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| Last Updated:: 01/04/2016

Hidden toxic in healthy food

What happens when health food conceals within it, a bevy of unknown risk factors? We tell you

A normal day in the life of the average urban adult begins at a sleepy 6 am, as he resolutely dons his tracks and sets out on his morning walk. With the words 'health food', 'diet' and 'exercise' forming a major part of our existence, we are with or without our knowledge immersed in the trend of leading a healthy life. And when it comes to dieting, it has become the done thing to supplement our food intake with fruits and vegetables. However, what lies beneath these seemingly healthy foods could be unknown toxins which could do more harm than good. Take for instance, what accounts for the roughage in our diet. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are known to contain a chemical that is known to suppress the activity of the thyroid gland and also interfere with the iodine metabolism. However, according to Dr Tusna Park, health consultant, these vegetables do not contain toxins. "They contain goitrogens, which hinder the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. When there is a deficiency of iodine in the diet, it may lead to hypothyroidism. This may be prevented by using iodised salt," she explains.

"I broke out into a cold sweat and experienced severe stomach pain at a restaurant one day. It was only after I went to a doctor and cross-checked my symptoms did I realise that I was allergic to tomatoes!" says Ankush Sinha, a software professional and compulsive weight watcher. The bad news is that while most vegetables do not cause allergies, there are some common 'healthy' vegetables which are known to contain allergy-causing toxins. These include eggplant and bell peppers, both of which could be possible ingredients of your afternoon sandwich!

Sprouted green potatoes, similarly, have been known to contain alkaloids, chaconine and solanine, that cause mild forms of migraine and drowsiness. Eating veggies raw poses a bigger threat as there is a greater risk of contracting infection through microbes such as E coli and Salmonella. "Eating raw vegetables that have not been washed well and fruits that have been cut and exposed to flies, puts us at risk of gastrointestinal infections," Dr Park insists. It's not just the veggies, fruits too are loaded with hidden toxins! Apricots and prunes cause osmotic diarrhoea, especially among fructose-resistant people. Basic factors for toxicity include temperature swings, low pH, low water content, low soil fertility and improper storage. "Additionally, chemical insecticides and fertilisers are also to be blamed. Chemical sweeteners like aspartame, food colourants, contaminated masala powders and even milk can alter everyday food."

However, despite the alarming risk they pose, vegetables and fruit are storehouses of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and contribute to building antitoxins in our body. Additionally, they are important in fighting diseases, due to the presence of phytochemicals. Therefore, to avoid eating them altogether is not warranted. If you are wary of eating something due to the presence of toxins, always take the guidance of a qualified physician. After all, prevention is better than cure.


Source:Time of India