Health Myths: Not Superfoods

It’s taken for granted that our national food guides are accurate, but many of the common “good for you” foods may play havok with thyroid hormones, sugar levels and more

Conventional medicine recognizes the importance of good nutrition but, as with pharmaceutical drugs, medical science often considers only one aspect of a food while ignoring its holistic impact, “side effects,” or elements that make a fruit or vegetable good for one person but not for everyone. If you’re eating what your doctor recommends, chances are there are foods you think of as good for you that aren’t: among them oranges, bananas, and for many people broccoli, spinach and soy.

Myth: The Vitamin C in Oranges Helps Fight Cold and Flu

Oranges are supposed to be a great source of vitamin C, which is why orange juice is recommended to stave off cold and flu. The trouble is, oranges are both sweet and very acidic. They are considered a high glycemic food, spiking blood sugar, which is a stress to the immune system. They also increase acidity, weakening the body’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses, and increase congestion and mucus production.

Better options for a vitamin C immune system boost:

Apples are high in vitamin C and also contain plenty of fiber, making them a low-glycemic food.
Lemons contain as much vitamin C as oranges, but they improve the body’s acid-alkali balance.

Myth: Bananas are a Good Source of Potassium, Fiber and Energy

Bananas are reputed to be a great source of potassium (which is true) and of energy. But they are also high glycemic, spiking blood sugar and disrupting long-term energy levels.

Celery has more potassium than bananas, and wolfberries are a better, more balanced source of energy and nutrition – as well as a host of other vitamins.

Myth: Eat Broccoli and Spinach for Iron

No mistake – leafy greens are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and in this case, iron. But what few realize is that broccoli and spinach are part of a family of vegetables that contain chemicals called “progoitrins” which mildly suppress thyroid function. Other vegetables in the Brassica family include kale, turnips, mustard, and cauliflower.

Someone trying to lose weight by eating more green veggies will be better served to focus on other vegetables rather than broccoli or spinach, which lower the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood and sabotage weight loss.

Myth: Soy as a Miracle Food

Soy has been touted as a perfect protein source. It is low in fat, easily digested, and easier on the planet’s resources since it’s vegetarian. But what you don’t know can hurt you, as many women (and men) who consume abundant amounts of soy have been finding: soy in excess can contribute to hormone imbalance.

Holistic practitioners now say that tofu and soy have never been consumed in healthy Asian diets to the extent we have been led to believe, and that soy is best consumed as an occasional food rather than a dietary mainstay. Raw foodists tend to recommend avoiding soy and soy products entirely.

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