Too many people are looking for a “silver bullet” when it comes to health issues and these are some popular (and unsubstantiated) food myths. Some other widespread beliefs have a sound basis.
1. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day (myth)
This myth is not supported by scientific evidence; originated around the time jogging got to be fashionable and is popular because it is easy to remember.
The Mayo Clinic recommends eight glasses of fluid a day, but the need for water has to be evaluated according to the level of activity and external temperatures. A guideline on the need for fluids is the colour of urine. If it is pale yellow or clear, you are doing OK. If it gets dark, drink more water. A key issue for those suffering continence problems is not drinking enough water – because of being afraid of having to urinate often. Too little fluid causes the urine to become concentrated; irritates the bladder and triggers a feeling of needing to pee – without having enough fluid to do it well.
In 2011, a review by the Heart Foundation of Australian and International studies confirmed positive evidence between drinking tea and reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and even belly fat. Three or more cups of tea a day could lower the risk of stroke by up to 21%. Coffee is known to contain anti-oxidants that may help protect against heart disease but the Heart Foundation recommends not more than four cups of coffee a day – and preferably less.
3. Drinking Milk increases mucus production (myth)
4. Fresh Vegetables are more nutritious than Frozen Vegetables (Myth)
Frozen and canned vegetables are good alternatives to fresh vegetables, are equally nutritious and very convenient. According to the Dieticians’ Association of Australia, there is no reason to avoid them, but certainly fresh vegetables in season are excellent sources of nutrition.
More nutrients are lost by poor cooking methods than by freezing or canning vegies. Don’t cook your fresh vegetables in large amounts of water or for a long time, because the goodness gets leached away into the water. Steaming is best; a quick stir fry is also very good.
Recent studies have shown there is no more nutrition in organically grown foods than those grown in the traditional commercial manner. They do not contain higher levels of vitamins or minerals. However, since “organically grown” refers to the method of growing, buying organically grown food means you may be reducing your exposure to pesticide residue or anti-biotic resistant bacteria. The impact of this, in the long term, is still unclear.
Like all popular concepts, these 5 key Food Myths and Truths need to be considered in the context of your personal lifestyle. What is not a myth is that a balanced diet, sufficient sleep and regular exercise are conducive to better health. The information in this post has been sourced from The West Australian Newspaper, published October 2nd, 2013.
#blogboost (c) Lesley Dewar