FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The heart of the matter: busting the most popular myths about food
A VARIED, COLOURFUL DIET ALMOST GUARANTEES THAT YOU ARE GETTING THE FULL SPECTRUM OF ANTIOXIDANTS THAT ARE IMPERATIVE FOR YOUR HEALTH AND WELL BEING.
Health is fast becoming a way of life and more and more Indians are realising that their luxury travel, fast cars and designer bags are meaningless in the larger scheme of things as they battle lifestyle diseases that threaten their very existence. While overseas, awareness levels are far higher, given the aggressive campaigning by health food brands and wellness coaches, in India we tend to be wary of new research that suggests we may have been doing it wrong all along. Along with exercise, nutrition is the building block on which our wellness quotient rests. Myths abound and the information overload that the internet affords further adds to confusion. What works and what doesn’t? Let’s vanquish some of the most common myths associated with nutrition. All antioxidants come from a pill and antioxidant fortified
foods— This is not true; nuts, seeds, beans, fruits, vegetables and whole grains have antioxidants. All living things also produce antioxidants, to fight against UV rays, or elements that would harm them in their environment. Foods with “live energy” have more varied antioxidants, anything processed will not have a varied amount of antioxidants. Also, meat, dairy, eggs all have antioxidants. You also double your chances of getting them if you eat organic produce as organic produce retains the nutrients to a greater degree, than produce that has a fair amount of pesticides. A varied colourful diet almost guarantees that you are getting the full spectrum of antioxidants.
Free Radicals Must Be Destroyed— Not necessarily, sometimes we actually need these free radicals. These are released while oxidation occurs in the body and are actually required as they defend your body as well it’s just that too many of them can cause harm. They also help the heart pump more blood in stress-filled situations. So you are doing yourself harm anyway with smoking, drinking, bad dietary habits, now if you switch to a healthy eating routine, you “up” the quotient of antioxidants, and also make for less damage by these free radicals floating around in your system.
You must drink 2-4 litres of water a day— While most people have the theory that loading up on water keeps them ‘flushed’ and ’cleaner,’ it’s a load of rubbish. There is nothing mechanical about the body flushing out this water. What we do need is approximately 2 litres of fluid a day, but it need not necessarily come from water alone. Most of the water we need comes from the foods we eat, unless you are eating a diet high in saturated fats, processed foods, refined salt and sugar. This is the time your need for water goes up. For e.g., bread is 35 per cent water, broccoli is 90 per cent water, fish and chicken anywhere between 50-60 per cent. So logically you should drink water when thirsty. Another reason for not overloading the body with water, is not taxing your kidneys. Overloading the body with any amount of fluid will make your kidneys work overtime to throw this water out, and the kidneys are the powerhouse for your energy, so this is likely to lead to depletion in energy levels.
Dairy gives us our calcium—— Ever wondered why a baby calf still has big bones and produces milk (in its turn) even when it weans off its mother’s milk? Where do they get their calcium from? Abundant calcium comes from greens, which is rich in chlorophyll and magnesium. Casein a protein in milk, which does not digest is bonded to calcium and only 12 per cent of this calcium can get absorbed, while the rest remains undigested. Plus the coffee, tea, colas, sugar, meat, tobacco and processed junk one eats depletes this calcium further. Plus dairy calcium eats into ‘serum calcium’ (the little calcium in your blood and bones). While marketers tout that dairy is giving you the calcium, they don't mention that what you are also getting is casein, which when undigested actually leaches calcium out of your bones. So in our quest for getting our calcium from dairy, we, in fact, are creating an accumulation of excess calcium.