Do you tend to not keep track of how much you’re loading on your plate just because a food is supposed to be healthy? We know we’ve been there, done that. Even a nutritious ingredient can end up affecting your health if you eat it like there’s no tomorrow. For instance, if you liberally drizzle olive oil on all your salads, or deep-fry stuff in olive oil, it’s time to stop. Olive oil may be projected by the advertising industry as a healthy oil, but at the end of the day, it’s still a source of fats. And your body won’t take too kindly to it.
Mahesh Jayaraman, co-founder of Sepalika, a health platform, lists 5 healthy foods you should eat in moderation:
1) Bitter gourd
Bitter gourd, or karela, as it’s known in Hindi, has recently surged in popularity, thanks to the #fitfam folks, but proceed with caution. “Karela has a poisonous compound called cucurbitacine, which is toxic to humans if you consume too much of it over a period of time,” he says. If you’re going along with the juicing trend and guzzling tall glasses of karela and lauki juices, stop right away. “Traditionally, Ayurveda recommends raw karela only for people with good digestion, and that too, only under supervision. Else, it can lead to thinning of your stomach layer and cause rupturing,” he cautions. The next time your mom forces you to eat some karela, you have an excuse handy.
2) Raw cucumbers and tomatoes
If you’re surprised to find something that your mom considers super nutritious here, so are we. Turns out, too much of raw veggies and fruits is not a good idea. “If your diet consists of mostly salads, you won’t have the digestive power to process it,” Jayaraman says. Cooking breaks down the ingredients at a cellular level and helps your body digest it. “People today anyway have lesser digestive powers compared to our ancestors,” he adds. Can we retire the raw food diet fad now, please?
Once again, you can blame this one on smart marketing by big corporations. A lot of us think honey is a natural substitute to sugar and add it to everything from oatmeal to tea. “Honey is one of the most concentrated sources of sugar found in nature. The same rules that apply to sugar also apply to honey. Excess consumption of honey will cause your blood sugar to continue remaining high and also give rise to inflammation,” he says.
4) Protein shakes
But wait, your gym trainer has recommended upping your protein intake, right? Excess protein can actually add load on your kidneys. “Protein shakes are not a natural product. Nowhere in nature would you find such a concentrated amount of protein without carbs or fats,” he says. To put this in context, lentils have carbs, while meat has fat. He adds, “Protein is best consumed from natural sources. If you have too much protein powder in one go and also cut down on fats, you’re bound to end up with nerve pain.” And that won’t be because of the weights you lift at the gym.
Yes, though technically not a food, water makes our list because too many of us have ‘drink water reminder’ apps on our phones. “You’re not supposed to drink more than 30ml of water per kg of body weight. So, if you’re 70 kg, you only need two and a half litre of water,” Jayaraman says. Okay, but does excess water cause any harm? “Yes, apart from toxins, it also washes away vitamins that are water soluble,” he says. Instead, load up on veggies and fruits that are high in water content, like watermelons and peaches.
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