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3 Common Health Myths

There is conflicting information on health and nutrition in the news everyday but there are some stories that keep recurring. It's hard to know which "facts" are backed by science and which are fiction. Let's talk about a few of the most common health tips I've heard that I think are worth questioning.

1. "Too much kale is bad for you"

Kale has been touted as a superfood and just as quickly as it was popularized as a healthy choice, it was slammed as "poisonous" to thyroid health and cause heavy metal toxicity.

In theory, big quantities of cruciferous vegetable could affect the thyroid. However, you'd have to consume massive amounts, like juicing several heads of kale a day. Binge eating any food isn't good for us. You can die from drinking too much water.

The reality is that when it comes to thyroid health, there are far more crucial things to worry about than kale intake. For example, drinking fluoridated water might be more unsafe because it displaces iodine, an essential mineral to the thyroid. The health benefits of kale and other cruciferous vegetables far outweigh any possible risk.

As for heavy metal warnings, opt for organic kale to limit your exposure. For overall health, it’s beneficial to alternate kale with other greens but unnecessary to eliminate it entirely.

2. "We need dairy for strong bones"

Growing up, many of us were exposed to the dairy industry's ubiquitous, celebrity-studded "got milk?" ad campaign extolling the virtues of dairy, which supposedly helps prevent many nutritious deficiencies and diseases. 

However, the truth is that you don't necessarily need milk, cheese, or yogurt to have strong bones. In North America, dairy consumption rates are among the highest in the world - yet we also have some of the highest rates of osteoporosis. Studies have suggested that drinking more milk doesn't safeguard against fractures.

Calcium is essential to our bones but no mineral is an island. Vitamins and minerals work in syngergy: it's not just calcium that is essential but also magnesium, phosporus, vitamin D, vitamin K and more.

Plant-based sources of calcium such as sesame seeds, almonds, dark leafy greens, rhubarb, broccoli and seaweed are more bioavailable to us - meaning we are better able to digest, absorb, and use the calcium in those foods.

3. "Avoid saturated fat because it causes heart disease"

For years, we were told that fat would make us fat and make us more susceptible to heart disease. The fear of fat sparked the low-fat and fat-free mania - which really just replaced fat with sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Now, we know that sugary foods and refined carbs increase our risk of heart disease, while a recent meta-analysis concluded that the nutritional warnings we had been given about fat decades ago were unfounded.

In actuality, good fats can provide numerous health benefits which include nourishing the brain and liver, and enhancing our mood. It's the source of fat that is the key. Choose clean, organic sources from either plants or animals to reap the health rewards. A couple of foods we suggest include avocados, coconut oil, ghee, nuts and seeds, olives and cold-pressed olive oils. Avoid trans fats which are commonly found in processed foods.