When it comes to healthy food, more is better right? Well not always. We are designed to thrive on a diet with lots of variety, obtaining our nutrients from many different sources.
Some foods in particular, while extremely healthy in moderation, can actually have some negative side effects when eaten excessively. I’ve outlined four health foods for which portion control is key.
So this whole time, every health and nutrition article you’ve ever read has told you to eat your greens, right? So how could spinach possibly be making this list?
Don’t get me wrong, spinach and greens in general are amazing health foods, but they still don’t escape the “everything in moderation” rule. Eaten in very high amounts, it can cause slight toxicity in the body and even kidney stones due to a compound they contain called oxalates.
The average person is not at risk of excessive oxalate intake, but it’s something to keep in mind if you regularly load up on spinach. Your best bet? Mix it up and rotate through different kinds of greens for maximum nutritional benefit.
Kombucha is a wonderful health drink that has been around for thousands of years and has recently become a trendy health food item. Made by fermenting tea, it is rich in probiotics making it great for digestion and gut health. However, it is highly acidic and drinking too much can cause heartburn. Many commercial brands also add colouring and extra additives to their drinks, so check the label before purchasing!
Soy & Nut Milk
While soy and other milk alternatives (think almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, etc.) are wonderful options for people who are reducing or eliminating removing their dairy intake, they are still processed foods that should be consumed in moderation. Many milk alternatives contain carrageenan, which is derived from seaweed and may be linked to a number of health issues. The jury is still out as to whether or not carrageenan does have health implications, and in small doses it does not seem to cause any harm. Limit your servings to 1-2 cups per day or look for brands that don’t include carrageenan.
As with nut milks, tofu is a popular option for those who want an alternative to animal products. It is a great source of protein and can be used in everything from burgers to ice cream to smoothies. It is however, highly processed and often genetically modified, and some studies show that it can cause issues due to its high levels of isoflavones which mimic estrogen. You don’t have to skip it all together, but it’s wise to limit your intake and consume healthier soy options like tempeh and miso.
Remember, one of the best things you can do for your body is to consume a wide variety of healthy foods. Even the healthiest of foods are best eaten in moderation!