How Much Of These Everyday Foods Can You Eat Before Your Health Is Harmed?

Everything is fine in moderation. This advice even holds true to healthy foods such as cinnamon and water. If you consume too much, your organs could be damaged, or your body could be poisoned.

Every food poses a different risk. For instance, eating too many potatoes increases your chance of getting various diseases. While you may still have these foods and reap their health benefits, don’t overdo it. How much is too much? Read on to learn which foods could harm your health in large quantities.

You’re Probably Eating Too Much Sugar

A teaspoon digs into a pile of sugar.
Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Luis Ascui/Getty Images

Sugar is constantly targeted by health authors. But how much do you need to eat before you could suffer consequences? The American Heart Association recommends that men eat a max of 150 calories per day, which is equal to nine teaspoons or 37.5 grams. For women, the max is 100 calories, equal to six teaspoons or 25 grams.

Unfortunately, many people eat more sugar than this. According to a 2011 study, Americans eat an average of 306 calories per day, equal to 19 teaspoons or 76.7 grams. In the long term, this intake could develop into hypertension, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Don’t Exceed One Teaspoon Of Cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks rest next to a wooden spoon full of powdered cinnamon.

Cinnamon has powerful antioxidants that can protect the body from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In large doses, it poses some health concerns in a compound called coumarin. During a study in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, scientists determined that eating over 0.1 mg of coumarin per kg of body weight can cause liver damage.

So how much cinnamon is that? Well, Cassia cinnamon (the regular kind you buy at the store) has more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon. Research in the Scientific World Journal does not recommend more than eight mg of coumarin per day, equal to one teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon.

Keep Your Spice Safe With Chili Peppers

A contestant lies in a chili covered pool eating Chillies during a chili eating contest.
Visual China Group via Getty Images
Visual China Group via Getty Images

During the 2011 Kismot curry competition in Scotland, half of the participants were sent to the hospital from collapsing or vomiting. It’s proof that too much chili pepper can have negative side effects. Research in the 1980 journal Toxicon concluded that three pounds of ground-up chilis could kill someone, although that’s unlikely to happen.

According to pepper nutritionist Dr. Wendy Bazilian, chilis alert pain receptors in the body that can cause nausea, heartburn, and vomiting. According to a 2002 study, participants who ate 2.5 grams of chilis per day received heartburn, although this went away after two weeks. To prevent pain, keep your spice level under 2.5 grams.

How Much Chocolate Is Too Much?

A woman uses tongs to pick up chocolate.

Chocolate is criticized for its high sugar and calories, both of which could lead to heart complications and diabetes. However, studies have also demonstrated that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke by 40%. So how much of it can you eat in a day without long-term consequences?

Doctors from Cleveland Clinic recommend 1.5 to three ounces of chocolate per day to limit calories and sugar. One and a half ounces comes out to one-fourth cup, while three ounces is about half a cup. Remember that dark chocolate, with 50% to 70% cocoa, is the healthiest.

A Few Potatoes Go A Long Way

McCains uses a crane to navigate a giant pile of potatoes.

For 20 years, Harvard researchers studied the effects of potatoes on our diet. They discovered that women who ate potatoes more than three times a week increased their risk of high blood pressure. This happened whether the potatoes were boiled, mashed, baked, or fried.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend only six servings of starchy foods for men and five for women. So if you eat five servings of potatoes per week, the study’s author says, you can’t have other starchy vegetables, corn, peas, or yam. During the study, participants’ blood pressure did not change when they ate starchy vegetables instead.

Coffee Has A Limit

A woman delicately sips from a cup of coffee.
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Digital Light Source/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While coffee can protect against certain diseases, too much can give you health complications. According to a 2019 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking at least six cups a day increases your risk of heart disease by 22%. But is six cups the max?

As it turns out, yes. Researchers from the University of South Australia measured how much coffee you can drink before suffering from health effects, and they found that six cups was the tipping point. But be mindful of caffeine as well. Staying up all night is a negative consequence of drinking too much coffee, even if it’s under six cups.

Even Water Can Hurt You

A person drinks water from a plastic water bottle.

The health advice “drink more water” has a limit. Believe it or not, you can get poisoning by over-hydrating, a condition called water intoxication. Excess water can cause cells to swell, which may result in nausea, double vision, confusion, and difficulty breathing.

To prevent water intoxication, don’t flood your kidneys. According to the Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, kidneys can’t process more than one liter per hour. In other words, try to drink under four cups of water per hour. And keep it under 22 to 31 cups per day.

