When you get sick, your doctor would tell you to eat fruits and vegetables and stay hydrated. It’s also the classic advice for kids growing up. Adults who want to go on a diet or prevent diseases are told the same thing. But does the warning “too much of anything is bad” also apply to a healthy diet?
It is, especially if you’re battling a disease. It seems ironic, given that healthy food is known for preventing and curing different health problems. But the human body is a complex one; if it’s been infected with a disease, it won’t react well with certain types of food. That said, here are some healthy kinds of food you may need to avoid depending on your health condition:
Hearing that you should reduce your coffee intake can be one of the worst things you’d ever hear. To many, coffee is the kickstarter of the day and an energy booster when drowsiness occurs. It is also healthy because coffee is loaded with antioxidants that can lower your risks for type 2 diabetes and liver diseases, among others.
However, health experts only recommend no more than 400 mg of coffee per day. Consuming 500 to 600 mg is considered excessive. Too much coffee—and caffeine, for that matter—can overwhelm your nervous system and cause insomnia, irritability, stomach cramps, nervousness, heart palpitations, and muscle tremors.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great protein sources. But if you have an autoimmune disease, these healthful snacks are excluded from your autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet. The AIP diet is part of an effective autoimmune disease treatment plan. Besides nuts and seeds, it excludes other sources of protein, some fruits, fruit byproducts, and vegetables.
Brazil nuts, for example, are among the best dietary sources of selenium. But consuming more than 300 micrograms of it per day exceeds the upper tolerance level for its safe intake. To put it in perspective, that’s only four to five pieces of Brazil nuts per day. That much Brazil nuts can put you at risk of selenium toxicity, which can cause nail and hair loss, digestive issues, and memory gaps. Those are already your symptoms if you have an autoimmune disease. Thus, consuming selenium can worsen your condition.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale. They offer plenty of benefits, such as lowering your cancer and heart disease risks. As such, cruciferous veggies tend to make up a large part of many people’s diets.
However, these vegetables contain compounds called thiocyanates. They disrupt your body’s ability to absorb iodine. As a result, your risks for hypothyroidism, a common autoimmune disease, may increase.
Dairy is highly unpopular to those with lactose intolerance. But people with this condition shouldn’t be the only ones wary of dairy. Studies have found a link between dairy and cancer. The protein IGF-1, which dairy products carry, has been associated with an increased risk for prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers.
Though research is still inconclusive, evidence shows that the type of dairy often consumed plays a critical role in the outcome.
For example, one study has shown that while total dairy intake didn’t elevate cancer mortality rates, whole milk consumption did increase the mortality rate for prostate cancer.
Thankfully, yogurt and other fermented dairy products aren’t included in the risky dairy category. On the contrary, they help decrease risks for cancers.
5. Tuna (Both Canned and Fresh)
Tuna is one of the most highly recommended protein sources. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. But tuna, in particular, may also contain high levels of methylmercury. In high amounts, methylmercury can cause developmental delays in children. Effects include impaired hearing and speech, lack of coordination, and vision problems.
Hence, if you are pregnant or have a child who’s already exhibiting developmental delays, limit your intake of tuna. The child could only eat one 75 g (2.6 oz) serving of canned, white tuna every 19 days. Exceeding this amount surpasses the recommended upper limit.
If you’re pregnant, limit your tuna intake or any other mercury-laced seafood to no more than two times per week. Try salmon, sardines, mackerel, and trout instead.
Sadly, most types of food in this list are typical comfort food. But there are more and better options out there. Explore your creativity by creating unique recipes out of those healthier options. Most importantly, heed your doctor’s advice. If they tell you to avoid something that happens to be your favorite, practice self-control. You will be rewarded with a healthier body and mind in time. And when you get cured, you can slowly increase your intake of these forbidden food items, but without exceeding the upper limit, of course.