switch to the more usual ones we eat daily. Carrots are good for us and we’ve been eating them for thousands of years? Great, here’s a carrot extract, a small study about how carrot extract affects some minor segment of human health, and a TV show featuring of the product. Bam, enter miraculous carrot diet pills.

The nature of superfood popularity is the same as that of any diet or magic pill: human laziness and dishonesty. People en masse would rather eat a magic pill 3 times a day than switch to minimal cooking and simple food combination. The recipe culture plays its’ role and keeps us addicted to cookery, complex flavors and food processing. To break free from the vicious circle of constant overeating, chronic dieting and health problems, you need to shift your approach to food – appreaciate true pure taste and cook minimally.

TL;DR

The term “superfood” does NOT mean that:

– these foods sustitute medication;
– these foods substitute other foods;
– you can consume unlimited amounts of these foods.

Keep this in mind:

– eating all these foods in fresh unaltered form is fine
– over-eating these foods is not fine
– taking concentrated extracts made from them is not fine

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