Save Yourself By Restricting Red Meat

Packaged red meat are placed in refrigerated supermarket shelves for sale.
Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images
Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

The World Health Organization has recently classified red meat as a cancer-causing food. For some health advocates, this claim was overdue. Research has connected over-consuming red meat to diseases for years, and one Harvard study linked eating too much red meat to a 13% higher risk of dying prematurely.

The World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting red meat to three portions per week. Each portion can be between 12 and 18 ounces or 300 to 500 grams. Smoked, salted, and cured red meats pose the highest risk since they’re processed with more salt and chemicals.

How You’re Unknowingly Eating Too Much Salt

A person sprinkles salt over a box of fries.
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Eating too much salt increases your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. With so many health complications to consider, you need to monitor your daily salt. According to the American Heart Association, people should eat a maximum of 2,400 mg of sodium per day.

Unfortunately, most Americans eat around 3,400 mg of salt every day without realizing it. About 70% of our daily salt comes from packaged and processed foods, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Limit your salt by cooking at home and buying low-sodium options.

Six Bananas Won’t Harm You

Bananas from the French West Indies are exhibited during the 2015 Paris International Agricultural Show.
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In a conversation with Ricky Gervais, comedian Karl Pilkington suggested that eating more than six bananas at once could kill you due to their high potassium. However, Dietitian Catherine Collins says that this isn’t true. You would need around 400 bananas for your potassium level to be lethal.

However, some people should monitor their daily banana content, specifically those with kidney disease. People without kidney disease would need to eat 7.5 bananas to reach their daily recommended dose for potassium. So if you want a couple of bananas per day, go for it.

Too Much Nutmeg Can Cause Hallucinations

A grater sits by nutmeg.
Frederic BOUILLARD/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Frederic BOUILLARD/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

While nutmeg provides healthy minerals and B vitamins, too much of it can hurt you. In the 12th century, people used nutmeg as a hallucinogen. Overdosing could cause you to feel confused, delirious, or sick. People who use nutmeg essential oil are at risk of poisoning, as it is far more concentrated than natural nutmeg.

According to the International Programme of Chemical Safety, two teaspoons of nutmeg is all that you need to overdose. A pinch of nutmeg for a baking recipe won’t harm you but beware of herbal medicines that claim to require a lot of nutmeg.

A Soda A Day Could Have Consequences

A woman drinks a can of Coca-Cola.
NUTAN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
NUTAN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Soda has no nutritional benefit other than supplying sugar. One 20-ounce bottle of soda contains 17 teaspoons of sugar, which is double the American Heart Association’s recommended daily dose. According to research in The American Journal of Nutrition, drinking over one soda per day greatly increases a person’s risk of stroke.

Daily sodas have higher health risks for children and teenagers, as they quickly add up calories that contribute to obesity. The U.S. Framingham Heart Study reports that one soda per day also raises the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and heart attack.

The Risk Of Eating Too Many Beans

Grains splash into red kidney bean soup.
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

It’s no secret that eating too many beans can leave you with a gassy upset stomach. One cup of beans supplies half of your daily recommended fiber, so eating too much can leave people feeling worse. According to Cleveland Clinic, doctors recommend eating at least three servings of beans and legumes per week. Aim for between three and five.

But beans have another risk. According to the National Headache Foundation, some beans contain the substance tyramine, which can trigger migraines. If you struggle with headaches or migraines, you’ll want to limit your bean and legume consumption.

Don’t Turn Cherries Into Laxatives

A person picks cherries and places them in a basket.
Nicolas Armer/picture alliance via Getty Images
Nicolas Armer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Eating too many cherries could make you feel like you took a laxative. And the effect on your body won’t be too different. Cherries contain a lot of soluble fiber, says Registered Dietitian Suzanne Dixon. They also provide sugar alcohols and salicylates, which some people may be particularly sensitive to.

Dixon recommends sticking to one serving: 1/2 cup, or seven cherries. If you don’t experience abdominal pains or a laxative effect, you may eat more. While this health effect may not be the worst, you won’t want it to kick in at an inconvenient time.

Do Apples Supply Too Much Sugar?

Red apples are washed in a sink full of water.
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Because apples are so sweet, some people believe that eating too many of them can make you overdose on sugar. For most people, that’s not the case. Natural sugar is not the same as added sugar. In fact, the American Heart Association doesn’t consider natural sugar in their dietary recommendations.

It’s hard to overdose on apples. In 2001, researchers had people eat 20 servings of fruit per day for two weeks and saw no adverse effects. That said, Dietitian Leslie Beck recommends fewer servings for people with diabetes or high blood pressure: about two or three servings of fruit per day.

