ONE of Spain’s main consumer organisations has warned that excessive consumption of “trendy” foods, “green” supplements and “detox” products can be harmful to health.
The OCU says aloin, one of the main components of aloe vera, can be toxic above a certain dosage. The precise volume is “under investigation” and safe levels for humans have not been determined.
The OCU warns: “Many European countries do not have adequate monitoring systems for this plant-based substance.”
The milder downside is that aloin can create a laxative effect, and, should you become aware, consumption of aloe vera juice, or supplements, should be cut down considerably.
Taking green-tea supplements, or drinking it in huge quantities, can also be associated with liver damage, according to the OCU.
Catechins are abundant in green tea, and these are the elements associated with the natural antioxidant effect, which helps prevent cell damage. But consuming more than 800 milligrams a day is harmful to the liver.
This quantity would not come from three or four cups of green tea a day. But in the case of green-tea extract supplements, often taken by those who want the benefits but are not keen on the bitter taste of the drink, there is a significant risk where these are very highly-concentrated, and exceed your daily catechin maximum.
“Detox” smoothies, such as “green juice”, popular in the US and made from a combination of green vegetables and fruit, are not proven, scientifically, to clear the system of toxins.
In fact, nutritionists point out that humans do not need to “detox”, because their kidneys, liver, lymph glands and other bodily functions, do so quite adequately.
Oxalic acid, naturally present in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, can cause extremely painful kidney stones, if more than 180 milligrams is consumed daily.
High doses of oxalic acid are also associated with the body’s failure to absorb other necessary minerals, such as calcium, iron and potassium.
Nitrate content in these types of drink are of particular concern, since green, leafy vegetables contain much higher concentrations of this type of chemical than other plant-based products.
Many types of processed meat have nitrates added to them to improve their colour and preserve them. But high levels of nitrates and nitrites can create nitrosamines in the human body, which increase the cancer risk. And nitrates have been associated with migraines!
Fresh greens, unless cooked thoroughly, also carry the risk of passing on bacteria, or certain types of virus, since they have not been subjected to any type of preservation treatment.
Raw shiitake mushrooms, another “fashionable food” for which consumption has rocketed in recent years, has been associated with a much higher incidence of dermatitis, especially in France.
That’s because of its high content of lentinan, a natural sugar found in these vegetables, which is killed off when exposed to the cooking heat.
Symptoms can last for between three and 21 days, and patients end up having to be treated with cortico-steroids or antihistamines, or both.
Eating excessive seaweed can lead to an iodine overdose, warns the OCU. It also contains a high content of heavy metals, such as arsenic, and can be carriers of chemical and microbiological pollutants.
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