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Generally speaking, most of us would consider highly processed, packaged foods, which are high in fat, salt or sugar (or all 3!) to be bad for us or unhealthy. But, depending on who you are, heralded superfoods like kale and coconut oil can often do more harm than good!

I would have thought that collard greens, being packed with antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C, are super healthy. However, after every time eating them, and noticing that my abdomen would them swell to double the size after eating them, I learned that collard greens are a cruciferous type of vegetable and, due to the sulphur content, may cause bloating in many people… Including me!

Now this isn’t an issue for everyone, but for me specifically, collards are a no-no. For others they are an important part of well balanced diet. The important thing is to find out what is right for you – and thanks to today’s technology, we can now actually do that from the palm of your hand! Thankfully, the only issues I had were poor digestion and discomfort as a result. For some people, eating certain foods can be downright dangerous. One man’s cure can be another man’s poison.

Here are 3 healthy foods that could be dangerous for you:

  • Kale, cabbage, and brussel sprouts are great examples for this because they are super healthy greens that are often promoted as very healthy1. However, they are brassicaceae (aka crucifers or brassica). They contain goitrogens which means that they can affect the thyroid and cause goiters2, 3, 4.
  • Licorice root is another great example because it’s great for so many things like stomach problems (colic, ulcers, inflammation, heartburn) while also being fantastic for fighting bacterial and viral infections, bronchial problems, coughs and sore throat5-10. The problem is that it increases blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people who already have high blood pressure11-15.
  • There are pros and cons to phytoestrogenic foods, such as soy and flax. While soy has gained a bad reputation now due to such a large portion of it being genetically modified around the world, flax is promoted as a superfood because it is full of Omega 3, lignans and other great nutrients. Though some women benefit from an estrogen boost16-20, others need to stay away from it; especially if they’ve had or are currently fighting a hormone-positive type of cancer21-24.

The key to superfoods is finding the foods that are super for you right now. Everyone is different. We are all genetically unique and we live in various environments, with different lifestyles and levels of stress so naturally we are going to have different digestive systems and unique dietary needs. I don’t have high blood pressure so I can eat all the licorice root I like! I’d better stay away from those collards though unless I want to waste time in pain and discomfort. The opposite may be true for you.

After getting sick of not being able to zip up my jeans, (yes, it does seem quite quite superficial, but the fact is I only have one pair!) I cut collards out of my diet. I’ve personalised they way I eat – getting the nutrients I need from sources that I know are perfect for me right now, rather than following the often farcical food fashions. My digestion has greatly improved as has my bloating. And those jeans slide on without a problem.

The best way to avoid potentially harmful foods is know your body. Find out how it works and how different environmental factors can have an effect on it. Know the quality of foods that you ingest and of course, be conscious of what you are putting into it. Find out what your body wants with Shae. The right food can help you feel like a million bucks and have you in optimum health. The wrong food might well just poison you.


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  2. Choi, Wook Jin, and Jeongseon Kim. “Dietary factors and the risk of thyroid cancer: a review.” Clinical nutrition research 3.2 (2014): 75-88.
  3. Hughes, Kiernan, and Creswell Eastman. “Goitre: Causes, investigation and management.” Australian family physician 41.8 (2012): 572.
  4. Cartea, M.E., Velasco, P., 2008. Glucosinolates in Brassica foods: bioavailability infood and significance for human health. Phytochem. Rev. 7, 213–229.
  5. Isbrucker, R. A., and G. A. Burdock. “Risk and safety assessment on the consumption of Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza sp.), its extract and powder as a food ingredient, with emphasis on the pharmacology and toxicology of glycyrrhizin.” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 46.3 (2006): 167-192.
  6. Tanaka, Aki, et al. “Antioxidant and anti‐inflammatory activities of water distillate and its dichloromethane extract from licorice root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) and chemical composition of dichloromethane extract.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 88.7 (2008): 1158-1165.
  7. Aly, Adel M., Laith Al-Alousi, and Hatem A. Salem. “Licorice: a possible anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer drug.” AAPS PharmSciTech 6.1 (2005): E74-E82.
  8. Wu, Tien-Yuan, et al. “Anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidative stress activities and differential regulation of Nrf2-mediated genes by non-polar fractions of tea Chrysanthemum zawadskii and licorice Glycyrrhiza uralensis.” The AAPS journal 13.1 (2011): 1-13.
  9. Kim JY, Park SJ, Yun KJ, Cho YW, Park HJ, Lee KT.Isoliquiritigenin isolated from the roots of Glycyrrhiza uralensisinhibits LPS-induced iNOS and COX-2 expression via theattenuation of NF-kappaB in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Eur JPharmacol. 2008;584(1):175–84.
  10. Asl MN, Hosseinzadeh H. Review of pharmacological effects ofGlycyrrhiza sp. and its bioactive compounds. Phytother Res.2008;22( 6):709–24.
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  16. Setchell KDR, Brown NM, Lydeking-Olsen E. The clinicalimportance of the metabolite equol – a clue to the effec-tiveness of soy and its isoflavones. J Nutr. 2002;132:3577–3584.
  17. Setchell KDR, Clerici C, Lephart ED, et al. S-equol, a potentligand for estrogen receptor b, is the exclusive enantiomeric form of the soy isoflavone metabolite produced by humanintestinal bacterial flora. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81:1072–1079.
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  19. Han, Kyung K., et al. “Benefits of soy isoflavone therapeutic regimen on menopausal symptoms.” Obstetrics & Gynecology 99.3 (2002): 389-394.
  20. Huntley, Alyson L., and Edzard Ernst. “Soy for the treatment of perimenopausal symptoms—a systematic review.” Maturitas 47.1 (2004): 1-9.
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