Top 5 Superfoods That Aren’t Necessarily Super
Whether you’re eating to lose weight or just want to feel your best, you can’t go wrong with a healthy diet full of whole, nutritious foods. But some of those good-for-you options are getting a bit of extra oomph in the name of “superfood.” So, what makes something super? And what does that mean for your health?
Kale has become a popular superfood in recent years, making its way into salads, smoothies, and even soups. While it’s a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it can also cause some negative side effects and should be eaten in moderation.
Specifically, too much kale can negatively impact thyroid function. It can contain progoitrin and thiocyanate ions, which can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis and block the iodine your thyroid needs to function. This can lead to hormonal irregularities and weight fluctuations that can have serious implications for your health in the long run. It has also been noted to cause iron toxicity, which is bad news for the liver and kidneys.
Dark chocolate may have some health benefits, but it can also have negative side effects. For example, it may raise your blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. It also has high levels of lead and cadmium, two heavy metals that can be toxic to pregnant women. If you eat dark chocolate regularly, those heavy metals can build up in your body and cause health problems.
The best way to avoid these negative side effects is to limit your intake to an occasional treat. Consumed in moderation, an ounce of dark chocolate after meals can be a good addition to a healthy diet. The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate, called flavanols, can help improve blood flow in the arteries and reduce high blood pressure. These compounds also lower oxidation-prone LDL cholesterol.
The spicy heat in peppers comes from the plant compound capsaicin, which binds with the pain receptors on your tongue and triggers sensations of heat or discomfort. Capsaicin is also an anti-inflammatory agent that has been shown to reduce inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, migraines and headaches. Spicy peppers are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your health. Some of these include Vitamin C, B6, potassium and copper.
Despite their positive effects, hot peppers can conversely have a range of negative side effects that can be unpleasant, including nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. This can be particularly problematic if you are not a regular eater of these spicy foods.
The main antioxidant in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This is believed to have a number of benefits for the body, including weight loss, improved skin health, and more. And while there is some evidence that green tea may also help lower the risk of certain chronic diseases, drinking it in excess can be a bad idea. Excessive consumption can cause several health problems, including anaemia, gastrointestinal disorder, liver toxicity, and thyroid issues. This is why it is important to drink green tea in moderation and at a time that is convenient for you. Ideally, drink it in the morning before meals.
Chia seeds are a rich source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants and magnesium. However, chia seeds have been known to cause digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and hard stools. In one scary case report from the Carolinas Healthcare System, chia seeds have also been found capable of blocking your esophagus! This was evident in a patient who, when he swallowed them, had the seeds immediately form a gel-like ball that blocked his esophagus and made it very difficult for doctors to remove the blockage. And for these reasons, it’s crucial to moderate your intake of chia seeds and to drink plenty of water as you begin introducing them into your diet.