You're trying your best to be healthy, staying away from the sweets aisle in the grocery store, munching on nuts instead of chips and eating your greens. So why do you still feel like you're not at your best health? Perhaps you're overdoing it in the healthy foods department. Yes, too much of a good thing -- even a healthy thing -- can lead to upset stomach, bloating, tiredness and even weight gain.
"There's a reason why Mother Nature gave us so many options. We need variety," explains LA-based holistic nutritionist Erin Huggins. "Not only is eating a variety of food better for health, but it keeps us more satisfied and less likely to reach for the junk." So that means that even though you love oranges, almonds or avocados, it's best to eat them in moderation and introduce new foods regularly.
Because people often think snacking on fruit instead of sweets is better, they tend to overconsume. "True, it's full of fiber and essential nutrients, but some fruit is actually very high in sugar -- therefore I recommend only eating it in season," explains Huggins. "Take mango, for example. One mango has over 30 grams of sugar. Naturally occurring or not, that's a lot of sugar to be consuming all the time." The result is flux in blood sugar levels.
Another health food that should be eaten in moderation? Nuts and seeds because of their high-fat content. "Nuts are probably a great example of foods that are condensed powerhouses and should be eaten in smaller quantities," warns Kino MacGregor, co-owner/founder of Miami Life Center. "Both the nutrient and calorie level is high in these small packets and as such they can be a great addition to a healthy diet. But if eaten in excess over a long period of time, the body may experience imbalance."
Since every body is unique, the consequences of eating too much of one thing can vary from bloating, gas, and stomachache to breakouts and hormonal imbalances. In some cases, it can even cause illness (such as eating too much raw fish). It's best to listen to your body -- if eating more than a small handful of nuts gives you bloating and stomach cramps, cut back or look at the time of day you're eating them. "Eating too much of one thing can cause nutrient deficiencies, metabolic and hormonal imbalances, and you can also develop food intolerances," explains Huggins.
One of the biggest keys to weight loss and overall health is managing your portion sizes when eating. "Dairy and nuts should be condiment-sized servings. In general, protein should be [consumed in portions] the size of the palm of your hand. Your veggies can be slightly bigger than that," Huggins advises.
It's long been talked about, but it's probably the best health and diet advice anyone can follow: Eat a well-rounded, balanced diet of varying foods from all food groups. "Some people need more protein and fats, some people need more carbs. So a healthy, balanced diet is different for everyone," says Huggins.
In the end it's all about getting to know your body and what it needs to be at its healthiest. "It is really best to work with a nutritionist to determine the perfect balance for your body," says MacGregor.
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