One Orange Is All You Need

A woman poses for a picture inside a castle made from oranges and lemons.
Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Oranges are a healthy dose of vitamin C. If you want to stock up on this vitamin, you don’t need to eat a lot. One orange supplies 93% of your recommended vitamin C for the day. Although you can overdose on vitamin C through supplements, the risk of eating too many oranges isn’t about the vitamins, but the fiber.

Nutritionist Laura Flores says that eating too many oranges could give you “some uncomfortable side effects,” including abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Because of their high acidity, they can give people heartburn as well. The number varies per person, but in general, don’t eat more than two to three oranges per day.

You Can Eat Too Many Many Omega-3s

Anchovie fillets soaked in olive oil are in a can.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Found in salmon, oysters, and sardines, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain and heart function. Studies indicate that they can lower your risk of heart disease and cognitive decline. But if you eat over six grams of omega-3s per day, you could suffer from health consequences.

In 2011, research in NDT Plus showed that 13 to 14 grams of omega-3s could thin peoples’ blood. This poses a health risk, especially for those prone to bleeding or on blood-thinning medication. Be careful if you decide to take omega-3 or fish oil supplements, and don’t eat fatty fish all the time.

Don’t Eat Rice During Every Meal

An Indian customer checks out different varieties of rice at a wholesale market.

Some types of rice contain the toxin arsenic. In high doses, arsenic can cause vertigo, abdominal pain, and vomiting. But according to the FDA, you’d need between 2.6 and 7.2 micrograms of arsenic to be poisoned. That would require you to eat almost seven million servings of rice.

That said, white rice can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a 2012 study in BMJ. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends four ounces of grains per day. Since a half-cup of rice is one ounce, you can eat up to two cups of brown rice per day.

Spinach Is Fine In Moderation

Woman puts a plate of fresh young spinach into the microwave to wilt.
Gordon Chibroski/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Gordon Chibroski/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

While eating spinach every day can be healthy, don’t overdo it. Spinach is high in oxalic acid, an anti-nutrient that binds minerals to create compounds. According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, too much of spinach’s oxalic acid can disrupt the body from absorbing other nutrients.

Those who have had kidney stones may want to lower their oxalic acid consumption. In 2011, researchers noted that the anti-nutrient may form kidney stones over time. However, you would need about 7.3 pounds of spinach to cause death. Stick to one-half to one cup of spinach per day, and you should be fine.

In Large Amounts, Tuna Could Poison You

A girl reaches for a tuna can on a shelf.
Grant Halverson/Getty Images for Merz
Grant Halverson/Getty Images for Merz

While tuna has beneficial protein and omega-3s, certain types of tuna could contain a poison. The environmental pollutant methylmercury, better known as mercury, is high in some types of tuna. Once it enters the body, it can obstruct brain function to cause vision distortion, confusion, and impaired hearing and speech.

White albacore tuna (the large fish) contains higher mercury levels than chunk light tuna. The FDA recommends waiting nine days in between servings of white albacore and three days in between chunk light tuna servings. In other words, it’s safe to eat less than 170 grams of tuna per week.

Juicing Cruciferous Vegetables May Not Be A Good Idea

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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Too much of a good thing? It’s surprising to learn that eating too many vegetables at one time could be harmful to your health, but it’s true. Cruciferous vegetables, which include Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, and collard greens have many benefits when eaten in proper portions.

But because these veggies contain thiocyanates, eating too much can lead to blocked iodine absorption and a condition called hypothyroidism, according to PubMed Central. People who have thyroid issues should avoid consuming these vegetables in large amounts, including kale juices.

Limit Snacking On Brazil Nuts

Lena Trindade/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images
Lena Trindade/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images

Many of us assume that nuts make an excellent healthy snack at any time of day. But eating too many Brazil nuts can have negative effects on your body. These nuts contain selenium, and consuming too much of it can lead to selenium toxicity, which causes hair loss, decreases nail health, and can even cause digestive and memory problems.

According to the European Food Safety Authority, for adults, the recommended daily intake of Brazil nuts is 50-70 micrograms per day and no more than 300 micrograms per day.

Grapes Can Upset Your Gut

Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images

In small quantities, grapes are an excellent snack with natural sweetness. While it’s better to sit on the couch and snack on grapes rather than, say, potato chips, too many grapes may give you an upset stomach.

Grapes are a good source of fiber, containing around 1.5 grams of fiber per cup. If you don’t typically include a decent amount of fiber in your diet, eating too many grapes can cause an upset stomach; either constipation or diarrhea. It’s recommended that you stick to around 30 grapes per serving.

