Health

Vegetables that Can Harm Your Health

Paul Nganga
4 months ago
Vegetables that Can Harm Your Health

We all know that vegetables are healthy and good for our bodies. But did you know that some vegetables can be harmful to your health?

You have all along been made to believe that vegetables are the healthiest food variety you can have on this planet. But today, we have to debunk this myth and stop slaving ourselves on this plant diet. The reality is that some vegetables could be killing you inside, more than the carnivore diet that most of us fear.

Harmful Chemicals Present in Vegetables

Vegetables and many other plants contain chemicals that act against the body. We are aware that prey animals use different techniques like camouflaging or unpalatability to keep off predators. And plants are not left behind either. They contain chemicals, which they release to avoid being eaten. 

The most notable one is oxalic acid. This chemical compound attracts essential minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium and sticks to them to produce oxalates. When the oxalates formed are insoluble, like the ones formed with calcium, they become sharp crystals that cannot dissolve in the blood. This is what poses a danger to the body. They are most common in fruits and leafy greens, which on the contrary, are perceived to be healthy.            

Other toxins that vegetables contain include goitrogens, lectins, alkaloids, sulforaphane, tannins, and phytic acid. Some of these chemicals come from pesticides and aggravate the digestive system. Below, we examine vegetables that can harm your health.

1. Spinach 

You have probably come across plenty of advice on the nutritional benefits of eating spinach. Forget about this green smoothie. It is a victim of high oxalate. Have you ever noticed that spinach has this strange texture in your mouth when you eat it? That creepy texture is often prominent on the roof of your mouth and the tongue. 

Well, that is the feeling of the oxalate compound. Spinach is known for its high calcium, but this mineral does not help you in any way. When you consume it, the oxalate salts draw and bind them up. You will only end up removing it from your body when you empty your bowels. Those calcium crystals impair the absorption of essential nutrients like iron and calcium in our diet, reducing the amount of calcium in the body. Some of the calcium oxalates always end up being dumped into the kidney. You can develop kidney stones, which is not good for your health.

So if you think that this dark green leafy vegetable is good for your health, think again. It may be the one causing calcium deficiency in your body. When there are high oxalate levels in your body, you can experience joint pain, skin rashes, bladder irritation, eye irritation, fatigue, and migraines. 

2. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous veggies are a family of green leafy vegetables. They include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, turnips, and kale. We cannot deny that these vegetables are a rich source of minerals and vitamins such as folate, vitamins K, A, and C. They contain a compound known as phytonutrients that lower inflammation and inhibit the development of cancer cells. 

However, cruciferous veggies have a downside. They are densely packed with goitrogens– a toxin that damages your thyroid. Goitrogens impair the absorption of iodine in the body. But iodine plays a crucial role in the production of thyroid hormone. Any alteration to the levels of thyroid hormone can have detrimental effects on your body. 

The reason being, thyroid hormones influence all the organs and cells of the body. They control the number of calories, regulate heartbeat and body temperature, influence the digestive system and muscle movement. If goitrogens interfere with their production, your body may not be able to function well. 

If you have ever sliced these crucifers and let them settle for some minutes, you will notice a pungent smell. It is because they contain a chemical known as sulforaphane. The sulfur compound found in this chemical is responsible for the pungent smell. It is a defense weapon used by cruciferous veggies to keep off and even kill insects, fungi, and bacteria. And these chemicals can affect human cells in the same manner. No wonder sulforaphane kills cancer cells, but along with it, other healthy cells are damaged.       

3. Tomatoes 

Tomatoes are a darling of many and a common ingredient in most kitchens. But this vegetable is not innocent. It is a nightshade veggie full of lectins that can harm your health. Plants use lectins as a defense weapon in nature. And when it comes to the human body, this chemical may not be friendly.

Even a small amount of lectins, especially when taken in their active state, can produce undesirable side effects. According to a nutritional source published in the Harvard School of Public Health website, lectins have a way of disrupting the absorption of vital minerals in the body like zinc, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. They also bind the cells along the digestive tract, which causes inflammation and autoimmune responses. 

We can cherish tomatoes for their antioxidant properties and the role they play in maintaining gut health. But you should not forget that these vegetables contain toxins that can damage your body. It is advisable to consume fewer amounts to keep lectins at low levels in your body.      

4. Potatoes  

While potatoes contain generous amounts of vitamin C and potassium, they belong to the nightshades family of vegetables. Nightshades are bad for your health as they contain alkaloids and lectins, which are highly toxic. 

Solanine is the major alkaloid found in potatoes and especially on the skin. Even small amounts of this alkaloid can be toxic to your body. If you consume it in large quantities, you can become ill. You can easily get into contact with solanine when you consume potatoes that have turned green in color

Toxins can further disrupt the cell membranes leading to gastrointestinal disturbances. Symptoms can range from headache, fever, vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea, bringing some adverse effects on your gut. And you don’t want to hurt your gut as it plays a key role in keeping you healthy. The gut is responsible for the digestion of foods, absorption of nutrients, production of essential nutrients, sustenance of the immune system, and protection against disease-causing organisms. 

When you compromise your gut by eating high doses of alkaloids, they will equally compromise your health. Additionally, the alkaloids found in potatoes can alter the normal functioning of the human trophoblastic cells that play a crucial role in reproduction. It’s better to reduce this vegetable intake or cut it out of your diet and see the results for yourself.    

5. Kale                                                                                                           

Many people love kale due to its nutritional benefits. But this green vegetable could be killing you from the inside. It contains high amounts of pesticide residues that are harmful to your health. Kale was even ranked number three on the Dirty Dozen list published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), conducts regular testing on pesticide residues in plant produce. From the tests done in 2019, 92% of the samples from conventionally grown kale contained at least two pesticide residues. Kale is prone to heavy contamination as they grow near the ground hence prone to pests and are a candidate for pesticides.

Consuming vegetables with a high concentration of pesticide residue can make your body experience severe health effects. Some pesticides are known to affect the reproductive system, induce cancer and impair the nervous and immune systems.  

Final Thoughts

Vegetables can be healthy as they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. But not all of them are good for your body. It turns out that a carnivore diet may provide your body with safer nutrients than the ones you can obtain from some vegetables.

It is wise to understand the chemical compounds that different vegetables contain. Then minimize or cut your consumption on those that are toxic.    

Paul Nganga

Paul is a nutrition freelance writer contributing to carnivore dieting topics, trends, and recipes. He expresses his prowess in creating insightful and educational pieces. His content is a product of deep research, wide reading, and clear understanding. When not on his desk, he spends his time hiking and camping with his wife, son, and dog. 

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