Too Much Of A Good Thing

What is healthy for you can turn on you if you carry it a little too far. Here’s how to make sure you don’t overdo the good things in life.

1. Exercise 

Do you hit the gym for stress relief? More than body strengthening, regular exercise opens the door to endorphins or feel-good hormones. For that reason, some women may over do the deed. Exercise is a good way to manage stress and depression but it is only part of the management. Ultimately, you will need to treat the root of the problem.

When it’s too much 

Exercise is supposed to improve your health. But if your body’s getting wrecked by bone fractures and persistent joint problems, you could be overdoing it. Weight loss, drop in performance despite high training volume, insomnia, loss of appetite and depression are other manifestations. Health won’t be the only thing going downhill for the workout-holic either – social and family commitments could also be affected.

What to do 

Try breaking up your exercise routine into two sessions a day, without increasing the total amount of time you spend on working out. Replace joint-killing impact exercises with resistance training. For example, instead of running on a hard track, run in the pool. Cross training is another good way to prevent overused injuries. But to really overcome your exercise obsession, tackle the cause. Seek professional help if necessary.

2. Supplements 

With so much talk about the threat of a flu pandemic – more people are popping a daily multivitamin. The question is, do you need to? In general, healthy people who are eating a well-balanced diet with variety probably do not need vitamins, unless they have increased requirements for some reason. Multi-vitamins are a good idea if you don’ eat enough greens, skip meals or live on takeaways. Having said that, no vitamin supplement can replace a healthy diet.

When it’s too much 

If your fridge is starting to look like a health store, you could be over-supplementing. Unless you’re pregnant (or trying to get pregnant), lactating, a strict vegetarian, athlete or on a weight-reduction diet, you’re probably fine without that bottle of dietary supplements. Excess intake of vitamins A and D can be dangerous as they are fat soluble and so are not excreted from the body. Too much vitamin A can damage the liver and bones and also cause birth defects. A vitamin D overdose can also cause a build-up of calcium deposits in the heart and kidneys. Go easy on vitamins B6 too as high doses can cause nerve damage.

What to do 

You’re better off eating a varied diet consisting of natural foods for your day’s dietary requirements. If you must take a supplement, make sure your intake does not exceed your daily requirement. If in doubt, check with a qualified dietitian. Some sales staff may not be qualified to provide advice on correct dosage and toxicity.

3. Protein 

Most people agree that a high-protein diet lets you lose weight, at least initially. The problem lies down the road when your weight plateaus. At that time, the bad type of cholesterol may become elevated, increasing your risk of heart disease, colon cancer, bad breath and constipation. And that’s not mentioning the vitamin and mineral shortchange you cost yourself.

When it’s too much 

Does the mention of bread and rice strike fear in your heart? Carbohydrates and fat are actually the main sources of energy utilized during exercise. When carbohydrates are severely restricted, fatigue occurs. Carbohydrate ingestion improves endurance performance by maintaining blood glucose levels. When blood glucose levels dip drastically, it can hinder your sports performance, and you take longer to recover from training.

What to do 

Not all carbs are bad. Learn the difference between “good” and “bad” carbs with the glycemic index (GI). It measures how fast blood sugar rises after eating a food containing carbohydrates. Low GI carbohydrates (as found in oats, barley, fruits and vegetables) are preferred because the sugar metabolized from these carbohydrates is released slowly and on demand. This doesn’t lead to mood swings and the dreaded weight gain caused by excess sugar in the body.

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