Don’t Eat Too Many Blueberries Over A Short Period Of Time

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Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

Blueberries provide a lot of benefits, so it may be surprising to learn that you can eat too many. Blueberries have high levels of fiber, which can help keep the digestive system health, but too many can cause bloating, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort.

The fruit also contains plenty of Vitamin K, which in high doses can lead to difficulty in swallowing, breathing, and may cause an increased risk of internal bleeding, bruising, and skin rashes, according to Mayo Clinic. Half a cup of blueberries is a good portion size to stick to.

Three Glasses Of Milk Or Less Is Best

Vitaly TimkivTASS via Getty Images
Vitaly TimkivTASS via Getty Images

Most of us grew up being told that drinking lots of milk will help keep bones healthy and strong, but how much is too much? A study conducted by the British Medical Journal concluded that people should stick to no more than three glasses of milk per day.

Women who drank three glasses of milk per day (or more) nearly doubled their risk of death and cardiovascular disease, possibly due to the D-galactose milk contains. The study also found that consuming too much milk can increase the risk of cancer by 44 percent.

Too Much Pineapple May Cause Heartburn

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Pineapple’s sweet flavor is hard to resist and even though it’s a sticky fruit, the mess is always worth it. Pineapple is packed with high amounts of vitamin C and bromelain. While vitamin C is beneficial, too much of it can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or heartburn, according to San Diego traditionalist Laura Flores.

High amounts of bromelain can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and skin rashes, among other side effects. It’s best to stick to one serving size, which will also keep your sugar intake at bay.

Are You Eating Too Many Tomatoes?

Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tomatoes can be a tasty and fresh ingredient to work into various meals, including salads and pasta sauces. Although the fruit has beneficial antioxidant properties, it can also have a negative effect on your health if you consume too much in a short amount of time.

When eaten in excess, tomatoes can cause acid reflux, skin rashes, and kidney stones, according to NDTV Food. Solanine, found in tomatoes, can also cause calcium build-up in tissues, which can cause inflammation and joint pain. Avoid harmful side effects by sticking to one serving of tomatoes, which is one cup.

Carotenemia Is A Thing

Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images
Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images

Have you ever been told that eating too many carrots will turn your skin orange? As it turns out, this isn’t just urban legend. According to UCSB ScienceLine, carrots have their orange color due to a pigment called beta-carotene. If you eat an excessive amount of carrots, the beta-carotene enters the bloodstream and instead of breaking down, it’s deposited in the skin.

This may cause a condition called carotenemia, turning the skin a slight orange color. While it may be startling to see, it’s harmless and will go away with time.

Too Many Prunes Will Have Your Digestion Going Into Overdrive

GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images
GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images

Prunes have beneficial antioxidant and detoxifying properties and are often recommended to naturally prevent constipation. Loaded with chromium, potassium, selenium, and other minerals, prunes can help move food through the colon. Consuming too many of them, as you might imagine, can cause too much of a laxative effect.

If you’re snacking on a bag of prunes, it’s best to pour one serving size into a bowl and put the rest away, unless you want to be running to the bathroom. A serving size is about four to five prunes, according to the Institute of Medicine Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020.

Radishes May Stress Your Kidneys

GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images
GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images

Radishes have been known for their beauty and health benefits, but consuming too many may lead to negative health effects. The root vegetable is a diuretic, which can help remove toxins from the body when eaten. This is great when consumed in moderation.

Eating too many radishes can lead to dehydration and the risk of a urinary tract infection, according to Good Health All. Eating the root vegetable in excess can also put stress on the kidneys, so it’s best to stick to 1/2 cup of radishes, which provides 14 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, without the negative effects.

Go Ahead And Enjoy Your Bread

Middle school teacher holds up bread while directing a food-related project.
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In recent years, bread has been criticized as a health danger. Too many carbs! Too much sugar! But the truth is that you can eat bread and still be healthy–you can even lose weight. Eat whole-grain bread if you want to avoid blood sugar spikes and rapid weight gain.

The USDA recommends five to six servings of grains for women and six to eight for men. If one slice of bread is one serving, that’s six slices per day, provided that you eat no other grains. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk of diabetes and heart disease.

How To Limit Your Butter Intake

A woman spreads butter on her bed.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While butter isn’t a health-destroyer, too much of it poses some risk. About 63% of fat in butter is saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your saturated fat intake. Although it’s not as bad as trans fat, too much saturated fat threatens heart health, according to The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends keeping saturated fat under 10% of your daily calories. That’s between two and three tablespoons of butter per day. According to 2016 research, eating butter moderately can even lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Too Many Almonds Are Unhealthy

A silver scoop spills almonds on a table.

