When fancier foods aren’t always healthier foods
If you’re like a lot of Americans, your diet has started including high-end bottled water, artisan salt and gourmet bread. But just because a food tastes better, is made locally and costs a lot doesn’t mean it’s necessarily more nutritious. In fact, some fancy food items are lacking nutrients that can be found in the more traditional varieties. We dug around and discovered a few enriched foods that lose nutrients when they go upscale.
Bread and folic acid. The dietary supplement folic acid has been shown to help prevent birth defects. Because of this, the FDA makes manufacturers of enriched breads, cereals, and flours add folic acid. So the question comes up: Is there folic acid in artisanal breads that aren’t mass-produced? If they’re made without enriched flour, the answer is no. That’s why, if you’re worried about your intake of folic acid but love the baguette from the baker down the street, find a daily vitamin with at least 400 mcg of folic acid in it and take one every day.
Bottled water and fluoride: You can’t beat bottled water for convenience and, to some people, taste, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you may not be getting any fluoride with your non-tap H20. Why should you care? Fluoride, which is added to tap water, helps keep teeth healthy and prevents cavities. The FDA does track fluoride in bottled water, so look for something on the label that says “fluoridated,” “fluoride added,” or “fluoride enhanced.” Another option: Use a mouthwash with fluoride added to it and drink whatever water you like.
Sea salt and iodine. Most table salt has iodine added to it, which is essential to keeping your thyroid healthy. There are some sea salts that are fortified with Iodine (Hain and Morton both make some), but you can also boost your iodine intake with certain foods like saltwater fish, seafood and some dairy products.
Photo credit: Robyn Lee