Good for me but bad for you: We often read articles on the wide web saying that this food is so good for you, this other one should not be missing from your diet or that you really have to eat this one to stay healthy. But what we are not being told is that, irrespective of how healthy something can be, it just might not be very good for us. And that is ok. When a favorite publication releases an article praising the health benefits of a certain food, be it a fruit, a vegetable or some spice or herb, we are inclined to believe that it is healthy for us too.
But when we try it and realize we do not feel very good after eating it, it becomes very frustrating because, in our mind, everyone can eat it, except for us. Some people will even continue to eat a certain product, even if it makes them feel worse than before including it in their diet just because they are being told it’s so great it can’t be bad for anyone.
In such cases perseverence is not the key because we might end up ruining our health in some way just because we are led to believe that we are all the same, so we must all eat the same things. In reality, we are all unique and some of us have different needs than others, different food tolerances and sensitivites. We just need to find out what is good for us and keep or start eating it and cut out the foods that are making us feel sick, even tough they are good for others.
Many people nowadays, for example, are lactose intolerant. However, there are just as many people who find it difficult to just properly digest dairy products, despite not having been diagnosed with lactose intolerance. How is this possible? We are all different and what works for some of us may not work just as well for others. Dairy products generally take longer to digest and are rich in animal fat and protein, making them a complex food. While I have absolutely no problem with dairy products, some people I know find hard cheeses, milk, even healthy products such as yogurt or kefir very hard on the stomach, making digestion difficult, worsening acid reflux problems and even gastritis.
Pineapple is another tricky food, despite being rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and anti-inflammatory compounds. Many people experience tooth sensitivity, pain, a burning sensation on the tip of the tongue, stomach cramps or even severe heartburn after eating only two or three slices of it. This is because pineapple contains bromelain, a group of protein-digesting enzymes that can cause stomach upset and many other bothersome symptoms in people sensitive to it. Papaya is another food that might be good for some, but bad for others. Papaya contains papain, a compound occurring naturally in the fruit, but with an action similar to that of bromelain in pineapple.
Some people, like me, have problems with mango fruit. If I eat only a few slices of mango, my teeth start to become incredibly sensitive, like something is eating into them and into my gums. And it won’t go away for at least two days. The same goes for lemons. Despite everyone recommending warm water with lemon juice as a flawless morning cure-all, I can honestly say I feel the lemon juice eating away into my teeth. Not to mention it can upset the stomach mucosa, moreso for people dealing with gastritis problems.
Coffee is another problematic ‘food’. There are people who can drink 5 or more cups of coffee a day and feel great, while others may only sip on some coffee and their heart rate goes up and down, while their blood pressure skyrockets. Even common foods such as bell peppers, garlic and cucumbers can be problematic for some people with more sensitive stomachs, while others cannot simply eat cabbage without feeling full of air and belch their way through their day. A friend of mine does not even tolerate cocoa because of its stimulant properties which make him very agitated and give him palpitations and extrasystoles. So he just avoids chocolate.
Bottom line is: listen to your body. Your mind and body work together so if there is something wrong with you physically, your body will let your brain know. Let’s say you try a new fruit or a new tea, but don’t feel great after consuming it. The only sensible solution is to discontinue consumption and see whether or not your symptoms go away.
No two people are alike so nothing you read on the Internet, in books or magazines must apply to you too, as well as to billions of others. We are tempted by so many things and overwhelmed with an impossible volume of information, but we hold the key to distinguishing between what is good for us and what is bad.