Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, said food should be your medicine.
If you’re trying to improve your health, chances are you’ve already added healthy foods to your diet, like fruits and vegetables, and taken out a few not-so-healthy items, like pizza and cheesecake. But perhaps you’re still not seeing the results you’d like to or you’re feeling frustrated with the lifestyle shift.
Shopping for healthy foods these days can be challenging because labels are misleading. “Natural” foods are still packed full of preservatives and “fresh” foods are doused in pesticides.
These 10 foods might be making you sick.
Maybe you’ve been trying to lose weight and have been counting calories or maybe you’re trying to improve your cholesterol level but you still don’t feel great.
Many people often feel excited about losing weight but still don’t understand why they feel sick. While you may be making healthier choices in your diet you may be undermining your own efforts for optimum health and wellness by eating these 10 foods. Keep reading to see how these foods might be impacting your health.
1 Brazil Nuts Are Radioactive
When you open the can of mixed nuts the big Brazil nuts seem like a rare treat because there’s usually only a few in the can. The nuts may seem exotic and healthy but they could actually adding to your level of radiation.
In spite of health claims praising the healthy properties of nuts, the Brazil Nut has one of the highest levels of radiation of all foods. Your body is exposed to radiation every time you get a dental x-ray or a CT scan, and while eating a few Brazil nuts won’t kill you it will add to your overall lifetime exposure levels.
Brazil Nuts also contain a large amount of phytic acid, which can prevent useful minerals like iron and zinc from being absorbed into the body. Zinc is an important mineral that aids your immune system in healing infections and wounds.
By eating foods, like Brazil nuts, you could ultimately be preventing your immune system from functioning as it should, putting you at an increased risk for illness and making you sick. Next time you see one of the large Brazil Nuts in a can of mixed nuts, maybe just skip it and grab some more cashews.
A handful of cashews has been shown to aid in fighting depression.
2 Soy Messes with Your Hormones And it’s Everywhere
You’ve traded in your bad habits and are making amends by avoiding meat. Not only are you saving the animals, you think you’re also saving your body from unnecessary hormones and antibiotics.
But by eating a plant-based diet you can also damaging your hormonal balance. Soy is in just about everything these days so it can be hard to avoid.
Not only is it in the more obvious places (soy sauce, tofu, etc.) but it can also be found in chocolate, cereal, candy and butter. Vegetarians often eat a much higher amount of soy than carnivores because many vegetarian “meat” substitutes are made from soy.
Soy is what’s known as a “phytoestrogen” or a plant-based estrogen, the female sex hormone. Eating too much soy can have a huge impact on your body’s hormones.
Soy’s plant-based hormones can also mimic the body’s thyroid hormones.
The thyroid gland, located at the front of your throat, has a role in everything from your metabolism, skin, hair and nail health and even your mental health.
Thyroid conditions can often cause suffered to feel extreme fatigue, agitation and can slow down digestion to cause painful constipation. Since soy is in so many different foods it’s important to check the label and be sure you’re not eating soy in excess.
It’s highly likely it’s sneaking into your diet so don’t add to your body’s hormonal burden by eating it voluntarily.
3 Cotton Candy Isn’t As Fun as It Seems
You can smell the sweet scent in the air from three carnival rides away. When you finally get to the cotton candy maker the treat melts as soon as it hits your tongue.
You might not feel guilty about eating the puffy candy since it’s a carnival favorite, but this should go without saying: cotton candy, all candy really, should be avoided. It’s loaded with sugar (and indeed is made of almost exclusively sugar) which can wreck havoc on every single one of your body systems.
Excessive blood sugar causes your body to stop reacting to insulin the way it’s supposed to. Insulin is basically a messenger hormone that tells your body how to store energy. Once your body stops reacting to insulin you may become diabetic. Diabetes requires constant monitoring and can become a very life-altering disease.
If not managed properly diabetes can lead to nerve damage, blindness, and amputation.
Sugar is also known to cause inflammation. Inflammation, or swelling, is your body’s way of fighting off infection or healing an injury. Aesthetically, eating too much sugar can cause you to gain weight and has been linked to acne and other unsightly skin conditions.
Our diets are loaded with excess sugar and putting more of a burden on your body’s systems by eating foods made of pure sugar will only cause problems. Try to avoid sugar whenever possible.
4 Don’t Cut Into That Cheese
Wine and cheese: one of life’s perfect pairings. While you might feel fancy eating cheese with your wine it can turn into a completely unpleasant experience. A large number of adults are lactose intolerant, though many may not know they are.
Lactose intolerance comes from the body being unable to process lactose, the sugar found in dairy products like cheese. Babies and young children aren’t often lactose intolerant because they rely on their mother’s breast milk for survival.
However, as we age our bodies stop producing the hormones necessary to digest lactose. As a result we can become lactose intolerant. For someone who has trouble breaking down lactose, eating cheese or drinking milk can cause stomach discomfort, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and cramps.
Eating even a small amount of cheese, like what you might find topping an otherwise healthy salad, can cause one or more, or a combination of these symptoms sometimes up to two hours after eating. Try cutting all dairy products out of your diet for a few weeks and then slowly reintroduce cheese and milk into your diet.
