Isolating super foods for health
In recent years, American “health experts” have searched the world over for health enhancing super foods from other cultures. In my opinion, there is actually a health danger in recommending culturally-developed foods in isolation, while ignoring the rest of the diet of that culture.
Kimchee is an example. A traditional Korean food, it is quite high in goitrogens, which interfere with the uptake of iodine into cells, particularly thyroid cells. Eating large amounts of raw or fermented cruciferous vegetables can actually cause a hypothyroid condition. However, the Korean diet is also high in seafood and sea vegetables, excellent sources of iodine, which can offset the deficiencies caused by these foods (assuming they are not consumed in excess).
So, eating kimchee in the SAD (Standard American Diet) diet of today could be problematic. This is just one example.
While some vegetables are promoted as containing anti-cancer compounds, what is often lacking in these studies is that these same vegetables often contain a host of anti-nutrients in the form of natural toxins that can make one quite ill. A study of ethnobotany makes it quite clear that nature did not intend humans to eat certain plant parts, and has placed toxins in them to make her point, like goitrogens, phytates, protease inhibitors, phytoestrogens, and oxalates.