We’ve all heard the term ‘everything in moderation’ yet it often comes following a deliciously in-depth and tempting description of a decadent sweet treat. However, this phrase is also applicable to a number of health foods too. As with everything in nutrition, nothing is ever black and white. Take water, for example, which while undisputedly good for you, in excess can cause electrolyte imbalances. With this in mind, we should always be mindful of the quantity of our consumption, even if the food we’re eating or drinking is defined as healthy. Below nutritionist Jenna Hopeoutlines five healthy foods that you might want to moderate.
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1. Nut butter
“The food item that’s taken Instagram by storm. Nut butter is drizzled over every porridge, smoothie and flex bowl and it’s being consumed by the spoonful. Nut butter is high in monounsaturated fatty acids which is essential for brain and joint health and it’s a source of plant-based protein which will keep you fuller for longer. However, it’s also high in calories and due to its highly palatable texture it can be very easy to over consume. When enjoying nut butter try portioning out your amount (around 1 tbsp) and returning the jar to the cupboard before being tempted by an extra few spoonfuls. One serving is around 95kcal and if you’re easily going back for a second or a third, your snack can very quickly add up.”
“Matcha is a really healthy alternative to coffee, it’s high in antioxidants and contains a compound called L-theanine which exerts calming effects on the brain. The caffeine in matcha is released at a much slower rate than coffee and as a result you don’t get the large spikes and troughs in energy and the subsequent insulin response. However, matcha is still a source of caffeine and shouldn’t be consumed in excess. When consumed late in the afternoon or the evening it can impair your sleep. Those who are particularly stressed or anxious should be cautious of their intake. Over consuming caffeine can stimulate anxiety-like symptoms.”
3. Soya products
“Soya products definitely have their place in the diet for those who may be lactose intolerant, vegetarian or vegan, as they’re a great source of protein, monounsaturated fatty acids and selenium and zinc which contain antioxidant properties. But research has shown that soya does raise oestrogen levels. High levels of oestrogen may contribute to an increased risk in breast cancer. Soy products should be consumed in moderation but you could also try opting for almond, oat or rice milk as an alternative to soya milk where available.”
4. Dried fruits
“Dried fruits make a really good alternative to a high sugar snack when you want to curb sugar cravings. They’re rich in fibre and micronutrients including potassium, magnesium and iron although they’re also high in natural sugars. Too much dried fruit may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes. One serving of dried fruit is about two figs, apricots or dates and a small handful of raisins. One serving of raisins can amount to 20g of sugar which is over two thirds of your daily sugar allowance.”
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“Beetroot has a number of health benefits as it is rich in a range of nutrients and nitrates which can help to reduce blood pressure and improve stamina. However, beetroot is also high in oxalates which can bind to calcium and magnesium to inhibit absorption. Low calcium intake or absorption can increase the risk of weak and brittle bones. When bound to calcium oxalates may contribute to the formation of urinary stones. Other foods which are high in oxalates include: spinach, rhubarb and tea.”
As it can be easy to get carried away with healthy foods it’s important not to consume too much thinking that more is better. However, these foods do have their health benefits and as most foods the advice is to enjoy them as part of a healthy balanced diet.
This post originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar UK.