|Debunking Desi Dietary Myths
|Food plays a very important role in every Desi's life along with mythology and superstition. Add the two together and there is a long list of what is good and what is bad. Recent research has targeted dietary myths that are widespread in the subcontinent.
|by Archana Chaudhary
In a recent study conducted by the Zee Research Group, top dieticians have tried to demystify some of the prevalent food based myths and superstitions that are common among Desis.
Milk is wholesome: Remember mommy asking you to chug that full glass of milk at bed time, often considered to be a "complete food" and a "meal in itself" - dieticians say that while milk is healthy it does not provide you with a wide range of nutrients. While milk has calcium and some amount of protein and carbohydrates, if someone is relying just on milk they could end up with iron and vitamin C deficiency, say wellness experts.
Almonds are high in cholesterol: Most Indian desserts are incomplete without a generous sprinkling of almonds; however, it has also been blamed for being rich and high in cholesterol. However, doctors are now postulating that only animal products such as paneer, ghee, eggs, meat and chicken have cholesterol; while plant based products do not have any cholesterol. Additionally, almonds contain Omega 3 fatty acid, which is actually very good for the heart.
Skip yogurt at dinner: Yoga guru Ramdev in all his videos has preached that one should avoid yogurt or curd in dinner, more so if you are down with a cold. But senior doctors in India are now claiming that there is no reason for this myth, as long as yogurt or curd is consumed when it is at room temperature it will not affect your cold. In fact, because yogurt is a predigested food it will be better utilized by the body when one is sick.
Rice at night causes weight gain: There is some truth to this myth, if one consumes white rice at night, it leads to water retention in the body and can cause swelling. Additionally, for folks that are sensitive to carbohydrates if they consume rice at night it might lead to gradual weight gain. While it is advisable to consume fewer calories at night, one can remove the starch and consume rice.
Na, Na Banana: While bananas have calories, they also happen to be very rich in potassium and when consumed in a balanced way they can be very healthy. Bananas happen to be one of the most nutritious and natural foods that help promote weight loss because they are high in fiber and vitamins while low in fats.
Answer the following and see if you know your myths from your facts. Do not cheat!
Drinking water in between your meals will mess up your digestion - Myth
This one has been passed down from generations. While drinking water will fill you up, it certainly does not damage your digestive process. In fact, it might even do your system a world of good.
Having fruits immediately after a meal is not good for you - Fact
There is actually some truth in this statement, experts suggest that consuming fruits immediately after a meal may cause digestive problems like gas and acidity. Fruits also hamper with the digestion of certain nutrients, which is why it is advisable to wait an hour before reaching for that fruit bowl after a heavy meal.
Do not mix dairy and fish - Myth
Some believe that the combination makes you sick while some believe it makes spots appear on your skin. Rest assured, there is no scientific reason why you cannot have dairy and fish together. In fact, there are many wonderful and healthy recipes around which combine the goodness of fish and dairy.
Pregnant women should not eat Papaya - Mixed
This one is extremely common in India. While raw papaya or even a semi ripe one has been known to trigger uterine contractions, a completely ripe papaya is rich in vitamins and minerals, which is actually beneficial for pregnant women. However, if you are pregnant, check with your doctor before including papaya in your diet.