Superfoods: Too Much of a Good Thing?
Dr. Nigma Talib is a nutritionist and aesthetician to the stars with clinics in London and Los Angeles (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Penelope Cruz and Sienna Miller all follow her eating plans and love her facial treatments). She’s the author of two books (Reverse the Signs of Ageing and Younger Skin Starts in the Gut) and the creator of a recently launched skincare and supplement line. Although she’s one busy woman we were able to persuade her to make a house call and talk to us about her speciality: what we eat and how we digest it (or not) and its effects on our skin.
“One man’s poison is another man’s medicine,” says Talib. “Especially when it comes to trendy superfoods.”
Believe it or not your healthy diet could actually be contributing to breakouts, bloating and bad sleep.
“There is no one-size-fits-all diet,” she explains. “Even ‘healthy’ foods can create intolerances if you overdo it. Everything in moderation is the key.”
Here are five ways that too much of a good thing can turn bad:
1 | Don’t go nuts. So many people are going vegan right now, leading them to suddenly increase their nut intake. One possible drawback of eating too many nuts, however, is that their high protein and fat content can make them difficult to digest. If these fats and proteins don’t break down properly the immune system may create antibodies that inflame the sebaceous glands and cause pimples. Soaking the nuts first can help to facilitate digestion.
2 | Coconuts are nuts too. From flour, yogurt, oil, milk and water, coconut is everywhere right now, but a lot of people have an intolerance to it. Classified as a fruit, nut and seed many people have cross sensitivities to coconuts and might experience symptoms like fatigue and bloating. Coconut meat and yogurt also contain a lot of fructose, and refined coconut oil is usually bleached and deodorized, meaning it offers very little nutritional value. To really benefit from coconut’s nutrients and antioxidants I would suggest sticking to moderate amounts of unprocessed coconut.
3 | Yes, cacao is a super food but that doesn’t mean you should be having it for every meal, i.e.: your breakfast smoothie, your energy ball snack, your post dinner square of raw chocolate. Cacao beans are about 54 percent fat by weight, and 61 percent of that fat is saturated which studies have shown can increase the risk of acne breakouts. Cacao beans also contain carbohydrates that can also contribute to acne breakouts because they elevate levels of insulin, a hormone that increases inflammation and oil production in the skin. With my patients I’ve correlated even raw, dark chocolate intake to be a risk for acne flare ups.
4 | Cold-pressed fruit juices are packed with sugar and replacing meals with fiberless juices can alter your metabolism, lead to rebound weight gain and insulin insensitivity — which can cause you to crave more and more sugar. I always tell my clients if you really love juicing then eat your fruit and juice your vegetables.
5 | Avocado toast may be a global phenomenon but avocados also contain FODMAPs (an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols which a surprisingly large number of people are highly sensitive to) causing bloating and gas. Even if you do not suffer from IBS I would keep servings restricted to ⅛ of an avocado or less — say a couple of slices on your salad or toast. Avocado oil on the other hand is really benign and drizzled raw on a salad can be wonderful for skin conditions like eczema as it’s high in magnesium and Vitamins A, E and D.
To book a consultation with Dr. Nigma Talib visit healthydoc.com.