Parents often insist that their children drink milk, but why? Kids who don’t drink cow’s milk are just as healthy as those who do, studies show. In fact, research suggests that milk-free kids may be less likely to develop colic, ear infections, and asthma.
The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend cow’s milk for children younger than one.
What about getting enough calcium? No problem–there’s plenty of the bone-building nutrient in green leafy vegetables, beans, fortified juices, soymilk and many other foods. One notable exception is spinach. The calcium it contains is poorly absorbed by the body.
Canned Tomato Sauce
You might not associate canned tomatoes and tomato sauces with high fructose corn syrup when you’re making spaghetti and meatballs. However, when it comes to hidden sources of sugar, your favorite canned tomato sauce is likely one of the sweetest culprits, secretly contributing to increased rates of obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and dental decay.
To top your pasta with a healthier sauce, check labels for a low sugar, low sodium tomato sauce or make your own using fresh tomatoes and herbs. You can also find cans of pureed tomatoes with no added sugars or salt to mix with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, fresh spices, or chopped onions and garlic for added flavor. Remember, it’s always best to add your own spices so you know what’s going into your food.
The sugary soda bomb is not your friend. It’s not kind to your waistline. It’s not gentle on your teeth. And it can wreak chaos on your skin, your hormones, your anxiety levels, and your blood glucose. Each fizzy can you guzzle down is null and void of nutritional benefits, unless you consider about 10 teaspoons of refined sugar in your best interest.
Soft drinks also contain hearty doses of artificial food dyes and preservatives like BVO (brominated vegetable oil). So do yourself a favor the next time you’re thirsty for a satisfying fizz, pour a tall glass of sparkling water and add a splash of lemon, lime, or 100-percent fruit juice.
Rice (especially rice grown in Texas) contains arsenic, a toxin that can cause bad things like vomiting, abdominal pain, and vertigo when consumed in large quantities. The highest levels are found in brown rice, the lowest in instant rice. Despite the toxin’s presence, it would be incredibly difficult to poison yourself by eating too much rice in one day. That’s not to say nothing bad will happen; consistent exposure to even low doses of arsenic over time can lead to heart disease.
Nitrates may sound like a ticking time bomb, which isn’t far from the truth when you consider the levels of sodium, preservatives, and additives that lend deli meats—like ham, salami, and bologna—their rosy shade. Adults who regularly partake risk increased rates of heart disease, and cancer. While studies show that meat lunching kids are prone to learning issues and behavioral conditions.
If you need meat for sandwiches, buy deli meats straight from your local butcher and have them sliced to order. They might no last as long as packaged meats, but they’ll contain far fewer harmful preservatives. You can also buy a flat of chicken breasts and slice them into thin strips for sandwiches and stir fries, as you need them, throughout the week.
You might have made the swap from refined white sugar to an artificial sweetener—like acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, or sucralose—because artificial sweeteners contain fewer calories. However, just because the FDA labels them safe for human consumption, doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Numerous studies have linked low- and zero-calorie foods and beverages to heightened risk of metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease. In fact, many food scientists consider aspartame “the most dangerous substance on the planet.” If you need a touch of sweetness, use natural agave syrup, honey, or real maple syrup sparingly.
One of the most common allergies is to peanuts. The most severe response is anaphylaxis, which can lead to severe constriction of the airways, shock, and even loss of consciousness. It is dangerous enough to cause death if left untreated, so know your allergies before stepping anywhere near these babies or their addictive friend, peanut butter.
Stone Fruit Seeds and Apple Seeds
Apples and stone fruits — cherries, plums, apples, pears, peaches, and apricots — are nature’s candy, but stay away from the seeds (as well as the bark and leaves). They contain amygdalin, a compound that produces cyanide. Large doses can lead to dizziness and vomiting, increased blood pressure, kidney failure, coma, and even death.
Energy bars are in the same boat as sports drinks – most people don’t need them. If you’re an elite athlete who desperately needs to keep protein intake high and eat every 2-3 hours, then these bars can definitely be convenient. However, most people don’t need to eat that often and these bars don’t contain anything that you can’t get from real foods. Energy bars and protein bars are often highly processed products. Even though they may be higher in protein than chocolate bars, they often still contain the same unhealthy ingredients.Sugar, white flour, artificial flavor… you name it, they’ve got it. Of course, there are some healthier brands available, but if you want to avoid the crap then you must read labels!If you’re starving and far away from home, then healthier types of energy bars can certainly be better than a burger and a coke, but your money is still better spent on real foods.
We love us some berries, but the elderberry plant, used in medicinal syrups, sodas, and liquors, can cause a severely upset stomach, so stay away from the stems and leaves.
This seed (no, it isn’t actually a nut) may pack in many health benefits — but they are also potentially full of poison. Bitter almonds, while in their raw form, are full of cynaide. They need to go through a specialized heat treatment (more than just your DIY oven roasting) in order to remove the toxins.