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7 Food Myths Every Woman Should Know

An expert helps you sift facts from fiction

We have been hearing a lot of advice when it comes to food from different quarters. since we were little girls. Some of them continue to haunt us even now. But how much of them are true? To help you sift facts from fiction, we get Mugdha Pradhan, a nutritionist and founder of Thrive FNC a health and wellness startup that focuses on reversing chronic health conditions and lifestyle diseases through Functional Nutrition, to tell you what not to believe.

Myth 1: Dairy is good for bones

Reality: Women are usually advised to consume dairy for calcium to prevent osteoporosis. Dairy, especially the conventionally-produced dairy can actually trigger inflammation in the body (including in the joints). Dramatic improvements have been noticed in digestion, skin health and general inflammation after eliminating dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese from our patients’ diets. If you are looking for bioavailable calcium from food, then bone broth/ bone meal powder is your best bet. 

Myth 2: Salt causes bloating and is bad for health

Reality: Unnecessarily demonized, salt has a critical role to play in human metabolism. Water retention and bloating usually happens due to hormonal imbalances, deficiencies or other organ dysfunctions and salt takes the blame. Even high blood pressure is due to an overburdened liver, dysfunctional kidneys or due to adrenal dysfunction and not a result of too much salt in the diet. 

Myth 3: Green leafy vegetables are healthy

Reality: This is the biggest myth perpetuated for the longest time in human history and I might be the first nutritionist in India saying that green leafy vegetables are absolutely unnecessary. For one thing, green leafy vegetables are loaded with anti-nutrients such as oxalates, tannins, and phytates, besides which they offer very little bioavailable nutrition to the body. So, the next time you ditch your leafy greens and choose a portion of red meat, don't feel guilty- you are actually making a choice based on ancestral wisdom because your body knows where it's going to get the most nutrition from with the least amount of effort.

Myth 4: Whole wheat is better than white rice

Reality: This is absolutely incorrect. Wheat is loaded with gluten- a big culprit when it comes to triggering a whole lot of health problems. People usually eat whole wheat because of the belief that fiber is good for health, but the human gut can function really well without excess fiber. White rice, if prepared correctly, is not so bad in itself. It's a good source of carbohydrates minus a whole lot of plant anti-nutrients. So, skip the wheat, switch to rice and see how your body feels.

Myth 5: Chocolate helps with PMS symptoms

Reality: A lot of women crave for chocolate around their periods and a lot of women believe chocolate helps relieve PMS symptoms. What most women don't know is that during PMS the need for magnesium goes up and most women are chronically deficient in magnesium. Chocolate does have a fairly decent amount of magnesium, and it's this magnesium that alleviates some of the PMS symptoms. But, chocolate also has caffeine, theobromine and lots of oxalates, not something one should be ingesting on a frequent basis. To alleviate PMS symptoms, take regular magnesium supplements. 

Myth 6: Almonds are a great snack to have

Reality: Not really, and here's why- almonds are very high in oxalates- a whopping 469 mg/ 100 gm and we recommend keeping your oxalate consumption to less than 50 mg/day. How can anything that's loaded with anti-nutrients be good for your health? Besides, the PUFA's- PolyUnsaturated Fatty Acids from nuts trigger insulin resistance and fat deposition, which means almonds can actually make you gain weight. Our recommendation is to avoid daily intake of almonds and keep it as an occasional indulgence.

Myth 7: Citrus fruits can worsen flu and cold

Reality: Guava, oranges, Indian gooseberries are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an immunity booster and helps fight upper respiratory infections, which are often the cause of sore throats. Vitamin C also has antihistamine properties, making it useful for allergy-related sore throats. So, it is absolutely safe to eat Vitamin C-rich citrus fruits especially when you feel you are coming down with an infection.