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 or feel great, lose weight or boost your energy levels. But what we are not being told is that, irrespective of how healthy something may be, it just might not be very good for you and this is reason enough not to eat it. And that is perfectly alright since no food is universally health or good for absolutely everyone. There is not such thing. There are however foods with benefits and side effects, dictated by intake and individual sensitivities or existing health issues. Not to mention that we all know just too well that not even some of our favorite foods are that good for us.
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 quite frustrating because, in our mind, everyone can eat it, except for us. And that is inexplicable. Some people will even continue to eat a certain food, even if it produces side effects, including it in their diet just because they are being told it’s so great it can’t be bad for anyone and that they have to persevere despite visibly side effects. Sadly, some people mistakenly believe that the side effects they are experiencing after eating a certain food are a good sign, a sign the food is somehow working its magic and detoxifying the body. And that’s just not true. If you experience side effects after eating a food, any food, it simply means it’s not good for you.
Sometimes perseverance is not the key because we might end up ruining our health in one way or another when we force ourselves to eat some food that is just making us feel sick. It’s wrong to assume that we are all the same and must all eat the same things. In reality, we are all unique, different from one another and some of us have particular nutritional requirements, different food tolerances and sensitivities. We just need to find out what is good for us and keep or start eating that and avoid eating what is making us feel sick, even tough it may be good for others. Many people nowadays, for example, are lactose intolerant. However, there are just as many people who find it more difficult to just properly digest dairy products, despite not having actual 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 some of us have absolutely no problem with dairy products, others may find hard cheeses, milk, even healthy products such as yogurt, soured milk or kefir very heavy on the stomach, making digestion difficult, worsening acid reflux problems or an existing gastritis (see article on Foods to Eat and to Avoid for Acid Reflux).
Pineapple is another potentially problematic 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 tooth enamel. Not to mention it can upset the stomach, more so for people dealing with gastritis problems (see article Why Warm Lemon Water Is Bad for You).
Coffee is another problematic ‘food’. There are people who can drink 5 or more cups of coffee a day and say they feel great, while others may only have a sip or two and their heart rate starts going up and down, while their blood pressure skyrockets (see article 6 Reasons Coffee Is Bad for You).
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. Also read 7 Side Effects of Eating Chocolate and Chocolate Allergy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.
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.