We all know the saying there are always exceptions that prove the rule. The general rule is that eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is exceptionally good for you, but there are a few exceptions to this rule that might surprise you. Some natural foods contain compounds that hinder your health.
For instance - oxalic acid is found in rhubarb, spinach, parsley, strawberries, cranberries, beets, and Swiss Chard. Oxalic acid binds with minerals like calcium, iron and zinc in the digestive tract hindering their absorption. If you are prone to kidney stones I suggest you go easy on the above mentioned foods, as kidney stones are often made up of oxalates, coming mainly from the diet.
Phytic acid also hinders absorption of minerals and is especially high in wheat. Grains like brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, barley, oats are much better for you. Wheat bran is really high in phytic acid and can cause a mineral deficiency. So remove one problem grain from your diet and add the five healthy grains.
Sulfur rich foods can cause some people digestive problems like wind, discomfort and pain these foods include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, and onions. If your digestive system blows up with these foods, never eat them raw, cook lightly with seeds like dill, caraway, or fennel as these seeds aid the digestive system to cope better. Sulfur is an important part of our body's make-up and has long been used as part of a healing program for arthritis. Sulfur has been prized since ancient times for healing throughout history by bathing in sulfur springs - often recommended for rheumatic or skin problems, high blood pressure, neuralgia or digestive disorders and so much more.
If you have digestive problems then maybe the answer is to soak your feet in Epsom salts, it is magnesium sulfate and the feet (being highly absorbent) will allow the body to soak up what it needs, by-passing your digestive system.
The deadly nightshade family contain traces of a poison known as Solanaceae. The foods most people eat that are from this family are tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines also known as eggplants, and any color peppers. The alkaloids in these vegetables can and do acidify the blood. Alkaloids have been known to subtly remove calcium from the bones and deposit it in soft tissue, and for some it can be a contributory factor to kidney stones, osteoporosis, arthritis, aches and pains in general etc.
Then there are foods that contain goitrogens, these compounds block the body from using iodine, this could negatively affect the thyroid function, if the function is already weak or compromised. Found in foods like soy and products made from soy, mustard, and cabbage. If you suspect your thyroid is struggling - cut down on soy products. The little you might have in the way of mustard is not worth worrying about.
Tannins also hinders the absorption of minerals like iron, calcium etc. Where would you find substantial amounts of tannins? In black tea. If you are going to drink black tea then cut down the amount you have or don't drink tea with your meal.
So what does this all mean? If you have a problem like osteoporosis, you should think about the amount of foods you are consuming that have been mentioned above. Give your body the best chance possible to absorb and utilize minerals. So if you are eating loads of wheat and wheat bran consider cutting down or giving up wheat altogether and add the other grains to your diet. If you suspect you have a thyroid problem avoid all soy and soy products. If you are someone who is full of aches and pain, it would be worth asking yourself if you eating too many foods from the dead nightshade family? If you have a propensity to form kidney stones you need to write down everything you eat, to see if you are eating too many of the above mentioned foods.
If you don't have any of the above problems, just make sure you are not eating these foods too often, moderate the amount you eat by varying your diet with other natural foods. One of our biggest problems these days is that most people in reality like to stick to just a few foods. There are no longer seasons, in the supermarkets, generally foods are available all year round. In the past this would have ensured people ate what was in season and would have to change their eating habits regularly. It isn't unusual for people to consider that pasta one day, pizza the next, and a cheese and tomato sandwich is eating a variety of foods. When in reality they are all variants of wheat, tomato and cheese.
The key is to eat more variety of natural foods and eat the above mentioned foods less often. Many people have said to me in the past if they cut down or remove these foods from their diet they will have nothing left to eat!! This is the point - their diet has become so limited. There's a whole world of food out there, a vast variety these days. We know from statistics that most people eat very few fruit and vegetables except potatoes and tomatoes, yet there is an exciting array of fruit and vegetables out there.
Sonia Jones ND - Naturopath, nutritional therapist and author of three published books
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