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4 Surprising Side Effects of Foods You May Eat Every Day

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We all eat to stay energized and healthy. However, some foods are more than a way to fill up your stomach and may cause unexpected side effects that you should definitely know of.

Cherries make you sleep longer and better
Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a powerful antioxidant critical for sleep-wake cycle regulation. As cherries aren’t available most time of the year, its juice is a good and as effective alternative, as proven by scientific research. Researchers asked 20 adults to drink two glasses of tart cherry juice or a non-cherry fruit juice for seven days – one serving when they woke up and another before bed time. They found that the participants who drank cherry juice slept on average 39 minutes longer and had an up to 6 percent increase in overall sleep efficiency (significantly less non-sleep time in bed), compared to those who drank non-cherry fruit juice.

Cinnamon helps you lose weight
Apparently, food isn’t always your enemy when you want to lose weight. Add some cinnamon to your coffee and see how it boosts your body’s fat burning potential. Researchers studied 22 subjects with metabolic syndrome, who were divided into two groups and given either 500 mg of cinnamon a day or a placebo for 12 weeks. Subjects taking cinnamon lost significantly more body fat than the control group over the course of the research.

Grapefruit can interact with drugs
Although grapefruit is a super healthy fruit, rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, it has an alarming side effect: it can mess with your medication. Grapefruit blocks special enzymes in the small intestine that normally break down medications and therefore regulate the amount of whatever drug taken, so smaller amounts of the drug get into the body than are ingested. If you take your medication when you have eaten grapefruit or drank its juice, more of the drugs get into the body than normal. One glass of grapefruit juice is enough to elicit the maximum blocking effect, which can last for more than 24 hours. According to Medicinenet, the grapefruit juice-drug interaction can lead to unpredictable and hazardous levels of certain important drugs, for example of valium, methadone and Viagra. You can find a complete list here.

Soy makes you hungry for sex
Researchers discovered that the consumption of leaves from a tropical tree, called Millettia dura, changed hormone levels of red colobus monkeys. They found that the more the apes ate the leaves, the higher their levels of estradiol and cortisol – two steroid hormones influencing reproductive behavior. The altered hormone levels increased the frequency of mating. The compound that’s thought to be responsible for this effect are phytoestrogens, which aren’t only part of a monkey’s diet. Millettia dura is a close relative of so and phytoestrogens can also be found in soy and soy-based products. However, there’s more research needed to determine whether soy actually boosts our libido.

References

Tan, D., Hardeland, R., Manchester, L., Korkmaz, A., Ma, S., Rosales-Corral, S., & Reiter, R. (2011). Functional roles of melatonin in plants, and perspectives in nutritional and agricultural science Journal of Experimental Botany, 63 (2), 577-597 DOI: 10.1093/jxb/err256

Wasserman, M., Chapman, C., Milton, K., Gogarten, J., Wittwer, D., & Ziegler, T. (2012). Estrogenic plant consumption predicts red colobus monkey (Procolobus rufomitratus) hormonal state and behavior Hormones and Behavior, 62 (5), 553-562 DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.09.005

Ziegenfuss, T., Hofheins, J., Mendel, R., Landis, J., & Anderson, R. (2006). Effects of a Water-Soluble Cinnamon Extract on Body Composition and Features of the Metabolic Syndrome in Pre-Diabetic Men and Women Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 3 (2) DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-3-2-45

Photos: Michele Cat, Daniel Hurst Photography / Flickr

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