If you notice you’re not feeling well after that slice of pizza you’ll know you if you’re lactose intolerant.
5 Beans: The Not-so Magical Fruit
You think you’re being healthy by choosing refried beans as a side at the restaurant. But your date might not appreciate the affect.
You remember the childhood song that goes “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…?” There’s a reason that song made you giggle so much.
Beans can cause a host of uncomfortable and embarrassing digestive upsets. While beans are a good source of protein and fiber, they also contain a sugar compound our bodies are ill-equipped to break down.
As a result the bacteria in our intestines break down the compounds and when they do it can cause you to experience excess gas. While being gassy isn’t attractive, it can also be highly uncomfortable, causing sometimes intense pain in the abdominal area.
If you must eat beans add it to your diet slowly and try not to eat too much. Otherwise get your protein and fiber needs met by eating lean meats and leafy green vegetables.
6 Don’t Eat Canned Tomatoes
It’s time for dinner, you’re in a rush and want to make a healthy dinner for your family.
You reach for the can of tomatoes to add some vegetables to the dish. But you probably don’t realize you’re also giving your family a big dose of a potentially cancer-causing agent.
In much the same way your should’t buy a water bottle that isn’t specially marked as being BPA free, you also shouldn’t eat canned tomatoes. Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is a compound found in a lot of food storage containers.
It can easily leech out from the container into the food it’s holding, especially with a food as acidic as tomatoes. BPA affects the hormones in your body, especially estrogen (which is present in both males and females.
While the FDA is still studying the definitive effects of BPA on the body there are numerous reports suggesting it has ill effect on the immune, endocrine and reproductive system. Instead of potentially trading your health for convenience when you’re shopping in the canned food aisle, opt for fresh tomatoes.
Several companies also sell tomatoes in glass jars and of course you can can your own tomatoes just like your grandparents used to.
7 Put Down The microwave Popcorn
It’s family movie night and the kids are almost as excited about the new summer block buster as they are the hot, buttery popcorn. But before you put that bag of kernels in the microwave think twice.
Microwaveable popcorn is a quick and easy snack, sure. But did you know you’re eating a ton of unhealthy chemicals that can cause a whole slew of health problems- including cancer!
Microwavable popcorn is often made with artificial flavorings, namely diacetyl. This chemical has been known to cause lung disease in factory workers who are exposed to it. Opening the bag of popcorn and breathing in the steam also exposes you to the same chemical.
The bags are also lined with another carcinogenic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid. The chemical helps to keep the popped kernels from sticking to the bag and it the same thing that non-stick pots and pans use. This chemical has been known to cause cancer.
The best, healthiest way to eat popcorn is to purchase an air popper or make it in your own pot with healthy olive oil. It’ll save you empty calories and reduce your risk of illness later on.
8 Don’t Eat That Box of Orange Mac And Cheese
You ate it all the time when you were a kid so it must not be that bad, right? Wrong. Kids love the boxes of macaroni and cheese but that doesn’t make it good. Convenient though macaroni and cheese may be it’s absolutely loaded with preservatives and artificial colors and flavorings.
All of which comes with a plethora of side effects. Not only that, the ingredients call for a stick of margarine which is basically a trans fat. Trans fats are one type of unsaturated fat. Eating tans fats can cause heart disease, a leading cause of death.
Trans fats have also been linked to obesity, high cholesterol and even depression. If you must make macaroni and cheese, make it yourself. Use whole wheat pasta, and real cheese, you can even add vegetables to make it more healthy.
Some companies, like Annie’s, make organic versions of macaroni and cheese and lack all of the extra preservatives found in other brands.
9 The Not-So-Hot Dog
The neighbors are all enjoying the weather in the backyard. The dogs and burgers are grilling and the smell has everyone’s mouths watering.
You might feel like choosing the hot dog will be a less caloric choice but it may not be worth the trade off. Processed and preserved meats, like that found in hot dogs and lunch meats, are full of nitrates which are used to preserve the meat. Nitrates have been linked to cancer.
You’re also probably eating the hot dog with sugary ketchup on a white bun which once it gets into your body will turn into sugar and cause the same problems a chocolate bar would.
If you’re grilling out opt instead for a hamburger on a whole wheat bun with mustard. At least that way you’re eating less heavily preserved ground meat and skipping out on the empty calories found in the white bread.
10 Get Wild With Fish
As much as you might like to, you can’t go fishing every day. Instead you buy your fish from the supermarket, frozen or fresh, and expect it to improve your health.
Eating fish is very healthy. Fish is an excellent source of protein and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. But if you’re going to eat fish make sure it’s wild caught.
Most of what you find the supermarkets is farmed. Farmed fish is contained in a much smaller space that the fish are in the wild. Waste and contaminates are more likely to end up in the fish and into you when you eat it.
Farmed fish are also often fed inexpensive diets loaded with everything from animal byproducts to soy. If you’re going to eat fish (which you should because it can be very healthy) make absolutely certain is was caught in the wild.
It should be clearly marked on the label. If it isn’t ask the seafood attendant for help.
11. Anything Else?
If you find something that should be included in this list, post it in the comments below.