The heart of the mat­ter: bust­ing the most pop­u­lar myths about food



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.

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