5 'healthy' foods that can backfire

Consuming too much mercury from fish can have adverse effects on your nervous system.

Story highlights

  • Overdoing "guilt-free" foods can do more harm than good
  • Olive oil and nuts are high in fat
  • Eating whole fruits and veggies can be better than juicing

You've proudly switched your morning bacon, egg and cheese biscuit to a slice of whole-grain toast with avocado and hummus, and your vanilla latte has become a big glass of fresh-squeezed juice. You feel more energetic, but you're not losing the weight you thought would fall right off. What's up with that?

Even though our bodies benefit from the added nutrients, overdoing seemingly "guilt-free" foods can do our bodies more harm than good. Here are five health foods to keep in check.

Olive oil

This component of the Mediterranean diet has been celebrated for its heart-healthy properties. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which, according to the Mayo Clinic, could lower your cholesterol as well as your risk of heart disease.

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Although olive oil is considered a "good" fat, it could quickly increase the calories in an otherwise healthy dinner. "Instead of pouring the oil into the pan by sight -- which could add several hundred calories to what's cooking -- use your measuring spoons per portion," says nutrition and wellness coach Lara S. Sutton.

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Nuts are at the top of the nutritious-snack-foods list. They're packed with protein and fiber, and can help lower your cholesterol. Nuts are also composed of approximately 80% fat. When you're eating them straight out of the package, it can be easy to consume excess fat and calories unintentionally. The Mayo Clinic advises that you stick to a small handful (or 1.5 ounces per serving) per day.

upwave: Are 'good' fats really good for you?

Detox juices

"Juicing removes the pulp from the produce, (so) it's also removing the fiber that keeps you full," notes Sutton. And when you don't feel full, you tend to keep drinking.

The upshot? You consume lots of vitamins and minerals... and extra calories. So while juicing is a great way to consume vegetables you don't like, eating whole fruits and veggies is a better way to go, calorie-wise.

Green tea

Green tea is known for its laundry list of health benefits, such as potential weight loss and the prevention of many diseases. It's also used to soothe headaches, diarrhea and nausea. However, if you're drinking more than five cups of green tea per day, the high dose of caffeine could cause those three symptoms to worsen -- and keep you up all night.

Too much green tea could also reduce your body's ability to absorb iron from food, according to WebMD. Because green tea contains no calories, it seems safe to sip in unlimited quantities, but try to make three cups per day your max.

upwave: Health benefits of green tea

Sushi with raw seafood

"You're getting omega-3s from fish when you eat sushi, but you're also exposed to a toxic heavy metal called mercury," Sutton says. "Consuming too much mercury can negatively affect your nervous system."

If you're a serious sushi lover, it's safer to avoid eating predatory fish, which contain the highest concentrations of this toxin. Smaller species of seafood (such as shrimp, eel and crab) have lower levels of mercury and can be found on most sushi menus. A guide to mercury levels in sushi, published by The Natural Resource Defense Council, makes it easy to enjoy a favorite food without putting yourself at risk.

This article was originally published on upwave.com.