Any food or drink when consumed in excess can lead to detrimental effects but these are a few which I feel can be easily overdone without even realising it, after all, if some is good, then more is better, right?
Not necessarily, so I felt it would be a good post to help explain why you should try to monitor your intake of these foods, meaning you can still enjoy them and their benefits without suffering unwanted effects.
Please don’t let this put you off food or make you feel it’s too hard to be healthy, it is meant to empower you, not discourage you.
Brazil nuts: selenium is a powerful antioxidant and is great for your thyroid and immune system but too much can result in brittle nails/hair, nausea and more severe symptoms.
Brazil nuts are the most dense source of selenium so 1 or 2 a day depending on your weight & gender will provide more than the RDI for selenium so there really is no need to go over board and remember that you can also get selenium from other foods too (meat, seafood, dairy). Therefore if you feel you haven’t consumed enough from your diet over the past few days then popping a brazil into your smoothie or yogurt is great for rectifying this, just don’t go regularly eating a whole bag of chocolate covered brazil nuts!
Seafood: Depending on where it’s from and how it’s sourced certain fish e.g. farmed salmon, most tuna and the big predators such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel etc usually contain high levels of mercury so eating these kinds isn’t recommended. Instead, stick to 1 or 2 portions of fish a week, with at least 1 portion being oily and opt for wild caught Alaskan salmon (or check with the fish monger about their mercury/growing conditions), sardines, hake, cod, small Atlantic mackerel (not king mackerel) and you can occasionally have skipjack tuna.
For good infographics, see here.
There are other choices, so do some research to find ones that are accessible to you and with the lowest levels.
This information is especially important for kids/petite women/those trying to get pregnant.
Rice: Wholegrain rice is great for fibre and nutrients but the wholegrain form tends to have more arsenic than white forms. If you like to have wholegrain rice with your weekly curry then plan ahead and soak it overnight in excess water, drain it, rinse it under water and cook it in excess water which helps to reduce the arsenic levels significantly. See here for more info.
In addition, try not to go over 2 portions a week which will leave you with some wiggle room as you probably consume it in other products/forms too e.g. cereals, rice syrup/milk, rice flour, rice protein powder etc.
The issue of rice consumption is very important to consider regarding weaning/ baby food products and best to avoid wholegrain varieties. For more on this topic click here.
Cinnamon (the fake kind): I often mention in my recipes to try to use Ceylon cinnamon and that’s because there are 2 different kinds: cassia (fake) and ceylon (true). Cassia contains far more coumarin which can be dangerous when taken in large doses (typically over ½ tspn) on a regular basis. Although most people won’t exceed this, there are a few who might, so if you can get your hands on the true kind then it’s recommended. You can get it online and I’ve even found some at a local supermarket (Lidl).
Caffeine: Great for an energy boost or a little pick me up but an excess can put a strain on your body and kidneys in particular. It may also make you jittery which may interfere with sleep and increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s advised not to go over 400mg of caffeine per day for a typical 65kg adult. Sources include coffee, weight loss supplements and pre workout formulas/drinks.
Remember, let this information empower you, not scare you.
Much love. xX