Almonds provide healthy fats and plenty of protein. But because they’re so fat-filled, too many nuts can hurt your body more than help it. They’re also high in calories–one ounce has 163 calories and 14 grams of fat. Too much can increase your weight and blood pressure, no matter how healthy almonds seem.

Nutrition Australia recommends 30 grams of nuts per day, which equals about one ounce. Taking this into account, you’re safe to eat 23 almonds per day. That’s more than enough to make a snack or use as a garnish on a meal.

Don’t Let Strawberries Erode Your Teeth

A Palestinian girl eats strawberries during strawberry season.
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As a superfood, strawberries are packed with fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. But you might not know that they pose a risk for your teeth. Unlike other fruits, strawberries are highly acidic. Too many can erode your tooth enamel, and once that’s lost, it doesn’t grow back. Strawberries can also discolor your teeth and make them sensitive.

According to the USDA, the daily recommended fruit serving is 1.5 to two cups, which equals seven strawberries. But the amount doesn’t matter as much as the consistency. 1-800-DENTIST recommends waiting a few hours between strawberry servings to let your saliva neutralize the acid.

Watch The Caffeine In Black Tea

A man makes a cup of tea with a Yorkshire Tea teabag with a box of tea in the background.
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

If you’re a tea fan, you’ll want to listen up. Many types of tea contain caffeine, and black tea is the most highly caffeinated of all. That’s why too much black tea is possibly unsafe, according to WebMD. It could cause heartburn, stomach irritation, headache, confusion, dizziness, or irregular heartbeat.

Drinking over 10 grams of caffeine from black tea is too much. One cup packs about 47 milligrams. But one to two cups of black tea can improve mental clarity and help your heart health.

Some People Are Sensitive To Cashews

Two cashew nuts lay against a green background.
RDB/RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images
RDB/RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Cashews contain two amino acids, tyramine and phenylethylamine. Although they’re both essential for our bodies, some people have a sensitivity to them. Too many cashews can cause headaches from these amino acids. Plus, their high fat content can add up to a disease risk over time.

If we go by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 30 grams of cashews per day comes out to 15 cashews. Weight-management expert Dr. Gargi Sharma recommends only five cashews for those with a sensitivity. If you don’t experience side effects from cashews, eat up to 15 per day.

Do You Want Fries With That?

An employee dishes fries in a food truck.

Let’s be real: fries are delicious. But they’re also packed with starch, oil, and fat. Harvard nutrition professor Eric Rimm famously (or infamously) wished that every restaurant meal came with just six French fries — no more. But do you really need six to avoid the long-term diabetes and heart disease consequences?

According to News Corp Australia, the recommended portion of fries is 15 chips. Starchy vegetables have a five-serving daily limit, and an average fries has almost that much. Keep in mind that researchers recommend a max of four servings per week. That’s one average container of fries per week.

Ice Cream

Women eat ice cream during a warm day at Central Park, New York.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Although many health articles recommend limiting dessert, they rarely specify how much to limit it. For instance, how much ice cream can you eat before you suffer from blood sugar spikes? Like butter, ice cream is also high in saturated fat that can result in heart problems over time.

The American Heart Association recommends 37.5 grams of sugar daily for men and 25 grams for women. Half a cup of ice cream contains 14 grams of sugar on average, which is half of your daily amount. Knowing that, stick to a couple of teaspoons per day, or eating ice cream up to twice a week.

Too Many Figs Do More Harm Than Good

A person holds two halves of a sliced fig.

Figs are incredibly high in fiber, and some people eat them to relieve constipation. But too many figs can actually harm your stomach. Because figs are hard to digest, they can cause bloating and stomach upset. They can also strain the liver and intestines, since they’re difficult for the body to process.

You can avoid these problems by eating only the recommended amount of figs. One serving of figs comes out to four fruits, and that’s all you need to reap the benefits. Although you can eat three servings of fruit per day, one serving of figs already has one-fourth of your daily fiber.

Save Your Urine From Asparagus

Asparagus, garlic, and lemon roast on a BBQ grill rack.
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With plenty of anti-inflammatories, vitamins, and antioxidants, asparagus neatly fits into a balanced diet. But they have a notorious side effect: bad-smelling pee. Nutritionist Laura Flores says that asparagus doesn’t have life-threatening risks other than the noticeable smell and stomach upset.

Concerning the stink, not everyone can smell it. This is a mystery that scientists are still trying to figure out. One serving of asparagus–about five spears–should be fine for most people. Many can eat more without experiencing side effects. It depends on the body’s sensitivity to the vegetable.