These Healthy Foods in Excess Can be Dangerous

These Healthy Foods in Excess Can be Dangerous

Eating certain healthy foods in excess can sometimes add up to too much of a good thing.

That’s because a few health-boosting eats have extra properties to them that can make excess a health detractor, rather than a plus. 

Downsides of These Healthy Foods in Excess


How could everyone’s favorite superfood ever have a downside!?

kale green up close

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Turns out, there are issues with kale and other cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage or Brussels sprouts, in those that may be at risk for thyroid issues. Thank a class of substances called goitrogens, which may contribute to an enlarged thyroid when consumed in excess, according to If you have concerns, talk to your M.D. for more information.

Brown Rice.

Nutty, chewy brown rice has more fiber than highly processed white rice, which is better for your heart, blood sugar and hunger levels.

But it also has more arsenic, a known carcinogen and a naturally occurring element found in soil, air and water that plants can absorb. In 2012, Consumer Reports released a report that found measurable levels of arsenic in almost all of the 60 rice varieties it tested.

The takeaway: Limit children to one serving or fewer of rice or rice cereal per day (and watch intake yourself). You can also reach for safer grains, such as Basmati rice from California, buckwheat, quinoa and millet, CR states.


Safe, environmentally sustainable seafood is a major concern for many consumers. And for good reason: American’s second most-loved fish (behind shrimp) contains mercury in its meat. (Mercury from air pollutions rains down into the ocean, eventually ended up in large, predatory fish species, including tuna).

If you still have to have your fix, choose light tuna over albacore, which has higher mercury levels, and eat no more than three cans per week (or 13 ounces) of even the light variety. Some experts say pregnant women should avoid tuna altogether, and choose salmon or other fatty fish instead, The Washington Post reported.

Brazil Nuts.

brazil nuts healthy food up close

These nuts are an excellent source of the mineral selenium, an antioxidant that fights free radical damage. But consume too much, and you may be at risk selenium toxicity. Digestive issues, brittle hair and nails and more can result.


Most health advice focuses on drinking more water. But too much can be deadly — something to be particularly aware if you or family members exercise in summer heat.

Water in excess can result in hyponatremia, an acute condition that can initially appear similar to heat stroke or dehydration, which often causes individuals to push even more water. In 2014, at least one teen athlete died this way.


Soy is one of the most controversial foods out there thanks to phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens that can either contribute to breast cancer development, or stave off the disease, depending on who you ask.

Talk to your doctor with specific concerns; in general, consuming unprocessed soy in moderation (such as edamame, miso or tempeh) is likely safe. Going forward, more study is needed on the soy-breast cancer connection, according to

Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Sugar and spice are supposed to be nice, right? But, again, not when taken in excess.

In the Middle Ages, high amounts of nutmeg could be used to end unwanted pregnancy, The New York Times reports. It can have tonic and poisonous side effects. It can also be used as a drug — a dangerous trend among teens a few years back, the paper noted.

Same goes for sweet cinnamon. If you’ve ever heard of the cinnamon challenge, avoid it: High amounts of the spice can scar the lungs and cause liver problems.

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